Disclaimer: I backed the Patreon campaign creating these supplements, and paid the full price for this product.
All right! We're more than halfway through the Sphere expansions, and here we get to an interesting one - Life. Healing is tricky, since you don't want it to be so good that enemies aren't a threat, but you also don't want it to be so weak that it's not worth taking at all.
The book opens with new class options, including a healing-based Alchemist, a healing-based Ranger, a hea- look, you get the idea. There are also options for the Barbarian/UC Barbarian, Druid, and Soul Weaver as archetypes, plus class options for the Armorist, Incanter, Mageknight, Monk, Rogue, UC Rogue, Slayer, and Witch.
From there, we get to the new talents for the book. Aside from the usual selection of new generic talents (for example, you can add a Life Sphere ability to attacks - hi, undead slayers), the Vivomancer's Handbook adds Vitality talents, which can be used to add effects when Life talents are used. For an example, the first Vitality option presented gives a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls. Vitality benefits have a hard limit - either one minute or until they fail a saving throw or get hit by an attack, whichever comes first. Still, the ability to buff someone while healing them is pretty nice, and any Full Caster healers are likely to take at least one talent.
True to form for the Handbooks, we also get a few new Advanced Talents. These include a massive boost to life force, a guarantee of bringing creatures above 0 HP, and the ability to temporarily have a creature ascend to a better version of itself.
Heading through, we have a few more minor options, and then we get to the Feats. A new type of feat is introduced here - Anathema feats, which are based around a feat of the same name and require Channel Energy, Fervor, or Lay on Hands. Anathema is an aggressive ability that essentially turns the healing power into a damaging ray - and while this isn't so different from the Destruction Sphere, it doesn't actually run off of Spherecasting at all. This makes it easy to integrate into a non-Spheres game - or, for classes with weaker casting (hi, Paladins), to essentially give them 'full' damage progression.
The book finishes off with new traits, new drawbacks, new equipment, and various other minor options. The actual close is a guide for playing a Life-oriented character, much like we've seen in a few previous Handbooks.
All-in-all, this is a solid release. Healing may not be quite as flashy or fun as things like Destruction, but author Andrew Gibson (and contributors Amber Underwood, Derfael Oliveira, and Trevor Stevens) did an excellent job making Healers more fun and flexible. I wouldn't go as far as saying this book is needed for a Spheres game, but if someone wants to play a healer, it's definitely worth getting.
[5 of 5 Stars!]