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 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.
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!
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 3 May 2013
I feel strange, being the first person to leave this book a 1-star review. I usually try to avoid this, but I also pride myself on being honest, and I'm afraid this is simply not a good book. Please bear in mind that this review is my personal opinion, however: as you can see, many other people have clearly enjoyed this book a lot.
I originally downloaded this book for free during an Amazon sale. For that I am grateful, as I would have been peeved if I had spent money on it. I was lured in by the high number of positive reviews, and was really looking forward to trying another fantasy series... sadly, I will not be getting any more of these.
My main complaints for this stem largely from the poor character development and predictable plot. The author has created an interesting world, but it feels strangely flat and underdeveloped. Sadly, so do most of the characters; at one point, one of the characters died (not uncommon in a world ravaged by plague and conflict) and even though I was sure it was a moment designed to provoke an emotional response, it failed to do so simply because the character involved was so one dimensional. Even the main character feels like more of a plot point than a person, and a lot of her decision and changes of heart feel forced and wooden. The romantic element of the story is one of the most predictable I have ever come across, having been rehashed in many other books in many other genres. Now, there's nothing wrong with reusing a winning formula- but it has to be done well, and sadly in this book it hasn't been. The same goes for a number of plot twists that were not in fact twists at all and could be seen from a mile away. There are also a number of historic parts to the story that feel fairly poorly thought out, as if they were included as an afterthought to justify some of the more irrational elements of behaviour exhibited by some of the characters. The last few chapters felt very rushed, as if the author felt she was running out of space and wanted to be done with it quickly. This is odd, because I found a fair part of the early story seemed to drag, and I feel it could have been wrapped up a bit more cleanly, possibly leaving room for some character development that did not revolve around sudden changes of opinion or contrived 'romantic' conflicts.
My other complaints are lesser, as they are things that I normally forgive if a story is engaging and entertaining. Most noticeably, there were a few references to things that felt jarring in a fantasy world (most noticeably Champagne, which is named after a region of France and hence, is unlikely to be found by that name in a world where France does not exist). There were also some spelling mistakes, but as I said, I would normally overlook that. In fact, in a book that is holding my attention, I probably wouldn't even have noticed them in the first place!
Overall, I would neither recommend this book to anyone else, nor consider spending money on any others in the series. It has left me completely cold, which is a real shame. I really was hoping that it would be a fun read.
I don't really want this entire review to be negative (it makes me feel mean), so I will say this: the author has had some nice ideas, and has made a good start at putting together an interesting setting. I hope this world develops and becomes more vibrant and engaging in future books... although I will not be there to see it. I also wish the author great success for the future. I can see from other reviews that they have quite a following, so they must be doing something right somewhere!
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 5 May 2014
Great cover. I bought all 3 while they were on a Kindle offer, then returned books 2 and 3 once I had read book 1. Dull and predictable characters with huge amounts of aimless galloping/traipsing around the countryside. A good opening chapter with an interesting concept, and then downhill from there. I struggled through. If you are even slightly unsure about the sample chapter, give up. It doesn't get any better.
on 6 October 2013
After reading Maria's Study series I thought I would give this book a go. The study series isn't my favourite trilogy but it was an entertaining fantasy romp. Touch of Power is pretty much the same. A young girl with a rare ability; her against the world. The premise itself was ok, the magical elements weren't really explained much which rather frustrated me.
Undecided if I will read the next one, maybe if it's on offer.
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.
on 21 June 2016
There was a lot I liked about this book, the plot was clear and we knew we were on an adventure right from the start. It was easy to read and while the characters could have used a little more depth and development, overall I liked them. The hook was set from early on in the story; the heroine, Avry, is journeying to (possibly) save the man Ryne. But doing so would kill her. That kept me reading wanting to know what would happen.
But I'm afraid the book was just spoiled by all the mistakes! By the end of the second chapter I had already come across 3 mistakes, words that shouldn't have been there, or the wrong word being used. The author really needs to find a new editor and proof reader because they have done a poor job. And one further annoyance was the continued use of the phrase 'a couple hours'; it should be 'a couple of hours', I know that's how they talk in the US but honestly this is literature, the editor should be picking up on these things!