As a fan of M. V. Snyder I was really excited to get my hands on the first book in her new 'Healing' series and was not disappointed!
Touch of Power introduces us to the Fifteen Realms, a world ruined by plague that now faces war as its surviving leaders fight over land and power. At the centre of the story is Avry, a healer from the realm of Khazan. As healers were blamed for the plague, Avry is ostracised and hunted, but when she is rescued from the guillotine by a band of men who want her to heal their friend, she begins an epic journey through the realms, uncovering the truth about her rescuers, their friend and the plague itself.
This summary doesn't really give the book justice - as fans of Snyder's 'Study' or 'Glass' series know, her stories are always full of twists, careful detail and most importantly interesting, well developed characters. I felt that a Touch of Power followed a similar formula to the 'Study' and 'Glass' series, with its strong female lead, epic journeys and a vivid, varied and often amusing supporting cast. Its a formula that works and with a whole new world to explore, the first in this series was just as exciting and 'un-put-downable'!
One of the best things about the story was the way in which Snyder introduces and builds her story world as we go along, we learn things as Avry does or as they become important, so there were no long explanations or history lessons, which gave the story excellent pace.
A great start to a new fantasy series - looking forward to the next book!
I really enjoy Snyder's books and 'Touch of Power' was no exception to this rule. Yes, they are a bit predictable (the romances can be seen coming a mile off, even if one isn't quite sure why certain people end up together) but no less enjoyable for it. I also like how you can't be sure that the main characters/their companians are going to survive/survive unscathed.
Avry of Kazan is a healer (she can take your injury into herself and heal it if it is not too severe, if it is, she dies). Normally this would mean a lifetime of hard work, respect and honour. Unfortunately a terrible plague has ravaged the 15 kingdoms and the healers are blamed for it. With a price on their heads they are hunted down and executed.
Avry, too, is caught, but is saved by a band of men who want her to heal Prince Ryne. But he is the same prince who helped the blame be placed on the healers. Avry doesn't believe she should help him (especially as the plague is one of the things a healer can only heal at the cost of their own life).
Cue adventures galore, misunderstandings aplenty and heroes you can cheer for and worry for. I'm very much looking forward to book 2!
I really enjoyed Maria Snyder's Study series, but was disappointed with her later Glass series. So I came to Touch of Power with some trepidation. To cut a long story short, I found it much better than Glass, although not as vibrant as Study. Although as the first in a series, it shows evidence of more mature world building, and I guess greater potential - if it can be fulfilled.
Avry is a magical healer, one of the very few remaining, in a world where, a few years earlier, a plague struck: one that the healers couldn't cure. The trick with healers is that they themselves heal very quickly, and they heal by taking on a persons injuries. But with a plague that kills healers, this will lead to considerable complications. Due to the circumstances in which the plague spread, the healers became hated and were hunted and killed. Avry has survived so far by running and hiding.
So when Avry is finally captured, she is rescued from execution by a guy who seems to dislike her, and is rude to her. What's more he represents someone who, it is gradually revealed, Avry knows, and strongly dislikes. If you've read Maria Snyder's previous books, you will know where this is going.
As seems inevitable in the first of a trilogy, we end with most of the themes of this series unresolved, but it's not unsatisfying, and certainly not a cliff hanger.
This book is going to appeal to the young adult market, and those who enjoy a strong female lead with a touch of romance. I am looking forward to the sequels; this doesn't yet make up for the disappointing Glass trilogy, but I have my hopes.
The book tells the story of Avry, a young woman who has the gift of healing. The world has been thrown into turmoil after a terrible plague and since someone needs to take the blame the finger has been pointed at the healers. Running away from certain imprisonment and death Avry keeps her distance from people until she makes a fatal mistake and heals a young girl. She is quickly arrested but is rescued by a group of men who want her to heal Prince Ryne, the only man who can bring order to the world.
