Touch of Power (Early Review)

, by Kt Clapsadl

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Healer #1

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes 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 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—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...

At one time Healers like Avry were reveled for their skills at saving people, but all that changed when a horrible plague ravaged across the lands. Now her kind is hunted with bounties on their head as they were blamed for the deaths. For three years she had managed to stay under the radar, but she slipped and healed a child, bringer her gifts to light. She's captured by a rag tag team of rogues who have searched high and low for someone like her. They insist she heal their prince who has fallen ill with the plague, only a magical stasis keeps him alive. They must travel for months to reach him, all the while Avry drags her heels as she refuses to heal the prince due to his past misdeeds, much to the ire of the rogue's leader. In turn her life, becomes miserable as she is targeted from all sides, becoming a constant target. In the end she will have to decide who is really worth her gift, because this is one journey that won't have a happy ending.

By far the best thing about Touch of Power was Avry. She's so strong, yet so fragile at the same time. It would have been easy for her to turn her back on the people determined to kill every last healer. However, even on the run she would risk her life for any child who would not live without her help. She knew each time that the parent's gratitude would not spare her life, yet she still took that risk each time. To make matters worse, not only would she be hunted by the townspeople, but when she heals someone she takes the injury or sickness into herself. Too much and she could easily die before her own healing took over. Some would call this a weakness, but I think it shows an extreme character worth as she continued to do what was right no matter the circumstances. Even as she was captured by the rogues and treated horribly by their leader Kerrick, she still stayed strong in her morals and healed those who needed, despite the high cost to herself. Of course as the journey went on she really softened towards the group and they became almost a family of sorts despite the situation.

I absolutely loved the characters in Touch of Power. They were so realistic and full of life that their troubles seemed like my own in no time flat. The best books are the ones you form a tight emotional connection with. I especially enjoyed the journey from my initial strong dislike of Kerrick (we are talking borderline hatred here) to an almost kindred bond, and finally to a fully swoon worthy connection. The ability to sway my opinion and emotions that much over one character in a single novel is quite impressive. Even the villain, who is quite horrific and terrible, at times even seemed like he could have been a normal guy. The author sure knows how to show characters with many layers of depth, and it was really refreshing to read a book where not a single character was only two dimensional.

In Touch of Power a full range of emotions happened within me as I was reading, eliciting laughter, or unadulterated joy, to horror and even full blown tears. While not completely integral to the main plot, there was a slow building romance throughout the book, that was both sweet and incredibly strong in the end. While the book could have survived without it, Touch of Power definitely would not have been as emotionally powerful and compelling to read. The combination of a great world, even better characters, a action packed plot, and an enthralling romance made Touch of Power a completely engrossing read that I simply could put down. I look forward to seeing what is in store for this rag tag team of characters, and trust me the next book could not possibly come soon enough.

(Received a copy from Netgalley)


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