January 14, 2012

The Gift of Healing • Touch of Power

Touch of Power book cover
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Healer #1
Publisher: Mira
Publication: December 20, 2011
Source/Format: Netgalley || e-galley
[I received this book from Mira. This in no way affects my review.]

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 have never read anything by Maria V. Snyder before, though her Study, Insider and Glass series are all on my books-to-buy list. When I saw that her latest novel Touch of Power was up for requesting on NetGalley, I took a chance and crossed my fingers in the hopes I would get accepted to read and review it. When I got the email I was approved, I squealed for joy.

From the synopsis alone, I had surmised there would be a lot that I would love about the book - Avry is a healer, there's a band of rogues and it's about a land where magical abilities exist. True enough, the novel was gripping, exciting and all-consuming from the moment I started reading. Snyder truly has a talent for creating fantastical worlds and incredibly real and complex characters, and this book has convinced me that I have to read more of what she's written. And also that I need the second book in the Healer series like right now!

The Characters

Avry is a character that I loved immediately, which is mostly why I loved the novel. The one quality that stands out to me about her is her willingness to take on people's pain and ease their suffering, an ability she possesses as a healer. Her compassion and her kindness are often demonstrated in the circumstances where she has to choose whether to heal a person or hide.

Apart from her healing abilities, Avry is also a survivor. She's been on the run, trying to elude the clutches of people who want her imprisoned or dead, for the longest time, and her uncanny survival skills and ability to make quick decisions is decidedly impressive. I love that she was stubborn and had her own thoughts and opinions to share.

Emotionally, Avry is detached from others because she's always been alone and on the run. But because of her new circumstances (being amongst a group of rogues), it is wonderful to see her transformation into someone who's willing to forge friendships and relationships with others. It makes me feel so glad for her that she ends up meeting people she could trust and love.

There are so many other characters that play important roles in this novel: Flea, Belen, Quain, Vinn, Kerrick, Estrid, Daneen, Sepp, Danny, Zila & Tohon. While I would go in-depth about each character, I don't want to spoil too much of the story. And the majority of the tale revolves around Avry anyway.

The Story

Like many fantasy novels, it was fast-paced and filled with action. I think that the only word that could come close to describing it is magical. Maria V. Snyder managed to begin the saga about all the forces fighting over control of the Fifteen Realms beautifully, while introducing us to the world, its parameters, and its people. I could gush more, but we can leave at the fact that I couldn't put it down.

The Writing Style

I admire writers who carefully construct worlds for their readers, worlds that are meant to be fantastically real to the readers. Maria V. Snyder is one such writer. With each and every event and character we meet, we learn more about the world that the Healer series is set in, both good and bad. I like how Snyder managed to integrate character introduction and development into her world-building.

Personally, I say you should...

... definitely read this novel if you're a fan of fantasy YA or of YA with good world-building. It's an incredible new world to discover, with its own problems, battles and good bits, and there are some wonderful new characters that you'll definitely fall in love with. Maria V. Snyder has done something really cool with this novel and you should check it out!


  1. I knew from the second I saw your TGIF post that I would regret reading this review. Now I want it! And not just this book but ALL of her books. The world that she creates and the characters she fills it with all sounds so fascinating. Awesome review Alexa!!!

  2. I love the sound of this one - adding it to the wish list now. Thanks Alexa and that cover is gorgeous!

  3. I'm finding lots of new books via your blog, I haven't heard of this author so I'm going to look her up on Goodreads!

  4. Oh! I hadn't heard about this one, but now I'm dying to get my hands on a copy! Great review!

  5. same here will be reading my netgalley copy soon

  6. Awesome! I'm glad you liked this one! I've been considering it, but my list of books to buy is so huge that I was waiting to hear more about it. I've read Poison Study, but not the other two study books. I even own them! I need to get on that. Thanks for your review! I'm pretty sure I want this now. :)

  7. Ohhhhh! I haven't read it yet, although I got a copy from NetGalley as well. I'll read it next =) I'm read The Demon Lover right now.

  8. I'm so glad you liked it!! I'm such a fan of Maria V. Snyder and anything she comes up with is automatically on my wishlist :) I really liked Avry and while I didn't like Kerrick at first, he turned out to be a great guy! And Belen! Such a good friend and I loved how he became a father-figure to everyone :) I really need the next book right now as well, I hope we won't have to wait too long!


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