Published: 1st January 2014 by HarlequinTeen
Format: Paperback, 458 pages
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She's fought death and won. But how can she fight her fears?
Avry knows hardship and trouble. She fought the plague and survived. She took on King Tohon and defeated him. But now her heart-mate, Kerrick, is missing, and Avry fears he's gone forever.
But there's a more immediate threat. The Skeleton King plots to claim the Fifteen Realms for his own. With armies in disarray and the dead not staying down, Avry's healing powers are needed now more than ever.Torn between love and loyalty, Avry must choose her path carefully. For the future of her world depends on her decision.
This. This is how you end a series.
Taste of Darkness takes up immediately after Scent of Magic, with Avry discovering Kerrick is missing. She never gives up on him, choosing to keep looking and trusting he’s alive, and although it frustrates all her companions, I found it admirable. I love Avry and Kerrick, I think in some ways I like them more than Yelena and Valek because in the later books Valek’s just around for kissing and saving Yelena’s arse randomly, but Kerrick and Avry maintain their individual strengths and purposes even while working together. Oh, and they kiss a lot, which is awesome :p
One of my favourite things about this book is Flea’s journey. He’s so young, and very brave, but his life has changed dramatically after the his encounter with the Peace Lily and he’s struggling to come to terms with it. His story is heart-warming, and I wished sometimes that Avry was more patient and kind with him – Avry is a no nonsense, get-on-with-it kind of girl, but Flea needs time to process all the things that are happening to and around him. But everything worked out in the end 🙂
This book is very dark, which you could have guessed since it was originally titled Taste of Death. I actually would have preferred if they had stuck with that title, as morbid as it was, because this instalment is very preoccupied with death: not only have many of the characters come back to life after being clinically dead, there’s also the dead army and the importance of Peace and Death Lily toxins to the plague victims. There are some startling revelations – things that have been building up since the first book explode into the foreground – which completely changed the trajectory of the narrative and kept me guessing.
I’ve always loved the political aspect of Snyder’s books, and Taste of Darkness didn’t disappoint – there’s Tohon (frozen in stasis) and Celline who has taken over for him, the terrifying Skeleton King (seriously, OMG), and Prince Ryne all fighting for supremacy over the Fifteen Realms. But these interactions would have too simplistic for this talented writer, so added to the jumble are the old unfavourites like Estrid and Sergeant Odd, Jael, and Wynn and Sepp. There are plans within plans and wheels within wheels and I thought it very fun to try and work out what was happening.
Taste of Darkness will take your breath away, and although I am sad that this incredible journey is over, I think this book is the perfect conclusion. I love Snyder’s writing, her worlds and her characters, and I will be eagerly looking out for her next (sure to be amazing) project. I’m sure that fans of the series won’t miss this amazing book, but those new to it, or to Maria’s work, should definitely give it a go!