Touch of Power
Written by: Maria V. Snyder
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 princeleader 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…
I really love Maria V. Snyder. First of all, she’s gorgeous. Second of all, she’s got a way of creating rich and vivid worlds that you want to visit so much. Even when they are greatly imperfect.
This book is classic Maria. Rich fantasy world: Check. Political intrigue: Check. Interesting female main character: Check. Female main character that realizes she’s greatly flawed and is really only making it through the day by sheer dumb luck: Check. Character that seems evil at first but then you aren’t so sure of: Check.
The premise: There are rare people born with an innate gift of healing. It’s as much a part of their being as their eye colour and fingerprint. It’s who they are and it is what they do. And they are an endangered species.
The book starts several years after a devastating plague sweeps across the world. As is such the case in our world rife with health-care complaints, the Healers carried much of the blame for the repercussions of the plague. Now hunted, healers must hide who they are and fight against their very nature to avoid healing those in need of assistance.
I’m a fan of disaster stories and I’ll admit to reading and watching plague-centric things. This is the first time I’ve really seen it used as the background for a fantasy novel in the way that Maria explored. No surprise, I liked it!
I really enjoyed the twists and turns the story took. Little went the way one might expect after reading the jacket blurb, however, that’s what I find so great about Maria V. Snyder. We expect a few things from her, however she still keeps us guessing!
In fact, that’s one of the things Maria does best. She has taken the craft of creating a character that you just can’t peg. Are they evil? Are they good? Are they good and corrupted? Evil and redeemed? Are they good people doing the hard things and people criticize them? No character is truly good or bad in her novels. Personally, I like those “chaotic” characters because I find them the most interesting.
For those that are true fans of Snyder’s, the book holds several easter eggs for your fan-girl and fan-boy enjoyment. Because I’m mean, I’m not telling you what. You need to read and see what you find!
I picked this book up at Balticon and made sure I got my autograph, then proceeded to blow through the book in a day. Warning: You won’t want to put it down. Make sure you have some sort of minion to bring you snacks and a lemonade or two. Don’t even bother looking for a bookmark, you won’t use one.
Recommendation: You haven’t already read this book? REPENT! Run, do not walk, to your nearest avenue of obtaining books and get this one. Then plan to do nothing for the rest of the day but sit somewhere comfy and read.
Which sounds like a good thing to do right now. Where’s my current book?