WARNING: This post contains spoilers.
The Healer series focuses on one young woman’s struggle between multiple factions in her world. Avry of Kazan is a self-sufficient, practical, and stubborn character intent on helping others, despite the cost to herself. She is the last fully grown healer in the realm, and every potential ruler either wants to kill her or use her.
First, this book is not about a woman trying to “find” herself. I feel a lot of literature, particularly YA and NA novels, focus on protagonists trying to discover themselves. From the first moments we meet Avry, she knows her own mind. She does not hesitate to tell others her thoughts or ideas, or to fight for her beliefs. Her sense of self does not mean she does not struggle with doubts or concerns about her actions. It just makes those doubts and concerns all the more intriguing.
I absolutely adored the secondary characters, particularly the band of misfits she journeys with in the first book. Kerrick, Flea, and Belen are complex characters with their own struggles and motivations. The monkeys, Loren and Quain, are less developed but enjoyable. I liked that Avry’s circle of allies expanded throughout the series. However, I would have liked her to have some more strong female companions besides Mom. Whatever happened to Thea from the second book? I really liked her, but she disappeared from the series.
I suspect people will either love or loathe the romance between Avry and Kerrick. Why? Because in the first novel he backhands her. Personally, I fall on the side of loving their romance. Do I condone him hitting her? Hell to the no. However, given the context and the setting, I see both their perspectives for such a situation occurring. Plus, Kerrick throughout the series demonstrates his remorse over his inappropriate behavior. I can forgive a wrong, as long as the character has learned from their mistakes.
My biggest disappointment was the novels never really explained the magic system, nor the lily’s sentience. While I can let the intricacies go for the first novel, I would have like more of an explanation for some of the setting before the last book. Toward the end of the series, the magic system (and lilys) acted as a plot device and not as an organic part of the setting. Why did the Peace Lily save Avry at the end? How was Avry able to bond with two different magic users? Why in the hell could Noak determine the extent of her bonds? For that matter, why did the Northern Tribes have a completely different magic system than the rest of the known world? So many questions and more, but I guess I’ll just have to let the answers go and accept the setting as it stands.
This was my first series by Maria V. Snyder. I can definitely say it will not be my last.
Check out my individual reviews for each book: