Touch of Power (Healer #1) - Maria V. Snyder
Rating: 5/5 stars
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... (Description from Goodreads)
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Fantasy, it’s a hard genre to win my love with, especially when I can’t help comparing everything fantasy to Tamora Pierce. A fantasy book has to face high expectations from me, and not a lot of them make the cut for my favourites shelf. Touch of Power definitely makes the cut. An amazing book set in a realm that is so well developed. The magic and history, mystery and adventure worked into the story just blew me away. I loved it.
Avery of Kazan is a healer, but not just any healer; a healer forced into hiding due to the consequences of an unknown plague that cause an unimaginable amount of death and distrust for the Healer’s Guild. I adored Avery. She had this spark that you can’t help liking. She stands up for what she believes in; risks her life over and over again to save people, even if they might not deserve it. She’s such a smart character in a world full of the unknown.
I love how Maria has developed this amazing world. The way the 15 Realms of Arvy’s world are in a state of disorder, with leaders scrambling to build a solid nation. It’s an epic storyline that can only bring up more adventure with each new page. And the mystery behind the healers. Despite being hated, the healers have a pretty amazing power. To take on someone else’s injury and heal themselves with it...except for the plague. They can’t survive healing someone with the plague. So just what is this strange plague and where did it come from? I really want to know the answer to this question.
A book full of action; all the fighting, it was insane. Our crew seemed to come across one group of mercenaries after another and the need for Avry to develop knife skills was essential. It also got my blood pounding. I love a good fight scene, and Maria didn’t disappoint, providing us with a few scenes to really get things going. The only thing that would have made it better for me is if someone added a bow and arrow to the mix; can’t resist a good archer!
Kerrick; oh wonderful, amazing Kerrick. A strong and sometimes harsh forest magician or hidden softie, who is extremely loyal and caring to those he loves? Or perhaps a bit of both? I’d already heard great things about Kerrick before starting the book and I never doubted what side he was on. While I wasn’t a fan of his rough treatment of Arvy at times, strangely it made him more appealing in the end because it helped to show his loyalty. I really liked the hints of a potential relationship between Kerrick and Avry. It was obvious something was going to happen between the two of them, since most books present you with your leading man early in the piece – and because friends and reviewers can’t stop talking about how amazing Kerrick is, so he has to do something to bring in that attention – but waiting for them to work it out was totally worth it. This is not a romance story, but it doesn't lack those tingly feelings you get when you come across the perfect couple.
The only negative for me (and it’s a pretty small negative) is that at times certain lines and situations were slightly repetitive. We all knew Avry was valuable, especially after the first few times we were told; so being told over and over again that she was a unique healer and was very important was a little too much for me. Not enough to detract from the story, but enough to pick up on the repetitiveness.
Can’t wait to see what happens next. And exciting start to an equally exciting series.
(Originally posted on Goodreads)