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.
After a plague that broke out among the 15 Realms, Avry is the last of the healers. Healers are people who can take others sickness onto themselves but were not able to stop the plague and are no longer seen as valuable and hunted. She lives on the run trying to protect herself while still healing who she can when she can without being caught. Children being her weakness, she heals a young girl and is reported then jailed awaiting execution. Kerrick (a forest mage) and his band of misfits break her out so that she can heal their friend and leader Ryne. He is needed to over throw several other powerful figures vying to conquer all of the realms, specifically Tohon, a life magician. Avry wants out and agrees to go with them but doesn’t want to heal Ryne. She has dealt with him in the past, her experiences not pleasant and now that he is infected with the plague, the one illness that healer’s cannot come back from, if she tries to heal him she will die.
I really loved this one. To me this is what I imagined the Graceling Realm series (still a great series) should have been. Was there a strong woman? Yes. Could she actually have a semi-functioning relationship without diminishing that? ABSOLUTELY. Most of the book was the travel but I really enjoyed the story. Though they were in a serious situation there was “down time” where Avry taught the misfits to juggle, there was banter, and she talked to Kerrick about her reasoning for not wanting to heal Ryne and his reasoning she should heal him.
This one was recommended to me by a clerk at the local used bookstore I frequent as a “if you like that then you will love this” book. I haven’t read much on the adult front lately as I’ve been in the YA section for quite some time now but boy am I glad I read this one. (Though even calling this an adult book I’ve read much more “graphic” YA books.) I started reading at lunch and before I knew it I had read almost a hundred pages. I only take off a quarter of a point because I could have used a bit more kissing. I can’t wait to check out the rest of this series and Ms. Snyder’s others books, all of which have been added to the TBR list. I believe I found a “new” author.