Touch of Power
Maria V Snyder
December 20th 2011
THEY DESTROYED HER WORLD. BUT SHE’S THEIR ONLY HOPE...
Avry’s power to heal the sick should earn her respect in the plague-torn land of Kazan. Instead she is feared. Her kind are blamed for the horrifying disease that has taken hold of the nation. When Avry uses her forbidden magic to save a dying child, she faces the guillotine. Until a dark, mysterious man rescues her from her prison cell. His people need Avry’s magic to save their dying prince. The very prince who first unleashed the plague on Kazan.
Saving the prince is certain to kill Avry – yet she already faces a violent death. Now she must choose – use her healing touch to show the ultimate mercy or die a martyr to a lost cause?
After reading this book, I have come to the conclusion that Maria V Snyder's books are like crack. I cannot put them down once I've picked them up. It's weird because as much as I love fantasy, it usually takes me a while to settle into the world and get used to the writing and what have you, but with these books I just get sucked straight in.
Generally, I know that I'm in safe hands with Maria V Snyder, but when I started reading the book and realised how Avry's healing powers worked, I was a bit worried that she'd just keep on sacrificing herself for everyone again and again and again (not that there's anything wrong with that, but after a while it gets a bit repetitive). Luckily, I don't think that it was overdone at all. And I liked Avry a lot as well, so there's that. And I did really like the way that her healing magic worked. It does kind of peeve me sometimes when people just go about healing people and all it does it use up a bit of energy. In this world, when a Healer, well, heals someone, they take on the illness or the wound in their own body, and have an increased healing rate than everyone else. It just seemed to make a lot of sense.
My other favourite part of the book was Kerrick. And Belen, too, actually. And the monkeys, and Flea. Basically all of them. Kerrick and Avry's relationship was really well done, and it was all lovely and slow burning and love-hatey and great. And Belen was so lovely. Well, when he wasn't fighting people off. But it made me glad to see male-female relationships that aren't romantic and have them be really important, too (and yes, I know I always go on about this, and it's not even really a problem anymore but still.)
I really liked the backstory behind the plague and the Healers, and Tohon. It was all well developed and the mystery kept me reading as much as the action and the burgeoning romance. And Tohon, boy do I have a lot to say about him. And none of it is good. I mean, he was a good character, but he was such a dick it was unreal. It's been a while since I've read a book with a villian that I've loved hating as much as him. Think the level of hatred Joffery causes you to have, with the best magical powers in the Realm, older, and possibly even more of a megalomaniac. Seriously, what is it with megalomaniacs with super daddy issues getting into power and ruining everything for everyone.
While Touch of Power was a really enjoyable book, I think I would've fell in love with more if I hadn't read it (kind of) in the shadow of Girl of Fire and Thorns, because that book has both made me crave fantasy and ruined all other fantasy for me by just being so excellent. Reading Touch of Power, though, has reminded me of how much I truly enjoy Maria's books and how much I actually need to finish the Study series and read Scent of Magic and start the Glass series, because even though there have been sort of similarities between this and Poison Study (nothing overt, but just the way the story was told, I guess? It's been a while since I read PS), her books are just so readable and enjoyable.
Touch of Power was a fast paced, exciting, well developed fantasy novel that started the series well, while also being a story contained in itself. If there's anyone out there who's looking for an accessible novel to start themselves off with as a gateway into fantasy, then I'd definitely recommend this (or any of her books, really).