Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Have you guys ever gone to purchase an ebook, only to be told you had already purchased it? No? I’m the only one? That’s cool. Cool.
Anywho, I was ECSTATIC to discover I had purchased this book a couple of years ago, and never read it. It was like a magical present in my Kindle library, just waiting to be downloaded and devoured.
And may I just say, this book was INCREDIBLE!
Y’all already know that I LOVED Snyder’s Poison Study, but this book was even better in my opinion.
Avry is a healer. By placing her hands on the sick and injured, she is able to heal them by taking on their illnesses and wounds herself. With a miraculous power like hers, her goal is to help, heal, and save as many as she can. But instead of being free to exercise her positive and powerful magic, she is hunted.
Two-thirds of the populace was decimated by the plague, and the people blame the healers for bringing it upon them. Whenever a healer is found, they are arrested and quickly executed. A large bounty is placed on the head of a dead healer.
When Avry risks discovery in order to save a child from death, her three years of successful running come to an end. She is thrown in prison to be executed in the morning. Only, wonder of wonders, a mysterious man rescues her from death under the condition that she will heal his sick friend. Anxious to avoid her impending doom, Avry agrees.
Her life is never the same.
She falls into the band of merry misfits, as the men capture her heart with their sincere loyalty to the dying prince that awaits her. Emotions war within her, since this very same prince is responsible for the chaotic hunt for healers in the first place.
Mercenaries, a priestess, and zombies are all after her, and Avry must decide who is worth saving and who is worth dying for.
There were so many terrific aspects of this book, that it is difficult to know where to begin with my gushing!
First off, the characterization is superb. Seriously, delightful! Each and every character was fully fleshed out, and their backstories were so deftly woven into the plot and action that they became fully dimensional without any of the clunky feeling that can occasionally accompany delving into a character’s past. Nothing felt forced- the story flowed naturally in such a way that the characters seemed vibrant and alive, despite their differences. Of course I loved the main characters, Avry and Kerrick, but I also found myself really attached to the secondary characters- like Poppa Bear Beren, and sweet Flea. Snyder definitely does characterization well.
Secondly, the actual plot of the story kept me guessing, without being so convoluted that it was difficult to follow. I loved the layers of intrigue Synder built, and as soon as I suspected that I had wrapped up one loose end of the mystery, it would unravel with the revelation of a new piece of information. I both loved and hated that I had no idea what would happen next!
Closely related to the plot is the aspect of raising stakes and creating conflict, and I must say, Snyder is a MASTER at this! Hopes get built up, plans are made, and then everything comes crashing down. The situation seems bad, but then circumstances turn the situation into something incredibly dire. Conflict is not limited to just one piece of the puzzle, but rather sprinkled throughout, so that there is layer upon layer of risk and mayhem. Gosh, love, love, LOVE it!
Lastly, I love that there is so much room to GROW the story from where Snyder left off in the first book. I both love and hate when endings are wrapped up in a neat, perfect bow because real life is seldom so simple. Real stories are messy. Synder captures that so well with her ending. Yes, we get some resolution, since we’ve been on pins and needles the entire time, and to prolong our agony would be seriously sadistic on Snyder’s part. She left enough of the threads of story unraveled, however, to continue the series with ease and with a great amount of conflict churning to carry through.
Part of me really wants to download the next book right this minute so I can find out what happens next, but the practical side of me is telling me to wait. NaNo is going to be difficult enough to win without spending all of my free time reading instead of writing those 50,000 words within 30 days! Haha! But rest assured, as soon as November is over, I will definitely be finding out where Avry goes next. This series is THAT good!