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Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Touch of Power

by Maria V. Snyder

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4 ½ Stars

Touch of Power is the first book in the new Healer series by Maria V. Snyder.

Avry of Kazan is a healer. She can cure all kind of illness and injuries just by touching a person, after touching the ailing person she absorbs the illness/injure into herself. Her body regenerate really fast, healing in couple of hours of days depending of how ill the person she cured was.
Instead of being appreciated, healers has been persecuted for the last three years. They are blamed for causing the plague that have killed thousands of people in the Fifteen Realms.
Avry has been on the run even since, staying in little towns for couple of months or weeks at a time. She has tried to keep a low profile but when a kid gets ill it’s almost impossible for her not to heal him/her. Every time after healing a kid she must move to avoid being caught. After healing a fatally ill small girl she is too sick to leave town, she decides to stay the night to recover and it’s planing to leave in the morning but early next day she is apprehended. The father of the child she healed reported her to the autorities. She has accepted her fate, she’s tired of running and hiding and is ready to be executed. Things change when she is rescued by a group of men who has been looking for a healer for over two years.
The leader of the group is Kerrick of Alba. He wants Avry to heal his friend, Prince Ryne who suffers from the plague and has been kept in a stasis state for the last two years while Kerrick has been looking for a healer. Now he has found Avry, the last healer alive. But there is a problem, Avry doesn’t want to heal Prince Ryne because not only he was the one who started the rumor that the healers were responsible for the plague but also he has been accused of committing heinous crimes. Kerrick will have to convince Avry to heal Prince Ryne by whatever means before it’s too late.
There is a long way to go from the place Kerrick found Avry to the place the body of Price Ryne is kept, many weeks or even months of difficult travel awaits them, it’s not only that winter is coming but thanks to the bounty on Avry’s head bands of mercenaries are following their tracks.

This is one of those books that from page one will transport you to another place, in this case is to the magical place Mrs. Snyder has created. A fantastical and magical world with a medieval touch, where the good guys are really good, the bad guys are not just bad but creepy in a sense that will give the chills, a place where even the surroundings become characters in its own sense.

One of the things I liked the most about this book were its characters, they are all different but easy to connect with and understand.
I loved how Avry goes from being tired with her life and not caring if she lives of dies to loving being alive again. She found pleasure on living again thanks to finding friendship and camaraderie with other characters as Belen, Vinn, Quain and Flea.

On the beginning I didn't like Kerrick much but after couple of pages I understood his behavior, that doesn’t mean I accept the things he did but I know he was trying to do what he thought was best. After he realized his mistake he redeemed himself. It takes a strong man to accepts his mistakes and do something about it.

The secondary characters were perfect, they all made the story a more interesting one. Vinn and Quain were fun an entertaining, Flea was a sweetheart, but my favorite was without a doubt Belen or as Avry named him, Poppa Bear, what a perfect nickname for such a caring man.

As I said before the evil guys were creepy. The main focus was on King Tohon, he’s a strong magician, who’s trying to united all the realms. His intentions may have a good base but his tactics are just beyond twisted and evil. Another character that could be include in the villain category is Queen Estrid, she rules another realm and as Tohon she is trying to unite more realms but in her case she’s forcing them to follow her extremist religious beliefs. We don’t see much of her in this book but I’m pretty sure she’s going to be a headache in books to come.

Touch of Power was a really nice surprise. I had heard many good things about Maria V. Snyder’s books but I really wasn’t expecting to like this book as much as I did. I recommend this book to fantasy and YA lovers.
I’m looking forward to read the next installment of this series Scent of Magic. ( )
  BookaholicCat | Mar 4, 2015 |
This story started strong but I felt it lost steam part way through. All of the "shocking plot twists" were so heavily foreshadowed that they didn't have any impact. I don't know if I should give up on this series or continue on with it though. There weren't really any unresolved plot points so I'm not sure where she's going with it... ( )
  plaeski | Dec 16, 2014 |
I love Ms. Snyder and every adult fantasy novel she has written. I was so excited to see a new series coming out from her I was giddy with anticipation. I read this book straight through in one sitting and I was not disappointed.

Like Ms. Snyder's other series we have both a kick ass hero and heroine. They both compliment each other perfectly and she is not afraid to torture the crap out of them as they go through their trials. I know there will be more books in this series and I although this book ended with an "ok for now" i need to know what happens next.

In the book the Prince isn't depicted as a very good character but I think I found myself falling in love with his through the pages as the main band of men fought to reach their goal. I want to see what he will do next, since he is at a disadvantage to his enemy.

I am dying to know what happens and will be waiting for the next book in this series eagerly. ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 21, 2014 |
Please, Sir. May I have some more?

Touch of Power may be mildly similar to [b:Poison Study|60510|Poison Study (Study, #1)|Maria V. Snyder|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1170542921s/60510.jpg|1180409] which does bring in an element of predictability but it doesn’t feel repetitive. This world is far larger and more complex than that of the Study trilogy.

