Title: Touch of Power (Healer #1) by Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: December 20th 2011
Published by: Mira Books
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
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...
A plague swept through all the fifteen realms and claimed the lives of most of the population. Avry is the only healer left, and yet she is shunned by the people. Kerrick has searched for Avry for two years to heal Prince Ryne. But Ryne is the enemy, and Avry has no sympathy for a man like him. But as Avry flees for her life from those who want her dead and wants to use her powers, Avry slowly realizes there is something to live for, that she, together with these small band of rouges, might still be able to heal the world with her power.
Once again I fell in love with Maria Snyder's writing. I have not read her Poison Study series so I never knew what to expect reading a Fantasy book she has written. I was truly delighted to know that Maria's strength not only lies in writing strong characters, but crafting a world so fascinating, so vast, so complicated yet so attractive.
Kerrick was a bit hard to like at first. A decent man does not strike a girl! That's what I thought at first, but slowly, Kerrick transforms into a character that eventually won me over. He might be rough around the edges but he has various layers you had to go through to unravel his true nature. Kerrick and his men are probably the most charming group of men I have read. Belen and Flea are characters I loved dearly. Vinn and Quain, the two monkeys, proved to be entertaining as well. There's nothing better than reading of a vibrant female lead, but lively supportive characters like the band of rogues. They never once treated Avry as a captive, but as a friend, as an equal. Readers will be able to connect with the characters easily.
The chemistry between Avry and Kerrick was enough to keep me on my toes while reading. It's like they're sparring with words all the time. The taunting, the biting sarcasm and scathing remarks certainly added tension to every scene. The mutual dislike they have eventually forged something strong between the two of them and transformed to something else. I always love it when authors take time into developing relationships between characters and their personalities as well through the experiences they share. Avry and Kerrick certainly had quite a lot of them, risky and dangerous but each encounter brings them closer to each other,
Not everyone might agree with me, but I liked Tohon as well. There must be a sudden rise on male antagonists who sometimes outshine the male leads, and this is one good example. Tohon might be shrewd, cruel, manipulative and evil, but he has charisma. If he wasn't raising the dead, amassing an army to take over the fifteen realms, and experimenting on children, I would've liked him better. There's something in a broken soul that just fascinates me.
Avry is a headstrong lady. Stubborn too, a girl who can hold her own. Maria Snyder's female protagonists seem to share a common trait: compassion for people and the strength to stand up for something they believe in. Avry wanted to help people to the best of her ability, even if it means death. Granted she was afraid at first, but she knew she had a purpose for having the ability to heal.
Maria Snyder's latest work is a great, delightful read. She has laid great, solid foundation for the sequel and the intrigue, the unanswered questions and the unresolved conflicts certainly will make readers like me crave for more! Action, adventure and a healthy dose of magic, a great formula that gave birth to this endearing and highly suspenseful novel. Definitely recommended!
Content (plot, story flow, character):
Content (plot, story flow, character):
I would've given it a five, if only Kerrick wasn't a bit rough with Avry and Tohon a bit predictable.
Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.