Sunday, November 20, 2011

Early Review of Touch of Power (Healer, #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power (Healer, #1)
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Mira; Original edition (December 20, 2011)
ISBN-10: 0778313077
ISBN-13: 978-0778313076
Author's Website:

She is the last of her kind--a Healer...

They say people fear that which they do not understand. That is the case of what happened in Avry's world. Healers were individuals who possessed the ability to heal faster than other people. They also had the power to take on another person's illness or wounds as their own. Because of their powers they were once held in high esteem, but when the plague hit, everything changed.

Strangely, no healer seemed to contract the plague unless they were to take it from another individual. When a healer did that, however, they died. Sadly, there was no cure and the Healers had done their best to find one. None was ever found, and in the midst of the chaos and madness, Healers got the blame. People began to believe the plague was a Healer created disease, and that they refused to heal it. So those who had the potential to save mankind were hunted. Now, after nearly three years of hiding and running, it looks like Avry's luck and life may have just run out...

Once again Ms. Snyder masterfully spins a magical tale that captures her readers full attention. Her characters are very easy to like, and you feel like you've acquired new friends. As the book unfolds we start to learn more about the world Avry lives in. There are 15 realms. Since the plague, the world population dropped by roughly two thirds and the 15 realms, which were once each ruled by their own leader, are now ruled by just 3. As we all know, power can lead to corruption.

Avry's world also contains eleven different types of magicians--Healers being one. As there wasn't a tidy list of the different types of magicians I believe the eleven include Healers, Sniffers, Life Mages, Death Mages, Earth Mages, Air Mages, Fire Mages, Water Mages, Moon Mages, Rock Hounds, & Forrest Mages. Each type of magician has their own type of powers and some are more powerful than others. When a child shows signs of being a magician, the family usually keeps it quiet until the child developes enough control over their power to protect themselves. There are some who will pay good money for a young magician so there is the potential threat that they'll be kidnapped.

As the tale progresses Kerrick will attempt to persuade/force Avry to heal Prince Ryne of the plague. Ryne is currently being kept in a magical state of suspended animation to curb the disease from getting any worse. Avry has met Rhyne before and the meeting left a bitter taste in her mouth. While she is the self sacrificing type, she's not about to trade her life for someone else's, and all the pain that comes with it, unless it can be proven to be for the betterment of the population as a whole.

Avry is a very interesting character. She's smart, forgiving and loyal, but underneath it all she's also a little vulnerable. She's lost all her family and friends one way or another to the plague, and for the past three years has been unable to put down roots or make new friends. Knowing she has a price on her head if she's ever captured, she knows the temptation to hand her over for the bounty she would yield is more than the average person can resist. As she travels with Kerrick and his crew, who saved her from eminent death, to where Rhyne is located, she starts to bond with them. Along the way she'll need to sort out her feelings for them and figure out if she truly can trust them or if she is latching on to them because she's been lonely for so long.

There are many twists, more than one villain, and many life or death situations. The book flows at a nice pace and keeps your interest. If you liked 'Poison Study' you'll probably enjoy this book as well. As is her tradition, Snyder does not write romances. While just about all of her books contain a romance somewhere within the pages, her stories aren't about the romance and should be not labeled as such. She writes with a focus on the story and doesn't blur it with hot and steamy love scenes. I respect her for this.

Where does the book get its name? I believe from the following passage: "He knows if he moves to attack me all I have to do is apply a touch of power and you're dead." How's that for a little teaser?

Overall I gave this book 4 out of 5 roses. I always enjoy Snyder's books and this one is no exception. I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Hopefully, I'll get to read the ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of that one as well.

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