Avry has been in hiding and on the run for 3 years and she's tired of it. After people blamed the spread of the plague on healers, they're captured and executed whenever they're found. However, Avry can't stop herself from healing fatally ill children and each time she does she must move on in case the child's parents turn her in, though this time the sickness she's assumed overcomes her and she's captured. While in prison awaiting execution she's approached by a man called Kerrick who breaks her out so she can heal his "friend".

Unfortunately this friend is hundreds of miles away and with a bounty on her head the journey is dangerous even with Kerrick's men accompanying them. When Avry is informed of who she's to heal, she refuses because it's a prince accused of inhumane crimes. Assuming his illness, the plague, would mean certain death for her. Sacrificing her life for a child is one thing, they're innocent but for a cruel and powerful man -no. Kerrick reacts badly, punishing her until she changes her mind. She's too stubborn so they try to change her mind in other ways while they travel.

On the journey she gets to know each man, saving her hate for the mysterious Kerrick. They teach her survival and fighting skills so she can defend herself. Along the way they begin to understand more about the plague, it's link to the sentient network of huge human-eating venus flytrap flowers and the healer's guild. They also encounter a real madman, Tohon, who can influence and read thoughts and emotions using it to gain more territory and power. His experiments are nightmarish and genocidal. Politics and intrigue ensue. There are many fighting for power in the game of thrones kings in this post-apocalyptic fantasy.

The hundreds of miles Avry & co travel, and on foot, makes my feet ache in sympathy. I thoroughly enjoyed the world-building and Avry's journey spanning about 6 months. I loved the high level of detail involved and the intricacies of the characters' magical abilities. I laughed at the Men in Black moment when Avry shouts “Eat me!” to the mutant plant. In fact, I did a lot of laughing. Avry and her merry men grow to be a tight-knit family who jump at the chance to tease, compete and help each other. I was sad when a character died but I have a feeling we’ll see them again though I’m worried about how they’ll be changed by the experience. I wish I had a Papa Bear and friends like these who'd die for me if need be, and vice versa.

Kerrick and Avry's relationship develops and evolves slowly as he learns how to handle his emotions. His desperate 2-year search for a healer and Avry's stubborn refusal turns him into an unlikeable man but with the persuasion of his men he pushes back his anger and gets to know Avry and comes to understand what makes her tick. He shares his skills with her and they come to find they can share and enhance each others magic, something they never thought possible. I enjoyed their slow-burning combustible chemistry, Kerrick's jealousy and finally his realisation that not every woman is like his ex Jael.

And can I just say I love these covers! It’s rare when I want both. One shows pure grit, determination and “power” (LEFT). The other, the delicate yet beautiful effect a “touch” can have (RIGHT).

I definitely look forward to the next installment of this series. Bring it on!

***Thank you to Mira Books for the ARC supplied via NetGalley for an honest review*** ( )
  Cynical_Ames | Sep 23, 2014 |
3.5 stars

The first 75% of this book was very good. I liked the concept of Healers and the fugitive point of view always intrigues me. I like Ms. Snyder's approach to fantasy and the way she always keeps the plot moving. I was moved by the concept of Avry healing by pulling the diseases into herself. Her willingness to mar her beauty for sake of others was a beautiful concept.

What kept this from being a 5 star book are a couple problems I had with the characters:

All of them are too black/white. If they are "evil" there is no goodness in them and if they are "good" there is no evil in them. There are no flaws. This just isn't really relatable and makes the characters and relationships a little flat. Avry with her pack of boys reminded me of snow white and her dwarves. and not in a good way.

But even worse to me is when seemingly intelligent characters start acting stupid. I found Avry's total lack of suspicion about Kerrick's feelings for her to be annoying. It really wore out my patience with the both of them. I don't believe that's how most people act- self denial. I think most people hope, if only in their private thoughts. I wish authors would stop using a misunderstanding about feelings as a way to keep the romantic tension going with a big unveiling at the end. It just makes everyone behave unnaturally and spoils the story.

Also I had a couple of plot issues: I'm not sure if it will be explained in one of the following books, but the Peace Lily's miraculous move wasn't very flushed out. Also Sepp's allegiance was super obvious, probably because he wasn't adored by Avry. Unfortunately with the black or white characters, this makes things painfully obvious when (I think) it's supposed to be a surprise.

And this is really minor but Tohon's language really aggravated me. He's, what, 25? What's with all the "my dear"s?

*also, side note- why is the UK version equipped with an infinitely better cover? this one looks disturbingly like kristen stewart. weak.* ( )
  lyssa73 | Aug 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
The author of the Study (Poison Study; Magic Study; Fire Study) and Glass trilogies (Storm Glass; Sea Glass; Spy Glass) launches a new series, blending fantasy adventure, romance, and intrigue. Recommended for her many readers as well as fans of Ilona Andrews and Robin D. Owens.
added by Christa_Josh | editLibrary Journal, Jackie Cassada (Jan 1, 2012)
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Book description
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....

Taken from Maria V. Snyder's Blog
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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. Abducted by a band of rogues whose leader values her gift, she must heal a plague-stricken prince--leader of a campaign against her people.… (more)

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