Rummanah Aasi
 I absolutely loved Maria V. Snyder's Study series. It made my favorite list of books in 2010. I thought the series had a great combination of intrigue, fantasy, and romance with a great cast of characters. It's definitely a series that I've been recommending nonstop after finishing it. When I heard that Maria was going to do a new series, I was very excited to read it. I really enjoyed reading the first book in the Healer series called Touch of Power for the most part, but did have a few issues with it. Many thanks to Mira and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.

Description (from Goodreads): Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs 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 Fifteen Realms, 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...

Review: Touch of Power is a promising start to the Healer series. Snyder develops an intricate and intriguing world where the possession of magic abilities comes with a double edged sword, it may allow you to survive but it might also put you on the death list. I thought the world building was easy to understand and it didn't take me long to get immersed into the story. I loved how the concept of a magical ability, the potential abuse of power, and ethics play a role amongst all of the characters.
  Avry is another strong heroine created by Snyder. While I didn't like her as much as I liked Yelena from the Study series, she did hold her own. Avry was smart, stubborn, funny, and always had good intentions at heart though her envisioned plans didn't always work as she wanted them to. She also has the ability to heal, which makes her a very special commodity for those seeking the power of the throne. Avry uses her ability with discretion, which I think sets her up quite nicely for many complex questions as the series continues. I'm curious as to whether Avry will be in danger of taking advantage of her own power. Even though Avry had these strengths, she did come off as being a bit dense sometimes. There were times when I shook my head in amazement and said aloud "Really, that wasn't a rhetorical question?" when she asked stupid questions or didn't understand what was going around her. I couldn't help but wondered how in the world did she survive without being found for many years. 
  As for Kerrick, the male lead in the story, I didn't really care for him. He comes off as a complete jerk. He treats Avry awfully and cruelly when she refuses to obey his command. While he may have gotten the brooding, distant look right, I didn't fall for him at all. Actually, I kept waiting to see if I could just even trust or stand just seeing him whenever he popped on the page. Though he does seem to change (I'm still debating this), I couldn't negate his earlier behavior nor do I think we are suppose to.
 My issues with Kerrick dampened the romance aspect of the book for me. I didn't see the chemistry between him and Avry at all. I'm not fully convinced that they are meant to be with one another, especially when Kerrick's history is revealed. It almost seems both Avry and Kerrick are rebounds to one another.
  While I did have some issues with the main leads, I absolutely loved the secondary characters that make up Kerrick's unit and band of family. Each of these character brings warmth and humor especially when the story turned dark whenever the aftermath of the plague was discussed. In their own way, they dote on Avry and replace the hole in her heart of not having a family to return to after the spread of the plague. In addition to these great characters, there is also the deliciously evil villain who can easily make your skin crawl and reminded me a lot like Klaus from the Vampire Diaries.
 The pacing of Touch of Power is quite good. There is a balance between action and dialogue, never making the reader bored. We are given answers to questions, but more questions arise as we move forward in the plot. There were a few twists to the story that I predicted ahead of time, but there were others that I didn't see at all. To be honest, it took me a while to understand why the book was written in our language and didn't really ring of the fictional medieval setting but I got over it as I got swept away by the characters and the story. All in all, Touch of Power is an enjoyable read and I look forward to seeing what happens next to Avry.   

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is PG-13 language, fantasy violence, an allusion to sex, and a few disturbing images. Though marketed to adults, I think the book is a great crossover to YA (recommended for Grades 9 and up).

If you like this book try: The Shifter by Janice Hardy, the Study series by Maria V. Snyder, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fire by Kristin Cashore
7 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    Hm. I'm torn on Kerrick. Sometimes, for reasons I don't fully comprehend myself, the whole "arrogant jerk" thing works for me. That being said though, I don't like that Kerrick treats her cruelly, cruelty never appeals to me, so I'll be interested to see how I feel about him when I read this one. Glad the world building is easy to understand and the secondary characters rock:)

  2. Nat Says:

    I love a strong female lead, and agree with you that arrogant jerks kill the romance in a book for me. I have never read this author but have heard great things about her.

  3. Ack! I don't think this is a romance I could work with. Sometimes rebound relationships are at least fun to read about, but the missing chemistry would take away that fun.

  4. I loved this as much, if not more than her other books. I thought it was really well done. I loved the world. Although Kerrick was obnoxious for most of the book, he kind of grew on me in the end. I can't wait to see where Maria takes this!

    Karis @YA Litwit

  5. Erin W. Says:

    Great review! I love every single book of Snyder's and while this didn't beat my favourite series Poison Study, but it came pretty close to it.

  6. Small Review Says:

    Oooh I am so picturing Klaus when I read the sequel! Thank you for that visual :)

    I had the same issues with Kerrick. I really, really wanted to fall for him, and I did a little toward the end, but it was very forced. I didn't consider the possibility that things won't work out between them though. I hope you're right! I want a better, less jerkface romantic lead.

  7. I love fantasy so it's weird that I still haven't read the Poison Study series or this one despite most people loving Maria Snyder's books. *makes note to self to change this*

    It stinks that the romantic lead is a jerk. Maybe he'll surprise you in the next book, Rummanah. The secondary characters sound awesome though and a guy who resembles Klaus should make things interesting.

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