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ARC Review: Touch of Power

Touch of Power
by Maria V. Snyder

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Purchase: Amazon | BookDepository
Release Date: December 20, 2011
Publisher: Mira/Harlequin
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy
Source: NetGalley
Rating: Special Shelf
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About the Book:
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...
The little girl wouldn't stop crying. I didn't blame her. She was dying after all...

Touch of Power was my first taste of Snyder's work and it was a rich and delightful one. Avry's tug-of-war between the need to help and the knowing that if she does, she'll be executed for doing so, instantly pulls us in and leaps onto us, one part of us begging her to save the little girl screaming for relief warring with the part that urges her to stay hidden for fear of the horrors that are sure to follow. An overcast of the dark and the bleak blankets the opening chapter, giving us the keen sense that Avry's world isn't a joyful one. Avry's kind, the healer kind, are proclaimed war criminals, treated like abominations to be killed or handed over for money for reasons fortified by indistinct proof, in a world ravaged by disease and plagued by war and dreadful politics. It's deeply evident that Avry is tired of running, so when the inevitable happens, along with the fear moves a swift feeling of relief at no longer having to hide in abiding anxiety.

Rapidly and suddenly Avry finds herself in the company of five men eager for her to heal their close friend, a prince of a relatively distant land who has caught the horrible plague that has swept all the Fifteen Realms. He is meant for great things and only Avry can save him, but at a price so final Avry must decide what and who is worth actually saving. And the five men who desire her help are five characters that stole into my heart and warmed it, melted it, and, at points, cut scars into it, who not only move Avry into admirable action but moved me in ways I always hope for when I pick up the next novel. I found Avry and Belen's deep and swift friendship a sweet reprieve from their rough travels, her attachment to the other men in the group warming me while reading as events unfolded in the cold of their world. And her syrupy slow romance with a certain resistant, stone-faced character ignited feelings that overlapped from wishful to happiness that could barely be contained!

A few people have asked me how closely Touch of Power resembles Maria's Poison Study series, if at all, and whether or not it's better or worse. Keep in mind that I read Touch of Power first, but I instantly went in search of this highly acclaimed series and fell just as deeply in love. The two stories are matching in similar threads found in the plot, the characters, and even the romance, yet Touch of Power is completely, freshly it's own. I think fans of Poison Study will be pleased with the tenacious, lovable heroine, charmed by the amazing brood of men who traverse with Avry, defending her to the best of their abilities, persevering alongside her, and the enthralling, magical fantasy that paints the book's pages. Touch of Power is presented with a vividness that can't be ignored, a story that has thoroughly earned a place on my hard-to-reach Special Shelf.

"Avry, why did you risk your life for me? Kerrick ordered you not to heal me. You suffered for days! You shouldn't have done it."
The room grew quiet. I spotted Kerrick near the doorway.
I decide who I heal. Me. Not Kerrick. Not you. Not anyone. It's my life on the line each time. It's my decision. The only one I have left." I put my hand on his cheek. "You deserved to be saved. I had no doubts."
He covered my hand with his own, pressing it against his face. "Thank you."
"Anytime." And I meant it.


Stephanie (PoetrytoProse.com) said...

Lovely review! I just read Touch of Power this weekend and it was my first taste of Snyder's work, too. I wasn't too sure of how much I would love it, but I soon found myself completely engaged with her characters. The relationships Avry formed with her companions were definitely a highlight of this year for me.

A. Knight said...

Hey, Stephanie :)

As much as I love fantasy books, I had my doubts too. The cover is just so darn PRETTY and the summary seemed almost too good to be true. But, like you, the characters really MADE the book for me.

Giselle said...

Great review I still have to read this one and her Poison Study series! <3

Xpresso Reads

Jenny said...

Oohhh the Special Shelf huh? That means it's one that needs to go on my list! I haven't read anything by Maria V. Snyder and clearly I'm missing out on a whole lot of awesomeness. I loved how you described her ability to make everything extremely vivid, I always love an author who makes me feel like I'm watching a movie as I read:)

A. Knight said...

Giselle- Thanks<3 If you like fantasy and if you're a character girl then you'll definitely love both.

Jenny- Oh, man, Jenny, I've been missing out too! I didn't know these books were so good, if not I would've went after them a loooong time ago. So great, her work.

Brodie said...

Oh my gosh, YES. I ADORED the guys and the relationships Avry developed with them all. I lived for those scenes. Sigh <3 And I love how the eventual romance with Kerrich grew.... Maria pulled it off brilliantly. As is her talent. I've read this and the Insiders series and love them all, so I really need to dive into the Poison Study books soon because everyone gushes about those.

Amazing review, Asher. But why must you always make me want to read (or reread) a book?!

Liz. R said...

I've never read anything but Maria V. Snyder before, but I can tell that I need to correct this right away. I love the sound of Touch of Power! The premise and sweet romance definitely appeal to me. Great review - glad you enjoyed the book! :)

Brodie said...

Grrrrr. I left a comment on this earlier but.... crap, I had a dozen windows open, I hope I didn't post it on the wrong blog! haha

Anyway, I love your review for this!! I so agree with everything you wrote. I ADORED the relationships that grew between Avry and the guys... their interactions were one of the best parts of this book for me (of course, the action, magic and all round awesomeness were brilliant too). And I loved how the romance progressed... gosh that sexual tension was delicious. Sorry I thought you were an ass in the beginning, Kerrick. But... you kinda were :P

I really need to check out the Poison Stuy series soon. I've read this and her Insiders books, which I loved, so I've no doubt she will blow me away again!

Samual said...

Awesome review! I have to check this book out sometime! I also have to read the Study series too. Thank you for sharing it!! :)

Happy New Year!

Books For All Seasons

A. Knight said...

Liz- Oh, yeah, Liz, I totally think you'd like this book. Give it a go and tweet me when you finish it.

Brodie- It happens. I've done it a couple times myself. I heart you, because we happen to love all the same stuff :DD

Sam- Definitely do that. I recommend ToP to EVERYONE.

Michelle @ Book Briefs said...

This was my first experience with Maria V. Snyder as well, and I loved it! She just has such a vivid writing style. Everything was so beautifully described. Great review, I really like your writing style as well.

A. Knight said...

The story was so beautiful and such an awesome fantasy! Thank you <3