Its a highly entertaining read, filled with bags of imagination and loads of humour. I must admit i'm a big Snyder fan. Admittedly i didn't much care for the last book in her Glass trilogy since i thought it was unneccesary and failed to finish it but she's back on track with this great book. I certainly smell another trilogy and i would highly recommend this book (and her Study trilogy) to anyone who enjoys engrossing and fun fantasy books with a delightful vein of humour running through them. Snyder is fast becoming known for fast-paced, highly creative books with strong female characters. Certainly a author to watch.
For the start of her third trilogy, Ms Synder sticks to what she knows best, a strong central female character, a bantering support cast and a tiny bit of romance.
The scenario here is a post plague fantasy world with Avry as the only surviving person with healing magic and as such she is a valuable commodity for both the forces of good and evil. Trouble is, she is not sure which side is which and she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.....
It has to be said that the author writes easy to read and page turning fantasy and she does have an engaging style. As a middle aged male I am never sure if this is what I should be enjoying or even if it is actually designed for Young Adults, it sits on that grey area that is hard to describe. On the plus side for me and any potential male readers, the romantic bits are very light thank Goodness.
But I have to admit I did like this, the pages flew by and I liked the scenario and the characters the author has placed within it.
on 8 October 2011
This is the first book by Maria V Snyder that I have read. It's quite a light read, which made it a nice change from some of the longer Fantasy books on the market, but at the same time this meant that it was missing some of the meat that these books have and as a result the world did not feel as fully realised.
I have given the book four stars because I feel that three is too low, but ultimately I would like to give it three and a half.
The main character Avry is very strong and independent without ramming it down your throat. I enjoyed the friction between her and the other characters. The pace with which her back story was revealed was really good and kept me hooked. I really enjoyed watching her change her mind from her initial point blank refusal to help, and only changing her mind on her own terms to boot.
My main problems with the book was that it was a bit predictable in places and at times everything was too neatly sorted out.
I will probably buy the next book in the series, but I am not in any hurry.
on 26 September 2011
After the slightly disappointing Storm Glass trilogy Maria Snyder makes a stonkingly good return to form, with this book - the start of her Healer trilogy.
Avry is the last remaining healer in a world that has been decimated by a seemingly unstoppable plague. Why is she the only remaining healer ? Well - the healers have been blamed for creating the plague, & in a remarkably short sighted way, the general populace have hunted down & executed healers as punishment for creating said plague (Or did they ?)
Now it's up to Avry to save the man responsible for putting a price on any healers head, & together with her band of guardians, find out what the dickens is going on in the Fifteen Realms !
There's adventure, deception, death, double dealing, an extremly creepy villain, and a soupcon of romance......I could not put this book down, & I can't wait for the second installment . Highly recommended.
on 1 May 2014
I don't like to be harsh. I have read this author's "Chronicles of Ixia" series and although again I felt it oddly written, the grammar didn't seem as annoying.
Maria V Snyder has created a fantasy world, roughly akin to medieval Earth in terms of technology. There is a badly explained magical system, with no clear information given as to why various types of mages exist or how they use, or have magic and why they are a certain type of mage.
As is often the case in fantasy, we go on a journey. This journey takes us through some of the 15 kingdoms. All used to live in relative harmony until the population was overwhelmed by a plague. Our Heroine is a healer, not fully trained as her Tutor died in the plague healing a victim. Healers take an injured persons illness, broken legs and punctured lungs, into themselves via touch. The healer then has to deal with the pain, the breaks the lacerations but heals more quickly than non-healers. Obviously this means one healer can basically heal one very injured person at a time. The story is told mainly in the first person and these parts seem to me to read like a long diary entry. Little character development or description and the language at time is more 21st century American than Fantasy Strange-world medieval. e.g. children are "kids", our heroine "Brainstorms some ideas".
Having selflessly contracted the plague herself by touching and removing it from a Prince, the only person in the world who didn't know this would be fatal to a healer is Kerrick, another main driver of the early plot. This despite the fact that we the reader know its common knowledge that the healers who have done this have all died horribly from it. Kerrick would have known, I don't care that the plot needed him to be the only adult to have missed this.
