Touch of Power by Mariah V. Snyder
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Published: December 20th, 2011 by Mira
My Rating: 4 thumbs up!
I was given a copy of Touch of Power by my bookish friend, Chiara over at Books for a Delicate Eternity
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured 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, the 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
Synopsis from Goodreads
I never thought I would like a Maria V. Snyder book! I really disliked one of her novel’s so much, that I stopped reading three chapters into it. I guess that doesn’t leave me much to go by, but I have stayed clear of her since. Now I am so glad I gave Touch of Power a chance, because I thoroughly enjoyed this novel!
I would class Touch of Power as a High fantasy novel, that followers Avery, a Healer, in a world that has been crippled by a plague. As the last of her kind, she is highly sought after – for both death and personal use. I really liked the characters and development, its pace, themes and mystery. I liked the way it evoked a strong emotional response from me. The only real negative I have to say is that I wish it included more description and world building.
Snyder has done a wonderful job at making me love the characters. This in part has to do with character development. We got a real sense of Avery’s position and how her past has made her into the person she is. Same goes for Kerrick and his stone cold, flat personality- which I totally understood (eventually) and loved watching it break. What I liked most though, was the side characters. Namely the group of male travellers who finally capture Avery. As readers, we really begin to fall in love with them. I especially fell for “poppa bear” and Flea. I like how this group set about a change in Avery again, and how she begins to see a reason in life.
A major positive is the themes. I like how Snyder sets about the question of “what’s worth dying for?” This is taken literally in Avery’s case, since her power has the ability to also kill her. In the damaged world she lives in, all characters must make a decision on who to stand by, who to believe and who is worth the sacrifice. It adds another layer to the already intriguing plot.
Touch of Power really sets a pace, as well. The fast, to the point adventure really sets a good mood for high fantasy. I’m normally not keen on overly fast paced novels, but it worked well in this case. I also really enjoyed the mystery. There is constant mystery surrounding the plague, death lilies and the healer’s power. I feel as though it has only scratched the surface, really making me want to continue on with the rest of the series.
I would have liked more description and world building in Touch of Power. It’s just a personal preference, but in a fantasy book like this, I need description to really get a sense of the world they are in. I also would have liked further descriptions into the politics of the world, plus where religions resonate from (ie- “The Creator”) and where they believe they get there powers from. These sorts of things were missing from the book, which I need to properly connect with the story. Or maybe I’m just a logic person with a crazy I-must-know-everything attitude.
I really believe this book could have been enhanced with some more description and world building, but I still enjoyed what Snyder has created – which I never thought I’d say. She has definitely left me with some lasting characters and some emotions I might have to sit on for a few days. I recommend Touch of Power to all fantasy lovers! Maybe not high fantasy enthusiasts, though.