Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Healer #1
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: December 20, 2011
ISBN13: 9780778313076
Format: Paperback, 390 pages
Genre: YA, fantasy, apocalypse, romance, magic
Source: borrowed from library

Magician, heal thyself.

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....
Touch of Power starts off with an introduction of Avry, a healer forced into hiding, healing a child and getting turned in by the family of the child. What does she know would inevitably follow her arrest? A scheduled execution, without trial. But why all the hate? Healers are commonly believed to be the ones who started the devastating plague that destroyed the Fifteen Realms and plunged it into its current chaotic existence. But this is not the end for our healer girl. Avry is saved by a small group of people who thinks she's more useful as a healer than for bounty. And thus her journey begins.

Maria V. Snyder, I congratulate you. You drew me into the story immediately, and kept me in there. Not once did I feel like I should set it aside, that the plot could wait, that I could go read another more action-oriented story. Though, I admit, Touch of Power did have quite its share of action, it also contained a plot I would never see coming. It's truly wonderful even in the end, Snyder could add something to the book, a new factor to check into, but I wouldn't feel like, "Hey, wait a minute. That doesn't even make sense. Quit making up weird things to move the story along!" It actually corresponded with the entire story, and fit together. It made absolute sense how it could've been possible the entire time, and that the protagonist truly didn't know it was possible. Even better? No cliffhanger. You can see where the story could go on, but it feels resolved.

Avry is nearly my ideal character, symbolizing strength through suffering, but at times her strength veers towards the territory of stubborn and makes many of her decisions incredibly illogical. As well, I'd truly like to know more about her past to be able to understand and sympathize more for her loss during the plague.

Kerrick, Avry's love interest, was a bit of a jerk in the beginning. (Hint: Boys, don't chain girls you like to trees. They don't like it, trust me.) While he didn't completely redeem himself in the end, what I admire about him is his devotion to friends. He'd do anything for his little band of "Arvy-rescuers". (Don't blame me, I don't know what else to call his little group . . .)

I love talking about the villains. Tohon is no different. He's got the slightly clichéd sad childhood that drove him to commit such atrocious acts, and certainly seems like the sort of person to cook up the most gruesome of experiments. To put it more simply, he's a total slimy greaseball. And his personality mirrors the little boy who didn't get the bigger slice of birthday cake, and would in turn destroy the other little boy who did through whatever means he can.

In the end, I didn't find Touch of Power as powerful as some of her previous books, especially Poison Study but still enjoyed it very much. Touch of Power features a great cast of character and an intricate plot. I'd recommend Touch of Power to fans of fantasy.

Below are some YA fantasies that I think fans of Touch of Power would enjoy for one reason or another.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst - In a desert land where tribes of people must rely on the gods for water, a vessel is chosen every century to sacrifice their bodies in order to house the gods. Liyana is one of them. But when her goddess doesn't come for her, her clan, feeling as if Liyana was forsaken, abandons her to die. All is lost until Korbyn, a god in a vessel body, informs Liyana that the gods and goddesses are all trapped somehow, and unable to reach their vessels, and they must go on a journey to save the remaining vessels.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - What happens when a king's Graced pet killer decides to not listen anymore? Does the beloved prince of a faraway kingdom have a secret he'd protect with his life? And exactly what is going on within that kingdom separated by a deadly mountain range and a sea?

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman - There are a few requirements for becoming a Dragoneye. One is being a boy. But Eon is different; he's actually sixteen-year-old Eona, and a girl. When he gets rejected in the year of the Rat by the Rat Dragon, the Mirror Dragon, who's been missing for years, swoops in and claims Eon as her own.

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson - Elisa is far from perfect. In fact, her sister would be much more suited as wife to the foreign king. But through a journey of life and death, rebellion and order, Elisa slowly uncovers something that challenges everything she's been taught and discovers her own self.
Thank you so much for wanting to leave a comment! I read every single one of them, and respond to most of them!

I'm honoured that anyone would want to nominate me for an award, but I just don't have time for that anymore. This blog is award and tag free.