Another grating part of the book is that our now captive healer infected with this killer plague, but continues to heal severely wounded troops, taking into herself their ruptured spleens and fractured bones, add the plague and you get a sense that she's unlikely to be moving about, helping "Kids" escape from the bad guy and rescuing the good guy. I found that having set the rules in her book Maria just kept breaking them. Some writers over describe, wanting you to know everything, like Christopher Paolini in his Aragon books, but then there are others like Brandon Sanderson or Joe Abercrombie who use words sparingly but describe much. Maria V Snider has developed her own style, she uses few words to race through an event, but tells you very little.
You may have guessed by now, I was not a fan of her style, however 2 stars because the idea and the plot in general were engaging.
Having just finished and reviewed several books which I scored 5/5, maybe that is reflecting on this book unfairly. It's a quick and easy read. Will I read the rest of the series? No!
on 26 March 2013
~~~~~~~~~~~~~POSSIBLE SPOILERS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This is the first time I have ever read a book by this author. The second book is in the kindle sale at the moment and i thought it sounded interesting - strong female lead, a healer and not too much romance. perfect. I liked it well enough, since I also bought the second book and have read them both. enough people have reviewed the premise of this book.
so why didn't i like it? it rumbles on well enough, there's some action and some quiet bits - thought it was brave of the author to have a man hit a woman and brutalize her the way he would do a man, and i liked the way Avry's strong views about one of the characters was slowly eroded. what i dont like is all the modern speech in this book. the way she "zaps" people. "Poppa bear" was a special dislike of mine, I was actually cringing each time I read it. "the guys". the way Avry blithely trusts people with no reason to do so and gets herself into situations she needs to be rescued from.
I also thought it was ridiculous that this girl had had 6 months out of 4 years worth of healer training but she never comes up against a situation she can't handle or someone she can't heal.
But what absolutely got my goat most of all is the lack of any emotion in this book. i can't remember any actual proper descriptions of fraught or emotional situations (I'm not saying there weren't any, its just that they were so devoid of proper, stirring description that i can't remember them), like when the characters think someone has died or is missing or don't know what has happened to them. the author mentions how worried avry is, but when that person turns up again its like "oh, you're back are you? righto....lets get going" and off they go again. It just doesnt ring true. they are travelling for weeks on end covering hundreds of miles, and yet they have a never ending supply of stew every night and they never have any of the problems that you might expect from travelling in a group through difficult terrain. they just set off, they travel, they get there. Oh...also the numbers didn't add up for me. there are enough people in the 15 realms for 6 million to due, but 40 golds is an astronomical sum of money. I don't know why i dont like this - when I read a fantasy novel i don't want to read the word millions. it just seems to modern and jars me out of the story i should be immersed in, like another reviewer has said
there was just far too much i found irritating about this book to just enjoy it. i wanted to know what happened so I bought the second book but i really did weigh it up against whether i could bear to read any more modernisms, americanisms and "Poppa Bear"isms. I don't care enough about the characters to read the third book when it comes out.
on 1 January 2013
Wow. Fantastic fantasy book. Some wonderful ideas, I love the story behind the death lilys. Avert is a great fantasy character, strong but not over the top, witty but not cocky, her humanity is not hidden away, brave but not reckless. I get a great sense of her tiredness to keep running at the start. She wanted to rest, tired of being hunted, exhausted with nothing to live for since she is unable to find any of her family, almost resign to the fact the plague has taken them, so no wonder she has no strength left to fight, apart from making sarcastic remarks.
The characters were great, though a few blended together such as Quain and Loren. But the ones that standed out were Belen, Avery and Kerrick. This does go down the cliche route in the love plot, girl falls for jerk/embroiled in a triangle. But a triangle is added later where an even bigger jerk enters the picture which makes the first jerk look like prince charming. Slightly different. I'm not a great supporter of the love interest at first but he kind of redeems himself but not enough. Hopefully, in the second book he can win me over completely.
There is a really interesting plot unfolding of the world, though it takes a while to get going but compelling when it does. There's non-stop action, so I didn't find any boring bits.
Writing is easy to get into, flows nicely too. Though, there are parts near the end that I had to re-read to makes sense, and I didn't like it when there were bits of Avery's planning that we were shut off to and no longer privy too, I found it jarring especially as the book is in first person perspective.