TITLE: Touch of Power
AUTHOR: Maria V. Snyder
SERIES: Healer #1
PAGES: 394 (Paperback)
Maria Snyder breezes into the world of high fantasy with a fresh new take on this magical genre, an addition fans of the author will surely devour with eager enthusiasm. As someone who read one of Snyder’s previous books and wasn’t too impressed, I was sceptical whether Touch of Power really was as good as everyone is saying, but after blazing through it only a couple of hours I am now fully supportive of these glowing reviews!
Avry is a healer, a race of magic users that many fear after rumours spread that they were responsible for a deadly plague. After being caught and sentenced to execution, Avry is ‘rescued’ by Kerrick, a determined, battle hardened young man who has been searching for a true healer for over two years to help save the life of a plague stricken prince who lies in a magical stasis. Unfortunately for Kerrick and his gang, Avry refuses to comply, because 1. He has the plague, and that is the one illness that will kill Avry, and 2. She has a very personal reason not to which is revealed later on the book. Though, Avry seems to have no choice as they drag her with them on their travels over the fifteen kingdoms, with Kerrick still trying to convince her to save the prince’s life – and thus sacrifice her own – as they believe he can defeat a tyrant king and bring peace between all the kingdoms.
The first few chapters are critical in setting up the characters, the main plot and the world we are to be taken into, but I felt that Ms Snyder did a good job and I was immediately drawn in by the world she has created. She didn’t actually use that many descriptions, so I had to interpret from what was I was given and in the end only had a vague idea of the fifteen kingdoms, but my imagination seemed to make up for it.
Quite a few people have given Touch of Power negative reviews because they feel it is flimsy, with no substance underneath. I can kind of see where they’re coming from, the book is a great place to escape into for a few hours, but it has absolutely no connection to reality whatsoever and feels completely separated. However, for me, I could deal with that. The world Snyder has created is magical and simple (but in a good way), with ancient powers and cultures that really piqued my interest. The idea of having 11 kinds of power is intriguing, and I enjoyed learning about Avry’s fragmented world.
One thing I really loved about Touch of Power were the characters, Belen, Kerrick, Quain, Vinn, and Flea were all given unique characteristics that made them so utterly endearing, and I was left smiling at the strong bonds formed in this tight knit group. Avry is a great creation of a main character; she’s kind, courageous, moral, a good friend and self-sacrificing, though to be honest there was nothing that made her really stand out from the other YA heroines I have read about recently.
Overall Touch of Power is a wonderful, fast paced fantasy that I thoroughly enjoyed spending a couple of hours on. Some people may find it not to their taste, however I’m sure any Snyder fan, or a fantasy lover, will find it a captivating read from this experienced author.