Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series: Avry of Kazan #1
Publisher: MIRA Ink
Date: December 2011
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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.
Touch of Power was everything that I hoped it would be and more! Traditional fantasy at its absolute best. I had no trouble whatsoever rating this book 5 wings. It deserves every one of them!
I’m afraid this review is going to basically be “ohmygodIlovethisbooksomuch” all the way though because really, I can’t find a single fault.
The world building was spectacular. The magical system the author has created for this story is one of the best I’ve ever encountered. It’s clearly been very well planned out and you can absolutely tell a lot of time and effort has gone into it. And I feel like we’ve only ‘touched’ the surface of the magical system in this one. There are 11 different types of mages altogether in this world and we only encounter about 4 of them in Touch of Power so I’m looking forward to learning more about the others in books to come. Of course we also learn a lot about healers which is what the main character is. I was really impressed with how healers’ magic works in this story. They basically assume the wounds and illnesses of those they heal and this meant that Avry had to be really brave and good to endure some of the ailments she had to heal.
The characters I think were what I most enjoyed about Touch of Power. Avry herself is a fabulous protagonist. We discover that she has been though a lot, losing her family and escaping execution all because her kind is blamed for starting a plague which killed 2 thirds of the population. When she is rescued from said execution by Kerrick and his band of men, she doesn’t really have much choice but to go with them. Kerrick needs her to heal his Prince Rhyne. But he doesn’t know that doing so will kill Avry. Kerrick’s relationship with Avry was hilarious to read. They really didn’t like each other for the most part and her tendency to not follow orders rubbed him up the wrong way a lot. But I could tell deep down that their feelings were starting to change and it was great to see them both trying to deny this. The other guys who travel with Kerrick were also great characters. Belen (or poppa bear as Avry calls him) was so protective of Avry and kind of gets caught in the middle of Avry’s and Kerrick’s bickering. Quain and Loren (the monkeys) were funny and Flea, just so sweet. I loved them all.
The story line itself was fast paced and exciting. There was an ambush waiting for them around every corner, what with the 15 realms in a state of war and poverty due to the plague, many didn’t want their mission to succeed or for the Prince to be healed. So they had a lot to contend with. What I loved about this was that Avry wasn’t your usual damsel in distress. Yes she got herself into a few sticky situations and had to be rescued but she sure does a lot of rescuing herself and certainly knew how to look after herself and I found this really refreshing.
I could go on about this book forever. It’s epic, addictive, exciting and heartfelt. I really can’t praise it enough. If you like great traditional fantasy, like Graceling or the Black Magician trilogy then this is going to blow you away. This is also a great book to pick up if you’ve never tried traditional fantasy before. So if you haven’t got the picture yet–READ THIS BOOK!