REVIEW by Dolly: Touch of Power (Healer #1) by Maria V. Snyder (@fidget78)

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs 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 Fifteen Realms, 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…

I’ve previously read other novels by Ms Snyder.  Poison Study, Magic Study and Fire Study were some of my favorites novels.  I inhaled them when they came out and immediately reread them.  I almost gave up on Ms Snyder when she continued the series in a somewhat different manner.  The Glass Series.  It didn’t hold my attention and I couldn’t get over how different the series’ were.  (I didn’t take my own advice)  I read the synopsis of Touch of Power and knew I needed to read the novel, just to find out, was it as good as it sounded?  I thought so.

The world building was interesting and I really liked some of the characters.  Not all of the “good guys” at first but I came around and I think that was the point of the character, Kerrick.  Of the group that kidnaps Avry, he’s the leader and the least understandable at the beginning.  Avry is spunky, kind and mostly unafraid.  She is one of the last, if not the last healer left in a world devastated by the plague.  The people think the healers have started the plague and then refused to heal the sick.  All the healers found are sentenced to death.  Avry has been hiding and moving around for more than two years.  Her luck runs out when she helps a sick child.  A band of men rescue her and are intent on taking her to heal their prince.  The problem, Avry doesn’t want to heal him as she considers him evil and callous.  He may have been responsible for the death of her father and brother before the plague hit.  So, it’s a struggle for Kerrick and his men to insure Avry cooperates on the journey.  There is the added complication that others are hunting Avry for the bounty on her head as a healer.  Got it?

Touch of Power gives you very little time to catch your breath.  There is continuous action.  I enjoyed all the different characters, the world and Avry.  You might think that a healer who “takes” the sickness and pain into themselves might not be such a good deal.  I mean how many people want to make themselves sick.  That’s what is so intriguing about this novel.  Avry has the need to heal people.  It’s completely selfless.  But, she does get to decide who she heals.  It’s her magical power and she can use it or not.  The growth of all the men and Avry on their journey is another aspect I liked about the story.

As usual before I end a review, I do read other reviews.  It does not change my review in any way but provides another insight into the novel.  The reviews on Touch of Power are mixed.  There really didn’t seem to be a middle ground, loved it or was indifferent.  If you start reading this novel thinking you’re getting a rewrite of the excellence of Poison Study, you’ll be disappointed.  Forget Ms. Snyder’s other novels and just read it as a novel that caught your interest.  I did, I enjoyed it.  I can seriously say I’m looking forward to the next novel in this series.
(Scent of Magic, due out December 18.2012)

My rating:  4.0 Stars

Healers #1

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