Touch of Power by Maria Snyder

Just finished reading Touch of Power by Maria Snyder which introduces us to a new world and characters.   Touch of Power introduces us to the Fifteen Realms and brings to us Avry, raised in Kazan and a healer.  Just as Kazan was once prosperous, healers were once greatly revered but the plague changed all of that.  The disease ravaged the fifteen realms claiming many victims and was swiftly following by a rumour that the healers had in fact been the culprits for its start.  The Realms are now greatly depleted in terms of inhabitants and are also torn with war as the remaining power bases struggle to come out as top dog.

Avry has spent the last three years stealing from one town to the next, trying to hide her abilities and usually failing as she feels compelled to help some desperately ill person.  This is actually how the book starts, a healing, swiftly followed by Avry’s capture and pending execution and then her rescue by a band of characters who have a different scheme in mind. Ironicially it appears as though Healer may be the only healer now remaining since their persecution and so her fortune seems to be changing in that she’s suddenly become a desirable asset to have.

I enjoy Maria Snyder’s writing.  She once again brings us a new world filled with a range of different characters, landscapes and magical possibilities.  The reading is easy, fairly fast paced and not filled with huge chunks of overly descriptive world building or back history.  The characters are well written and you gradually learn about them as the story progresses.  There’s a lot of imagination going on here and plenty more to discover in the future series which this one plays in to quite nicely.  We have many magical abilities – I think about 15? although we’re only introduced to about four here.  Obviously we learn a good deal about Avry’s ability to heal which basically lends her the power to take on a person’s illness or injury which she can recover from at a greatly increased pace.  Coupled with this ability is the strange phenomenon of the Lilys – plants that seem to be carnivorous and filled with deadly venom.  Well, there are two types of Lily, Peace and Death and Avry seems to have some sort of connection which remains to be explored.

I liked the characters –  the ‘baddie’ is a royal pain – patronising and a bit sadistic.  We have Kerrick who you can’t help liking, he’s also a mage, connected to the earth and forest and able to blend into the plants and trees.  Apparently he smells like fresh cut grass and sunshine and in spite of his grumpy demeanour you can’t help knowing that he’s a bit gorgeous and you also just know that the two of them will become romantically linked.  What I like about the romance is it’s a slow burner.  Certainly not love at first sight!

If I was going to level any criticisms I would say that this book will probably feel very ‘familiar’ to fans of the Study series.  The world is very similar, the landscape and even the fact that there are magical abilities.  The other thing is that maybe MS needs to get a bit more hardened to letting some of her characters go – particularly looking at some of the circumstances and overwhelming odds that they sometimes face.  It would make it more realistic.  In actual fact we do lose one of the characters from this story but I think if you were to look critically you would say that it was obvious.  It’s not that I particularly like to lose characters that I’ve become attached to just that sometimes it feels improbable given the situations they find themselves in.  I suppose it helps having a healer in the midst of the pack who can help them to recover from any injuries sustained, but still…

Anyway, I really liked joining Avry and Kerrick and will look forward to picking up their story in the next instalment.

Touch of Power

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2 Responses to “Touch of Power by Maria Snyder”

  1. TBM

    Another author I’m not familiar with. The cover is more appealing than my Foundation covers 🙂

  2. lynnsbooks

    Oh! My Foundation covers were totally dreadful but I guess they’ve taught me that lesson about not judging a book by it’s cover! I think Maria Snyder is less well known than she deserves. I enjoyed her Study series of books. I would say that her books are primarily YA but they’re still pretty enjoyable and fairly quick to read so I quite like them as an in-between book because they’re a bit more chilled.
    Lynn 😀

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