Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fantasy Review - Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

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.... 

Touch of Power is the debut in a new YA fantasy series and I wanted to like it as I am normally a booster of most things written by Maria V. Snyder. And superficially I did.  It's an adventure that moves along well. An engaging lead character, a band of stalwart companions and a plethora of villains. But...  I had difficulty getting past the magical premise of Avry, a healer who takes on her patients illness/injury in order to heal them. Albeit she herself heals fast but not that fast. I know I am applying too much logic but really? Suffering mortal wounds, unimaginable levels of pain, significantly limited in the number of patients you can treat?  As a regular profession, I am not sure even a Mother Theresa would take this on as an acceptable destiny. This kind of magical healer in society would only be the one of last resort. Totally impractical.

If you can buy into the way Avry uses her abilities then the rest of the story flows easily enough. There are some interesting magical skills introduced through various characters, the ongoing banter between Avry and pretty much anyone else is fresh and entertaining. I found the world-building only so-so with a mostly stock feudal society and the usual scattering of kingdoms. The core quest, in this case a search for and curing of a Prince, at the eventual cost of the healers life played out with a few twists but the ultimate outcome was pretty much predictable.

Overall Touch of Power is a respectable quest adventure, if you don't share my reservations. I would more strongly recommend Snyder's Study or Glass series to readers new and interested in this writer.

Product Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780778313076 
  • Publisher: Harlequin 
  • Publication date: 12/20/2011 
  • Pages: 400 
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Series: Healer #1

Read an excerpt here.


  1. I think there's a Sherrilyn Kenyon character that does something similar, but it's been awhile since I've read those books so I can't remember for sure or who.

    I've been meaning to read Snyder's Study series for years and have yet to do so.

    1. Hey Jo I think I have seen similar abilities although I can't pinpoinr which books, but none as extreme as this. You will love the Study series, by far her best work.

  2. Hi SciFiGuy, you totally highlighted what I was thinking. I really couldn't imagine myself taking over the sicknesses from others.


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