Title: Touch of Power (Healer #1)
Author: Maria V. Synder
Expected publication: December 20th 2011 by Mira
Source: ARC courtesy of publisher for review
Summary: "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..."
First line: "The little girl wouldn't stop crying."
Thoughts: To simply put it, I loved Touch of Power! It's not just a pretty cover, but a fabulous fantasy novel, which had me on the edge of my seat till the very end. Betrayal, adventure, scandal, romance and magic? Yes, please!
A plague has hit the Fifteen Rhelms, greatly decreasing the population, and healers are being blamed. Avry has spent the last few years constantly on the run. If anyone finds out that she's a healer, they will have her head. With that said, it's Avry's natural instinct to help heal others, especially children. She can't help it, and eventually gets caught. After all, you can only run so long before any sort of hunter catches you.
Enter Kerrick. Him and his merry group of men save Avry from certain death, and whisks her off into the forest. There, they seek shelter in a cave, and spend each day hiking further towards the mountains. Why did these men save Avry, you ask? Well, they need her to heal someone who has the potential to bring peace to the Fifteen Rhelms. The thing is, the person they ask Avry to save is the last person on earth she's willing to. On top of that, Avry is constantly being hunted by those loyal to the kings and queens from other rhelms. How long can she keep running before she gets caught?
First off, I have to (HAVE TO) tell you how much I loved and adored Avry. Her sarcasm and dry sense of humor had be giggling even when I probably shouldn't have been. She's just one of those incredibly moral, sound, and overall good people you wished was real. With that said, if you've read any of the books in Synder's Study trilogy, you'll notice that Avry's character is very much like Yelena. Both are independent because they have to be, and snarky because they want to be. Even their abilities to heal are very similar, with the way they take it into themselves and such. Still, just because they're similar does not mean it takes away from the story. If anything, it's nice since I really like the Study series.
The dialogue between every single character is impeccable, especially the conversations between Avry and Kerrick. I love the love/hate relationship they develop. It seems like they both like playing that little game called cat and mouse.
“...things happen that are out of your control.'
Kerrick gave him a tight smile. 'You mean I'm not omnipotent?'
'You're not even semi-potent.'
'Is that even a word?' Kerrick asked.
'He probably means you're impotent,' I offered.”
Sigh. Nonetheless, the dialogue is very entertaining, and just plain fun to read.
The author also does a fabulous job of developing all the secondary characters. I love the description she uses, giving them personality and each an important role in the overall story. My personal favorite out of all of them has to be Belen. He's like the papa bear in the group, always looking out for everyone. He even puts Kerrick back in his place, even though Kerrick is his superior.
Oh, and lets not forget the action and romance. While Kerrick did very much remind of of Valek from the Study trilogy, I couldn't help but love him. I'm not going to lie, I hated him at first. He's stubborn and at times unbearable, but oh my goodness. I don't know if it's his brooding, tortured nature, but there is just something simply sexy about him. The chemistry between him and Avry is undeniable. Needless to say, he's of the swoon-worthy sort, and I would gladly spend days with him in any of his hidden caves. AND THE ADVENTURE! I swear, there's so much action in this book, you can't put it down...ever. It's filled with jaw-dropping cliffhangers, crazy revelations and stunning magic, both evil and beautiful.
Filled with a cast of charming characters, a romance to die for, and a bad ass heroine, Touch of Power will have you believing in magic and cheering till the very end. The book does leave room for a sequel, but still left me very much satisfied with the overall ending. I cannot recommend nor talk about this book enough! It's simply marvelous and even if you're not a fan of fantasy novels, I still recommend checking it out. In my book, Maria Snyder is a fantastic writer and can do no wrong. No one weaves a story the way she does, and I cannot wait to read what she has in store for us next!