Title: Taste of Darkness
Author: Maria V Snyder
Published: 31 December 2013
By: Harlequin MIRA
First line: Cold air caressed my back.
Last line: "What a coincidence. They're my favourite as well."
It feels as though the majority of books coming my way at the moment are conclusions to series! Taste of Darkness is another that fits into that category and I have to say having just finished another series which shredded me I was concerned at the beginning of this read that I was about to be dragged back into the pit of despair I'd only just managed to escape!
Taste of Darkness begins where Scent of Magic ends. Kerrick has disappeared, consumed by the forest having been poisoned by a death lily. His disappearance sparks a frenzied search with Avery at the helm, refusing to believe that he is dead. At the same time the final battle is picking up a pace. Tohon is ever present in everyone's thoughts and strategies and now they also have to face the Skeleton King. Whilst all this is happening the number of deaths from the plague is on the rise again and it seems as though the virus has mutated somehow. It's down to Avery to ensure that a cure can be found. Busy times for Avery then.
I'm not sure where to start with Taste of Darkness. I loved the pace of the action with this finale. There's always something going on and as the reader you have to digest each word carefully or there's a chance the plot could slip through your fingers. Thankfully Snyder writes so well this isn't a difficult task! I also liked the development of some of the peripheral characters, Flea in particular who really comes into his own in this story. I also liked that Avery is as kickass as ever even when her world seems to be falling apart and that both she and Kerrick retain their own values and goals, ignoring their own desires in view of the bigger picture at times.
The last point however is the same reason why I felt the storyline didn't always hit the right note for me. At the beginning of the series there was a lot of camaraderie within the group and with the split in plotlines it felt as though some of that warmth had disappeared. I get that they all had their own purposes but there were times when I thought that they would have been stronger together and there would have been a lot less fretting. Another thing that left me perplexed was that it was all suddenly about the Skeleton King. Don't get me wrong, he was a fab character but having been focused on Tohon as the baddie for the previous two instalments I was a bit surprised at the sudden switch in everyone's attention. It did leave me feeling as though Tohon didn't get the attention that he deserved having been such an integral part of the plot to date.
I did enjoy the grand finale and all the plotlines do tie together nicely but it's a convoluted path that Snyder weaves so keep your wits about you. Do that and you won't be disappointed.
Rating: 3/5. This is a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy but there are other series by Snyder that I have enjoyed more.