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Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
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Touch of Power

by Maria V. Snyder

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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 |
As soon as I started Touch of Power, I remembered why I love Maria V. Snyder’s writing so much. It’s precisely what I want when I pick up a YA book. She’s clearly mastered the art of showing instead of telling. Information about the fascinating world she’s created is seamlessly integrated into the events of the book. Although the pace felt slow to me at the beginning, I eventually got into the story and started tearing through the pages.

Like every YA book I’ve read lately, this book does involve a romance. Fortunately, it adds to the plot without overshadowing it. Although there’s a little overlap between romance and action, it never distracted the characters from what needed to be done. Avry’s feelings grew in a very believable way and I ended up quite impressed with how the romance was handled in this one. I liked the book more and more as I went and by the time I finished, I couldn’t wait to pick up the next book in the series.

This review first published on Doing Dewey. ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
Maria is another favorite of mine, I adore her Study series, and I really enjoyed her Glass series as well. I have been looking forward to reading this book for awhile and I wasn’t disappointed. Despite seeing similarities in the characters (Avry reminds me A LOT of Yelena, albeit softer, Belen of Janco, teaching her how to fight and being the large protector, and Flea reminded me of Fisk, an orphan she takes under her wing) I still really enjoyed the story, and ate it up as fast as I could. Now I’m just itching to read the second book but it doesn’t come out for a few more months. ( )
  Steph1203 | Mar 14, 2014 |
Touch of Power First of all, let me say that I love Maria V. Snyder's exceptional use of details and wonderful world building. I am such a huge fan of her Study series and I was thrilled to read and review the first book of her new "Healer" series. Touch of Power features a richly detailed high fantasy world which has been decimated by plague and the blame has been placed on the shoulders of the Healers who are routinely hunted and killed. Avry, a young healer, has been on the run for what seems like ages. Forced to move from town to town, never setting down roots, and never letting anyone get too close. When Avry makes the mistake of healing a sick child, she finds herself arrested and sentenced to die. The night before her scheduled date with the guillotine, a rag tag group of rescuers break her out, saving her life only to try to force her to heal their friend, a potential political rival to the powers that be. With the world in such a state of political upheaval, it seems that everyone who can gather an army can proclaim themselves a ruler. Chaos and lawlessness is the rule of the day, and Avry believes that the man they wish her to heal is the main cause of all of the problems. While I found the pacing to be sometimes tediously slow, I thoroughly enjoyed many of the details, such as the man eating Death-lilies. I wouldn't like to stumble upon one of them in a forest!! The many different types of magic were also fascinating. For some reason, I found the characterization in Touch of Power to be the weakest of all of Snyder's books. However, this could simply be because of all of the world building and plot development necessary to set up this series. I sometimes find this to be the case with the first book in a high fantasy series. There are so many details that need to be covered, world, plot, magic systems, and other minutia, that the characters sometimes fall flat. With that being said, I still LIKED Touch of Power, it simply wasn't one of my favorites. I will absolutely read the next in this series because I love Maria V. Snyder's writing and I'm sure this series will only get better! I loved that Touch of Power did not end on a cliffhanger. This story could stand on its own, leaving those details left unknown up to the readers' imagination. I can't wait to see where the author takes this story in the next installment in the series. I would recommend this to fans of Maria V. Snyder and those who enjoy YA high fantasy. ( )
  ahappybooker | Feb 7, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (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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