Book Review: Touch of Power

Touch of Power (Healer #1)
Published By: Mira
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Page Count: 394
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Amazon Vine UK Review Program
Audience: YA - Fantasy

Touch of Power is Poison Study good!!! *HUGE CHEER* I haven't enjoyed a book by Maria V Snyder so much in a long time (even though they are usually great); I stayed up reading til all hours and was even late to work because I couldn't put it down! I really hope you agree with me when you get a chance to read it. I would definitely recommend this as required reading for Maria fans ASAP!! I think anyone who loved Graceling by Kristin Cashore would also love this. 

I really liked Maria's new heroine, Avry. She is fierce and stubborn, but also kind and brave. I liked her so much more than Opal from the Glass trilogy. She is as engaging as Yelena from Poison Study without being too much like her... both characters share similarities, but they are not one and the same. Avry is a healer, who can take peoples' illnesses from them as a cure, but she must suffer the illness herself. Fortunately she has an advanced speed of healing, or she'd never get anything done! 

The story picks up in the aftermath of a devastating plague, which the healers guild were unable to cure without dying themselves. As a result, healers are not revered by society, but rather they are hunted drifters. Avry finds herself incarcerated, awaiting death, but then is rescued by a motley crew who want her to heal their leader, Ryne, who lies in suspended animation in a magical coma in a distant land. He has a bad reputation, and he has the plague; healing him would kill Avry. 

The gang (Kerrick, Belen, Vinn, Quain and Flea) do their best to convince Avry, through any method possible, that she should heal Ryne as they believe he is the only person who can bring all the shreds of their plague-ridden kingdom together and restore order. There are several other potential leaders who disagree though, and they all make a play for Avry to varying success. One develops into a wonderful villain, who just made my skin crawl! (Excellent work Maria!!) 

Avry travels with the gang for most of the book, and there is a really beautiful camaraderie which grows between them, after some testing times... of course there is a love interest, and the development of that aspect was simply delicious to read. When there was finally some kissing, I was in seventh heaven!! 

What I really enjoy about Maria's writing, as a whole, is that she creates characters with believable skills. I know she often learns these skills herself, and this time I really enjoyed reading about juggling and knife throwing! Magic is also woven very carefully through the seams of the book; no one is all powerful, but some people have really interesting talents. I also love how rich her characters are; I really feel like I know Avry, Belen, Kerrick, and Flea. 

I was initially completely baffled by the bizarre mention of the peace and death lilies, giant plants which can consume a man whole, but actually it all made sense in the end, and I am totally gutted that I have to wait for the story to continue!! This has all the makings of a really wonderful fantasy trilogy... now... how long do I have to wait for the next one?! 

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....