Saturday, November 16, 2013

Touch Of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch Of Power

by Maria V. Snyder

(Healer Series #1)

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....
This was the first book in what I suspect will become another brilliant series by Maria V. Snyder.  I was first hooked on her books when I read Poison Study years ago.  Since then, I've kept my eyes peeled for any new books she's published.  There is something about her writing that sucks me into her stories and makes me care deeply about the characters.
The pacing was slower than in Snyder's Study series.  I think it helped give the reader a better understanding of the world and all the past events that led the characters to be exactly where (and who) they are.  The slower pacing allowed each of the characters time to develop their own unique personalities.
Kerrick is an intriguing character.  Yes, he is abusive toward her in the beginning, but I loved the fact that the author made no excuses for him.  Avry is no weak and fragile woman, and she is able to hold her own and then some.  I'm sure this would probably upset some readers who will hate Kerrick just for the principal of the thing.  But I think it's more impractical to expect a group of men who live in a 'holy-shit-everything's-gone-wrong' type of world to treat an equally strong female character with kid gloves just because she happens to be a woman.  How she handles it, and how he responds, says a lot about their characters.
There were times when I was more impatient with Avry's character than any of the men's.  She has a stubborn streak that made me wish she would just...stop.
I have always loved fantasy that can have a touch of romance in it without sacrificing plot.  This book had it all, and I was engrossed in Touch Of Power the entire time I was reading it.  There were so many twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat.  A good situation could turn bad with a blink of the eye.
I've seen this shelved under YA, which is confusing to me because all of the characters (except maybe Flea) are well into their twenties.  Kerrick is definitely not a model of heroic behavior and doesn't belong in YA. 
All in all, I was left feeling very satisfied with the story.
5/5 Stars

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