Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

From the Back Cover:

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes 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 Territories, 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...

My Thoughts:

I really liked this book! This is the kind of story that grabs you from the first page and keeps you burning through till the end. This was my first time reading Snyder, who I see has a pretty loyal fan following, and I can see why. Touch of Power is the beginning of a new series, and Snyder's epic fantasy world of the Fifteen Realms is well developed, with just the right combination of realism and magic to make it believable and compelling. I like her style, too. She dives right into Avry's story, and you can't help but root for her. The plot is fast paced, deep, surprising, and unputdownable, and though I did think a couple of the elements were a little over the top, I didn't care because I absolutely loved the characters and the dynamics between them.

Avry is a selfless protagonist, but she's also very realistic. She is caring and sensitive, but she's a survivor, so she's tough and smart. She's been on the run for three years, forced into hiding to save her life. But even though each healing she performs brings her pain and suffering--and the threat of discovery--she is unable to keep from using her gift, especially when she sees so many people suffering whom she can heal with just a touch. So Avry has to keep moving. But she's been leaving a trail for someone who was looking hard enough, and Kerrick of Alga and his band of men have been tracking Avry for two years. Not because they want to punish her, but because they need her.

A healer is the only hope Kerrick has of saving his best friend and the man he believes can restore peace and prosperity to the Realms. But Kerrick is wary. He's the product of a generation raised to blame healers for bringing the plague upon them, the very plague that's killing his prince. He's pretty harsh with Avry in the beginning, but as they make the dangerous journey across the mountains and he witnesses what Avry has to go through when she heals someone, he comes to grudgingly admire her, and then to respect her and trust her enough to reveal his secret--that he has special powers of his own. And it turns out, when the two of them combine their powers, good things happen. But it takes both of them forever to admit their feelings for each other and by the end of the story the sexual tension between them is scorching the pages. And Kerrick becomes quite the swoonworthy, dashing hero when Avry ends up in enemy hands.

The supporting characters are varied and well-rounded, and even the villains are intriguing and multi-layered. There's a web of undercurrents and relationships among all the characters that adds great depth to the story. This story really hooked me; I loved it, and I could not put it down. And that ending--gripping, emotional, and oh-so-satisfying! There was a good deal of resolution with some open threads in place for the next installment to pick up on and I look forward to reading it and to making my way through Snyder's backlist.

My Rating:  4.5 Stars out of 5

*Please Note: This review references an advance digital copy received via NetGalley, and the finished copy may differ. Though I received this book for review, these are my unbiased opinions and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.

1 comment:

  1. I keep hearing a lot of amazing things about this book, I'm glad you enjoyed it. I really need to read it too! Great review


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