I received this book for free from Harlequin Teen Australia in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Written by Maria V. Snyder
Published December, 2011 by Mira
Provided by: Harlequin Teen Australia
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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 fantastic journey! Touch of Power was a book I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. Solid world-building, interesting magic and myth and loveable characters made this book an instant favourite! Whether you’re a new or returning reader of Maria V. Snyder’s, you’re sure to enjoy the first book in her latest series!
“The heart is a strange beast and not ruled by logic.”
I want to start by saying that I was absolutely THRILLED when an ARC of Touch of Power arrived in the mail thanks to the lovely people at Harlequin Teen. I featured this title only recently as my Waiting on Wednesday and I couldn’t wait to read it. With my previous reads out of the way, I decided to jump right in. I couldn’t be more ecstatic about the story I found within the pages. Quite simply – wow! I now know why Maria V. Snyder is such a highly regarded fantasy-genre author!
I’ve mentioned before that I’ve only read the first in Maria’s Inside series. While I really loved that book, Touch of Power outdid it many times over. What do I gush about first? The world-building? The characters? The plot and it’s many little nooks and niches? I just don’t know!
The world-building? Excellent! I must say that I LOVE when I open up a book and it has a map inside of the lands and kingdoms featured in the story. Touch of Power had one in the first few pages, and I immediately knew it was going to be a good read. That being said, I had an almost obsessive urge to flip back to the map everytime Avery or her friends mentioned their travel route or the rule of a kingdom. I love you, map!
Maria V. Snyder fleshed out the world of the Fifteen Realms beautifully. There was so much danger, so much intrigue… so much magic! I especially loved that she somehow managed to make the use of the word ‘magicians’ super cool again. It’s something that supernatural/fantasy authors are kind of avoiding these days – preferring to use these alternative words, instead of the classic ‘wizard’ or the like. ‘Magician’ was one I hadn’t heard in a while and I really loved the use of both the name and all that came with it in this story especially. I can’t wait to learn more about the different powers and the surviving magic-wielders.
In particular, I found the inclusion of the Death and Peace lillies a standout addition to the story. There’s so much mystery there behind their existence, and they add a new ethereal layer to the world Maria has created. I loved how she managed to tie in so much plot – all interwoven in different levels – with the world, the characters and the history of everything. It was a fictional world that worked like a perfectly-oiled machine! Everything worked in harmony with each other and it was just so refreshing!
Avery was a pretty fantastic leading lady, too. I really had fun being taken along on her adventure! Kerrick rubbed me the wrong way SO MUCH at the beginning, but I gradually warmed up to him – and the rest of the gang. Flea was a particular favourite of mine, and I adored how Avery took him under her wing. I also appreciated that Avery was 20 years old, instead of some young, naive teenager. The rest of the gang (other than Flea) were well in their mid-twenties and up. As a YA reader, it gave me a break from the usual hormonal nonsense and I loved the reprieve. Avery is also a strong-willed character, one you can cheer on the whole way through.
As for the plot, Touch of Power had multitudes of it! There’s the main arc – Avery and the gang’s quest to find Prince Ryne and heal him – but there continuous little ‘sidetrips’ that form bonds between the characters, reveal more of the world, open old wounds, create new opportunities and introduce new allies and villains. It’s an enjoyable adventure that I simply couldn’t put down.
“Oh, you made an impression. Like a stone caught in my boot.”
Despite it’s 400-page count, I was able to read Touch of Power quite quickly! I loved delving back into Avery’s world, and found myself whizzing through the book so quickly. Before I knew it, another 100 pages had passed and I’d become even more involved in the story. There’s also some great banter and comedy, which is never unwelcome.
I can’t wait to get my hands on a finished copy of this book! The cover is to die for, and after reading it I can fully appreciate its significance. There is another book coming out in the series, Scent of Magic, and I CANNOT wait! Put Touch of Power on your reading list right now if you’re a fan of fantasy adventures and solid world-building!
Readers who love Maria’s previous work will devour Touch of Magic. I highly recommend this one if you’re new to her work – and love fantasy stories that are heavy with adventure!