Saturday, January 19, 2013
Touch of Power, by Maria V. Snyder
Release date: December 20th 2011
Published by: Mira
Genre: YA fantasy
Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads
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....
It's incredibly surprising how much a person's taste can change over the years. When I first read Touch of Power (last year, I believe) I thought the storyline was boring, the main character was a brat, and the romance was ridiculous. After seeing so many positive reviews and reading the synopsis yet again, I realized that maybe - just maybe - if I re-read it, I might actually like it. And so, here I am: writing a 4-star review on Touch of Power.
What pushed me away from this novel a year ago was exactly what drew me in this time - the main character, Avry. She's one of those main characters that you read about and think "Hell, I could be her best friend if she were real". I just loved her personality, and her narration. Avry was a very consistent character - young, yet not immature. She thought things through before she acted, and even though she made a lot of mistakes, she tried to fix them as better as she could (which is rare in YA fiction these days). Avry is special, since she's the last Healer alive, and while that could quickly turn her into a Mary Sue, it just didn't happen. Maria V. Snyder made an excellent job at creating solid characters.
In fact, now that I think about it, I pretty much love every single character in this book. There isn't a lot of background regarding each of the secondary characters (especially Kerrick and his gentlemen), but since this is the first book in the series, I understood the need to introduce the world and the characters without dumping a lot of info on the readers. What I didn't understand, however, is why the characters speak as if they were from my world. Things like "virus", "syringes" and "president" just don't fit well in a fantasy book, and while I can see that she wanted to make her dialogues easy to read and flow, it just wasn't very believable. Half the time, it felt like Avry could really be my best friend, because she talked just like I do. That's probably my only problem with this novel. The modern language put me out of what was going on sometimes.
Apart from that, the plot is really good, with a few twists here and there to make things interesting, and the romance is slow, and delicious to read. You can't even notice how much a certain character grows on you until you realize that you're already in love with him, just like Avry, and I really like that. Maria V. Snyder certainly knows how to develop a romance without making it look like insta-love. The ending was a bit too rushed for me, but left me wanting more, so I guess that's why it was done this way.
Overall, Touch of Power is a great fantasy book if you're looking for a great storyline, consistent characters, and a well-developed romance. I'm glad I decided to give this novel another chance - otherwise, I would've missed this incredible story. Just a tip, though: ignore the way the author uses modern English in her dialogues... that's the only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars - it really can put you out of the story if you pay too much attention to it ;)