Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken princeleader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life.
Why I Read This:
I liked the idea of the healers. I also read it for my review copy cleanup challenge in August.
This is a book that could have been absolutely amazing if not for some things that kept nagging at me and then became too huge for me to ignore.
So the good: Maria V. Snyder has created an absolutely incredible and vivid world. The more I read about it the more drawn in I became. I liked the way healing works - yes, Avry can heal anyone she wants with only a touch, but having to take on their injury or illness created a complexity in her story that I found fascinating. It wasn't simply a matter of touching someone and being done with it. She really had to think about what she was willing to do for other people and that made for interesting moral dilemmas.
And the flowers! I don't even want to get into that side of the story because it's so awesome you have to experience it with fresh eyes. I would read the story all over again just to read about the lilies agains.
The bad: How old were all the characters supposed to be? I really never got a sense of this which made it hard to picture them in my mind. There were times that Kerrick came off sounding like a forty year old man and other times he sounded more like a "new adult". I really never got a sense of Avry's age either. I think at one point something must have been said but the way the characters were written I just kept forgetting.
But my biggest issue with the book was the pacing and plotting. So much of the story, the little sidequests, just seemed like another distraction for Avry so she didn't have to make the big decision at the end of the book. Then they'd all be travelling for what seemed like weeks only to have reached a couple towns over and then all of the sudden they'd turn around back to the town they just came from they'd be back there in no time at all.
I don't know...I'm so torn about this one. Probably more than any other book I've read in the last few months. There is so much about it that I loved but so much that I wished was written differently.
I received a free e-copy via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.