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Book Review: Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks

Remedy Maker by Sheri Fredricks is part of a relatively rare subgenre, mythic romance. The author has based the world of her novel on creatures from Greek mythology, but she has added her own unique twist by creating a modern history for those mythological creatures. The author also further develops the different species by creating interesting cultural beliefs and species traits. For example, in this world centaurs spend part of each 24 hour period in their centaur form, and part in human form. They cannot control this change, rather, it is dictated by the hour of their birth; Rhycious, the main character, spends his nights as a centaur and his days as a man.

In the history created for Remedy Maker, the centaurs and the nymphs went to war. At the beginning of the book, the war has been over for a couple of centuries, but many still have vivid memories of it, and there is still a significant level of prejudice and underlying mistrust between the two species.

The romantic plot of Remedy Maker features a young wood nymph, Patience (who was born after the war had already ended), and a centaur, Rhycious, who is old enough to have fought in the war. Rhycious is the Remedy Maker– the primary healer– for his people. He is a healer by nature, but the war forced him to develop the warrior side of his personality, and the things he did and witnessed during wartime left him with a serious case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has retreated into self-imposed isolation, and fears that he may hurt someone unintentionally during one of his PTSD episodes.

Rhycious and Patience’s relationship progresses fairly smoothly. Although Rhycious is a bit hung up on Patience being a wood nymph at first, it doesn’t last long. I liked that the author neatly avoided the cliché of allowing that to be the main conflict of the romantic plotline, while still acknowledging it as an issue. There were times when the attitude and behavior of other centaurs illustrated the social pressures and difficulties that a centaur-wood nymph relationship would likely encounter, but the main characters do not generally assume that these are insurmountable obstacles.

In my opinion, the main conflict of the romantic plotline of Remedy Maker lies within Rhycious. He has to overcome several issues, mostly related to his PTSD, and his retreat from society in order to make a functional relationship with Patience possible.

In addition to the romantic plotline, this novel has a number of multi-layered subplots that intertwine to create the overarching plot of the novel. The current centaur queen was the driving force for the cessation hostilities with the wood nymphs. Her foreign policy includes an agenda for maintaining that peace. Unfortunately, there appears to be an underground movement that disagrees with her on this matter. Rhycious is called in to help ferret out the members of the movement. He, in turn, brings in Patience and the wood nymphs to help.

Overall, Remedy Maker was an enjoyable novel: I liked the world building, the overarching plot, and the romantic plotline; however, there were a couple of issues I had with the book. First, there were several instances where irregular/awkward syntax, and grammar errors threw me out of the story, effectively interrupting the flow. This is acceptable to me in the dialogue, but not in the standard prose of a novel. Second, I thought that Patience’s use of slang was slightly overused. If it had been done in moderation, I think it would have come across as quirky and contributed to the character development. But, in my opinion, it was done just a hair too much, and it got annoying.

 

3/5

Happy writing and reading until next time!

~Amy

Disclosure: Copy was sent by author for review

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