Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published: December 20th 2011 by Mira
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Description: 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 prince—leader 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...
I Give This ...
I've been eagerly awaiting this book for several reasons. First, I've yet to come across a book Maria has written that I didn't like. Second, this sounded more like the type of story in The Study series which is my favorite. I was not disappointed.
I was immediately drawn to Avry's character. I liked that she's a healer, which has put her on the run for the past years. But the fear of death doesn't overpower her need to help people. She's especially drawn to children close to death. When she's "rescued" from prison, she doesn't know what to expect. And it's definitely not the idea of traveling across half the country to heal a man she's has no intention of healing. But, it's either that or risk being caught by the bandits chasing them. She's got a hefty bounty on her head, and she's worth more if she's brought in alive.
I loved learning about the world Avry lives in. It's in complete turmoil since the plague devastated most of the population. There are a few people willing to go to great lengths to control it all. Turns out these people are connected in ways you wouldn't imagine, and they're playing a game for the ultimate prize. Avry has to decide who to trust, what previous notions she has to let go, and most of all what might be best for the country as a whole. Imagine being able to influence something on that level.
The story is full of characters I loved. I enjoyed Kerrick and his band of men. I think Avry was so use to being alone, that this group showed her what it was like to have people care about you. I also enjoyed their devotion to Ryne not matter what it cost them. It's truth faith in some, even if it can be some what blinded. I enjoyed the intrigue and even the deviousness of the "bad" guys. I never knew what to expect.
It's a wonderful fantasy story full of magic, suspense, and romance. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoyed The Study series!