Dec 27, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 13 Comments

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)

December 21 2011
Trade Paperback
394 pages
Mira Publishing
Received from NetGalley

Kick Ass Chick – Avry of Kazan

From Goodreads –
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…


What.  A.  Ride.  Before I get going, let me tell you about Maria V. Snyder’s adult books.  They are not paranormal romance.  Nor are they urban fantasy.  They are straight up fantasy…with a bit of romance thrown in.  Subtle romance.  PG-13 romance if you will.  The worlds are exquisite and the characters are outstanding.  At least for me.  I look forward to each book she comes out with because they are so different than what I usually read and because I know I will be meeting characters that will stay with me for a while after I’m done with the book.

Touch of Power is the first book in Maria’s newest series.  It’s essentially the story of Avry, a Healer.  There are eleven types of magic that can be gifted to the people in this world and Healing magic is one of them.  But right now, there is only one Healer left – and that’s Avry.  You see, there was a plague that hit a couple years past and it killed many people.  Ugly painful deaths too.  Healers were eventually blamed for the plague, even though Avry knows this isn’t true.  Because of their supposed part in the plague, all healers have been executed.  Avry has been in hiding…until now.

Since the mass disease hit, the Fifteen Realms have been a bit of a mess.  Many of the leaders died leaving power hungry people who want to rule over all the realms.  Ryne is one of the leaders who is believed to hold enough influence to stop these crazy people from taking over.  Unfortunately Ryne has the plague but has been sort of magically frozen so that the disease doesn’t kill him before someone who can heal him is found.  Kerrick has taken on the task of finding a Healer.  He has been feverishly seeking for two years and finally finds Avry but only one little hurdle stands in his way:  By the time he finds Avry, she’s in a dungeon awaiting execution.  See?  Just a little problem.

Avry is a fantastic heroine.  She is strong and is a survivor.  She does what she needs to do to survive without being heartless.  In fact, her caring character was one of the things that really drew me to her.  That and her little snarky mouth!  She is a very clever girl with a wit to match.

Kerrick.  What to say about Kerrick?  Maria’s heroes tend to be mysterious, intelligent, powerful and sexy.  But not in your face sexy.  I mean they don’t tend to be described as having bulging muscles or bulging other parts.  You are drawn to her heroes because they are a whole package and Kerrick definitely fits in this category.  He was wonderful.  How he fought his attraction to Avry, how he leads his men, his loyalty to his friends and to his cause…all of it.  He was a great read.

Tohon was one creepy dude.  He’s the kind of villain who is that special kind of crazy.  You know the type – he thinks he’s doing what is best for the world and he honestly thinks this because he has rationalized it in his head.  His twisted-up little head.  I am very curious to see where his character goes and where his actions and decisions will take the story since he is one of the characters that seems to be driving this series.

The sidekicks were amazing in this series, just as they are in Maria’s other Fantasy books.  They are as memorable as the main characters.  And yes, there is a sad scene that involves one of them and I may have cried a little.  And to make a reader tear up over a supporting character you’ve only just begun to get to know…that takes writing chops.

The action in this book is almost subtle in its nature.  It’s not in your face run run run – it’s almost psychological.  But don’t think that means you are not in for a ride.  After all, I started this review with “What.  A.  Ride.”  The whole time you are wondering what will happen?  Will they get caught?  Will the flowers eat them?  Oh damn, the flowers did eat them…  There was one point where I found myself thinking “okay, if she gets captured one more time it’s going to bother me…” but she didn’t so I didn’t get bothered.  Once the characters path became clear to them, especially Avry, the story became even more of a ride and it stayed that way until the very end.

The world is just plain neat in Touch of Power.  The magic and how it’s used yet not in your face, the plants, the wildlife…all of it really clever.  After reading so many stories set in dirty and almost futuristic cities, it’s nice to just escape into a place where it’s all about what your imagination can conjure up with the words the authors feeds me.  A fantastical journey that is as plain or as complicated as your mind lets it be.  In my case, I saw lush forests with beautiful yet deadly vegetation.  I loved the use of magic.  Again, like the action, almost subtle in its uses.

If you are a fan of Maria’s works, you have to read this book.  Heck, if you are a fan of pure fantasy tales, even though I have not read any other fantasy books by another author, I feel confident to say that you will enjoy this book.  The world is marvelous and the main characters are so charming.  You can’t help but cross your fingers and wish them well.  Well, except for Tohon.  Him, he’s just creepy.

5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“Belen stepped in the way.  ‘If any harm –‘

‘Comes to her, you’ll rip my arms out.  Got it,’ Kerrick said.

‘I’m serious,’ Belen said.

‘I know.  Do you really think I’d put her in danger?’

‘Not on purpose, but things happen that are beyond even your control.’

Kerrick gave him a tight smile.  ‘You mean I’m not omnipotent?’

‘You’re not even semi-potent.’”


“I studied the gaping hole that had been the man’s stomach.  Unlike some of the others, the cuts appeared to be from a blade and not teeth.  ‘From the extent and location of the damage, he would have fallen onto his back if attacked by an ufa.’  I examined the snow around the victim.  ‘The ufa wouldn’t have turned him over.’

‘Why not?’ Quain asked.

