Audiobook Junkie, Sporadic book blogger, occasional master chef, soccer mom, wearer of pajamas, teller of tales, cool aunt, beloved wife, and loyal friend.
First of all, let me say that I love Maria V. Snyder's exceptional use of details and wonderful world building. I am such a huge fan of her Study series and I was thrilled to read and review the first book of her new "Healer" series.
Touch of Power features a richly detailed high fantasy world which has been decimated by plague and the blame has been placed on the shoulders of the Healers who are routinely hunted and killed. Avry, a young healer, has been on the run for what seems like ages. Forced to move from town to town, never setting down roots, and never letting anyone get too close. When Avry makes the mistake of healing a sick child, she finds herself arrested and sentenced to die. The night before her scheduled date with the guillotine, a rag tag group of rescuers break her out, saving her life only to try to force her to heal their friend, a potential political rival to the powers that be. With the world in such a state of political upheaval, it seems that everyone who can gather an army can proclaim themselves a ruler. Chaos and lawlessness is the rule of the day, and Avry believes that the man they wish her to heal is the main cause of all of the problems.
While I found the pacing to be sometimes tediously slow, I thoroughly enjoyed many of the details, such as the man eating Death-lilies. I wouldn't like to stumble upon one of them in a forest!! The many different types of magic were also fascinating. For some reason, I found the characterization in Touch of Power to be the weakest of all of Snyder's books. However, this could simply be because of all of the world building and plot development necessary to set up this series. I sometimes find this to be the case with the first book in a high fantasy series. There are so many details that need to be covered, world, plot, magic systems, and other minutia, that the characters sometimes fall flat. With that being said, I still LIKED Touch of Power, it simply wasn't one of my favorites. I will absolutely read the next in this series because I love Maria V. Snyder's writing and I'm sure this series will only get better!
I loved that Touch of Power did not end on a cliffhanger. This story could stand on its own, leaving those details left unknown up to the readers' imagination. I can't wait to see where the author takes this story in the next installment in the series. I would recommend this to fans of Maria V. Snyder and those who enjoy YA high fantasy.