Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: December 20, 2011
Series: Healer #1
Links: Amazon | Goodreads
Source: NetGalley
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....
I loved Maria V. Snyder's Poison Study and was so excited to see her put out another high fantasy ya/adult crossover book. About a healer! I have a weakness for stuff about healers.

Avry is an awesome character. Aside from having healing powers (!!!), she is brave, clever, and strong-willed. Her magical abilities force her to be self-sacrificing, but she isn't so selfless that she doesn't also value her own worth. Kerrick is also pretty great, though he does have a couple of low moments. These moments make him human. And he experiences some growth in the book as far as his demeanor is concerned. There is also an amazing cast of secondary characters. Belen is my favorite, but I love them all. Their enemies are a range of types, from mercenaries to political opposition to demented assholes. Tohon is particularly vile. He's great if you love (or love to hate) villains that give you the skeevies.

The plot involves travel, but isn't hampered by lulls in pacing the way that books containing a great deal of traveling sometimes are. Snyder includes a number of things that keep the protagonists' trip quite interesting, and they're usually being hunted so there is a pressing sense of urgency throughout the journey. The pacing is steady, and it is one of those books that I just didn't want to put down. I had to force myself to stop reading in order to get some sleep. The setting is done well. It is easy for the reader to fall into this world and get a sense of its landscapes and the politics and turmoils that have befallen it. There are some things that make it distinctly unique, such as lilies that eat people and some dangerous beasts. The magic system isn't anything particularly new, but it is solid and pretty detailed.

There are some similarities between Touch of Power and Poison Study, but it doesn't feel like a reboot or anything because Touch of Power is still very different than Poison Study as well. There is the whole guy needs girl to help his friend thing. Avry is educated in some useful skills, which is something that I always like to see in a story - learning. Some of the characters do share some traits with those from Poison Study, but not in a way that makes them carbon copies. There's nobody who can effectively take the place of Janco, but there are moments when the group takes part in some banter that reminded me of Janco and made me miss him. So I think that is a good thing. Also, it made me want to reread the Study series and continue on with all of her other books, most of which I have but have yet to read.

I really loved this book. There are some things that are perhaps not perfect, but it is wholly enjoyable and unputdownable. If you like Maria V. Snyder's other stuff, then I think that you will love this one as well. I'd recommend it to fans of her other works and anyone who likes high fantasy, healers, and ya/adult crossover.


  1. I can't wait to read this! I haven't read any of Snyder's other books, but this one sounds really good :)

  2. Man, I absolutely LOVED this book!! I want to keep my ARC for myself, but I'll probably, begrudgingly, send it along. And then ache over the fact that I don't have the book, until I cave and buy the finished copy.

    And Belen!!! What a hunk. Haha, well he's just adorable anyway. And man, Avry is such an inspired heroine~~ Never before have I even come across a YA with a 20 year old protagonist - it's freaking awesome! This was my first Snyder book, and only great writers can go on about the journey and make it page-turning and interesting! (Kristin Cashore, I include you!)

    *is seeing stars at the moment* Phwrewrr.

  3. Glad to see another positive review of this book, because I was so, so happy to finally have a new series to take over after Poison Study!!:)

  4. I totally loved this as well - I'm always afraid to read a review and find someone not like it! Her Glass series is NOT as good as the Study series though sadly :( Opal just isn't Yelena and the whole trilogy is much more serious and somber without the Power twins around.

  5. This book just sounds amazing! I have Poison Study (I've had it for AGES!) and need to read it like NOW! Seems like most everyone is loving this book though and I love high fantasy!

  6. haha love the demented assholes line! I loved Touch of Power and can't wait for more! I love Janco too and really hope that maybe one day Maria will create a spin off series with him as the lead... I doubt it but I think it would be awesome!

    Great Review!

  7. I love Snyder's books, so I can't wait to start reading this one. I tend to like travel in books, 'specially when the author puts interesting anecdotes in the story.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed this book! Gives me hope that I will too.

  8. I love the sound of this book so, so, so much. It sounds like an awesome read and the cover is beautiful!


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