‘All the tasty parts are in the front.’

‘Disgusting.  Remind me not to ask any more questions.’”

Books in the Healer series –
Touch of Power
Scent of Magic (January 2013)
Taste of Death (January 2014)

P.S. Be sure to stop by tomorrow. Maria will be here with an interview and a giveaway!

  1. I see this book listed as a favourite on so many blogs but yours is the first review I have actually stopped to read. The 5 star rating caught my attention.

    I do love my romance and I do enjoy a good Paranormal/Urban Fantasy but I keep avoiding this book because as much as I really like a good fantasy read, I feel without the heated romance of an adult book (NOT erotica) I’d walk away wishing it was more. Like the Mercy series you recommended to me. I adore them but feel without the adult heat, it seems to be missing something.
    Still, it was a fabulous review you put together so I am still interested. Great job.

  2. I like how much you enjoyed it 🙂 I did too (even if some doubt it, lol). Though not a fan of her love interest since he hit her in the beginning

  3. I agree with the previous poster. I absolutely loved Kerrick but the smack in the beginning left me a little unsettled. I wish that was omitted, I just don’t like seeing female heroines allowing that type of behaviour to occur. She should have smacked him back! But other than that, I loved this book. I can see this being my favourite of her series and I don’t want to wait this long for the next one. Not fair! And I also teared up at the same part you are mentioning. I love how her characters are so well-developed that you feel so connected to them. Great review Julie, I was eagerly waiting to read what you thought about it! Especially since you were the one who so kindly pointed me in Maria V. Snyder’s direction to begin with.

    Lastly, is it just me or are there little white dots falling down the screen right now. At first I thought it was my vision but now I’m convinced they’re really there. Am I going crazy…

  4. OMIGOSH… they change direction depending on where my mouse points.

    Was this your husband’s doing????

  5. I’m so excited for this book. I love Snyder’s work. I rarely read straight fantasy, book her books still capture me the way urban fantasy and paranormal reads do. I don’t always like her male love interests, but I do like that Snyder isn’t afraid to make them complicated.

  6. Michelle – I know what you mean about worry about the lack of smut. For me it’s a nice change of pace and I don’t feel like I’m missing out by not seeing the characters ‘in action’. 😉

    blodeuedd – Yeah…you’re right about Kerrick hitting Avry. I had actually forgotten about that part because the rest of the book just sucked me in. But now that you mention it, not a fan of that either. I almost understand the why behind it, but still not a fan.

    Katya – I am so glad you enjoyed this book. And you’re right…the wait for the next book is loooong! And, um Katya, the ‘dots’ is snow. 😉

    Sara – I agree with you that Maria’s Fantasy books suck me in like UF usually does. And I also like how Maria is not afraid to take some risks with her characters. Keeps us on our toes too. 🙂

  7. Thanks for the fantastic review Julie!! I posted a link on my blog and also put a note about the interview and giveaway.

    I’d like to address the concern about Kerrick’s horrible behavior. And I agree – it’s terrible. Yet think about this… he spent the last two years searching all the fifteen realms for a healer. She’s the last one left and she not only refuses to heal his friend, who he believes can save their world, but she’s happy that he is sick and hopes he dies. Kerrick loses his temper big time – just snaps – a big mistake for sure. I don’t like my characters to be all shiny and perfect to start – I like them to make mistakes and learn as they go. I also believe in the power of forgivness and how one action/mistake should not define who you are. But that’s me 🙂

    BTW – I like the snowflakes! I only wish it was snowing outside.

  8. I really would like to discover this book and in the same time i’m afraid because it will be so long before the next book so if there is a high cliffhanger i will become crazy(and seeing the title of the last book i’m becoming afraid it will have a really bad ending and i so emotional….) and stil…i’m trying to win it where ever i can because i love the excerpt and review i saw… ( i’m too complicated)

  9. After considering it I can definitely agree that the smack made Kerrick seem more real and believable. And I definitely found myself forgiving him and really and truly rooting for that relationship to succeed as the book went on. I like the explanation you gave, Maria! (Omigosh crazy fan girl moment happening, it’s really her!)

  10. Oh this one sounds so good! I’ve just read her other series and I really enjoyed it! It’s always so great to have an unpredictable story. The characters sounds awesome. Great review, I will add it to my wishlist too.

  11. I loooove this book too. I know Kerrick was a bit of an a$$ on the beginning but his behavior was “kind” of understandable. I can’t wait to read the following installment.

  12. Maria – Thank you so much for stopping by and talking about the ‘Kerrick incident’. And thank you for chatting up the review and the interview. 🙂

    miki – Touch of Power ends really well. There is no cliffhanger at all. You wonder what will happen next but you are not left dangling and angry. It would be okay to read now even though the wait for the next book is long. 🙂

    Katya – I said it on Facebook and I’ll say it again here: You are too cute. 😉

    Melliane – I think you would like this one. 🙂

    BookaholicCat – I agree. ‘Kind of’ understandable. The next book should be good. 🙂

  13. Love your review Julie:) As for Kerrick I thought he didn’t seem sad enough at the end when he finds out what Avry did. Lol, maybe it was just me. Hopefully next book we can see more of their romance.

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