Review of Maria V. Snyder’s “Taste of Darkness:” Author Highlight Wednesdays

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Maria V. Snyder’s ending books can be a very divisive thing. For instance, the concluding volume of the Glass series Spy Glass, revolving around the glass magician Opal, was a very contentious ending for the series. In my own opinion, I thought that Spy Glass  was one of Maria V. Snyder’s strongest books of any her series, because I felt that she took her characters to unorthodox places, that very few writers dare take their characters. Ultimately, the controversial feature or issue of the book was something I thought was very commendable, on the part of Maria V. Snyder, since Spy Glass was certainly indicative of a writer that is as stubborn and courageous, as many of her own heriones, in a sense, much like the Healer Trilogy‘s spunky healer herself Avry.

Originally Taste of Darkness  was going to be titled Taste of Blood, but Maria V. Snyder’s editorial and marketing team felt that was too unsavory  for a title that was being sold under the Harlequin banner. So, it was changed to the the more softer, tamer, though equally as serious as the word “blood;” readers got the word “darkness” in the title instead. And, darkness would be the best term, even more so than blood, to really best describe the overall mood of the book. This book is much more serious in tone, than the earlier volumes, in a sense, but it’s not dark or moody in the same vein as a Hunger Games book. The darkness word really relates more closely to the building tension of the great war that will be making the various nations of the world, once infected and blighted  by the plague, be embattled. In Lord of the Rings or general epic fantasy fashion, there is a forward momentum of the actions of the novel, being guided by this quest for each side and faction to gain their allies.

Throughout this fomenting militaristic drama, Maria V. Snyder deftly ties up some loose ends brought up in the last books, while cleverly tying the resolution of these sub-plots with the main action.  Of course,this contributes to this book’s dangerously addictive quality, meaning finishing one chapter usually leads to reading another chapter. Sprinkled throughout the more serious, prosaic scenes of drama, Maria V. Snyder really amps up the humorous banter between the self-ascribed “monkeys,” Flea and the other cohorts of Avry’s gang (minions would be too demeaning,as they’re all on equal playing level with Avry,in a sense).   These scenes have bright moments of very humorous dialogue, laced with so much witticism and euphemisms that you will no doubt be reeling in a fit of contagious laughter, before you know it. And, these scenes always bookend more somber sequences, allowing audiences time to unwind, a moment of emotional catharsis. This is contrary to the last volumes of series, like the Hunger Games, which seems to have forgotten their sense of humor in the building drama of the last volume. And, Maria V. Snyder, much like Cassandra Clare (another excellent writer of the same caliber) shows that your ending books, even as serious and somber as they may become, also need to contain humor to really keep the readers sane and involved with the series. Plus, it shows a certain degree of realism, too.

There are so many awesome sequences to touch upon, but it’s better to leave the experience of reading those sequences shrowded in mystery, for those that may not have picked up this book. With a tidy ending (which may seem a bit too tidy at times), brilliantly humorous dialogue, fantastic, top notch character development, and wonderful action-packed sequences, Taste of Darkness closes Maria V. Snyder’s strongest series very effectively, and will most definitely leaving readers with a desperate to revisit the vivid, fun, sometimes dangerous world that Maria V. Snyder competently constructed in all three volumes of the Healer Trilogy.

Do you have any questions for our highlighted author of the month, Maria V. Snyder? Leave your questions in the comment area below, and I will forward it to Maria V. Snyder, who will be more than happy to answer your questions about any of her books.

Next week, I will be revisiting a fan favorite, “Poison Study”, the first book of Maria V. Snyder’s Study Series. All three books of the series will be receiving newly updated reviews (a facelift, in a sense) in light of the fact that Maria V. Snyder’s next book will be another book about Yelena!!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Thanks for the fantastic review! I’m going to quote some of those lovely passages to everyone 😉 and to be equated to Cassandra Clare….oh my!


    1. It was well-deserved, Maria V. Snyder. I really, really enjoyed the hell of the entire “Healer Trilogy,” and I can’t wait to re-read the Study series!!


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