Monday, December 19, 2011

Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Pages:  394
Release Date:  December 20th, 2011
Date Read:  2011, December 1st - 15th
Received: NetGalley
Rating:  4/5 stars
Recommended to:  17+

Avry is hunted, a criminal on the run. Except, she's done nothing wrong. She is a healer, a woman who can take sickness onto herself, completely removing it from its host.  She and her kind are on the run, hunted for something Avry is sure they didn't do.  After being caught and almost killed, she is rescued by a band of men who want her healing powers for themselves to save an old friend.  As they begin their journey through the forest, hiding from mercenaries and soldiers, encountering magicians of all kinds, Avry discovers more about what happened during the plague when she was separated from her family.  She also suspects the men - Kerrick, Belen, Flinn, and the others - have more to their request than meets the eye.  And with armies rising on all sides, kings being overthrown, and the world going hungry, Avry, Kerrick and the other men may have to sacrifice more than they bargained for the well-being of all.

I really enjoyed this book!  Based on rave reviews, I hoped for something a bit more...refined.  But I was pleased with the end result!

My few issues:
Everything (especially in the first half) felt a bit too fast.  Not the pace of the story - the actual events.  They happened in the blink of an eye.  I felt like this took away from the emotion and depth of the story.  Toward the middle, one character dies and everyone's sad - and then suddenly it seems as thought they've gotten over it.  I'm sorry, I felt it needed a bit more time to dwell on things.

Which leads me to the writing.  It was...ok.  There were some good descriptions, but for the most part the writing was quick and short-sentenced, leaving very little room for anything more than sparse description.  For the most part this wasn't a bad thing; actually, I would say a lot of the quickness to it came from Avry's character, who is a to-the-point kind of girl.  The rest of it, however, made me think the word "lazy" more than once.

Oh, and what was with the dialogue?  I mean, it wasn't terrible, but it felt weird...out of place.  It had some spunk to it, and made me laugh with all the funny sarcasm and bantering, but I guess it was one of those things I was expecting to be refined.  It was super slang-y.

I loved a lot of these characters; others, I just didn't get.  Avry, Kerrick, Jael, Daneen, Winter, Sepp, Flea, Ryne, and a few others all sat well with me.  They were fun to read about and created a great atmosphere.

However, Quinn and Vain (for the first half), Belen, Tohon, and so on - they fell short.  They were either cheesy formula characters or hard to envision.  I wanted to like Belen so badly, and I did to some extent, but he just wasn't believable.
And, I must say, what was with Tohon?  Womanizer with a slightly feminine edge?  Really??  (At least, that's how I imagined him...)  I was slightly...confused.  But whatever.  Getting passed that, I did think he was a great bad guy, and his plans made me grimace in pain.  He's a scary person! :/

Avry herself - so great.  Kicks some butt; doesn't let herself be taken by emotion, but is capable of loving greatly; has an incredible gift and the heart to bestow it upon others; she is totally relatable.  I felt like a friend, for sure.  Not a bestie, but definitely a friend.

Kerrick - phew!  What a jerk - at first.  My gosh I wanted to slap his face SO many times.  But by the, I loved him.  He'd been so hurt, you can't really blame him.  I seriously loved every moment with him - good and bad!

Boy, do I love a slow-moving romance.  One that takes months of hardships and getting to know one another.  One that creates beautiful tension.  One that heals broken hearts.  One like this.  Avry and Kerrick's romance made me sooo happy.  Every step of the way I rooted for them to be together.  I loved their pride-fights, their cold glares, their working together - and their warm embraces.  it was so amazing - gave me butterflies and made my eyes prickle with tears.

The rest of the story, despite its slightly too-fast pace, was very fun and intense and crazy.  Just crazy.  Fascinating action and really neat ideas about magicians and magic in general.  The death and peace lilies were so original and I hope there's more about them in the second book!

Avry's journey definitely awed me.  Her purpose, her need to heal this man she'd never met.  She affect she would have on the kingdoms.  Really, really neat!

It sparked my imagination - and my emotions.  A fun read in a fascinating fantasy world!

Language scattered throughout.  (B**t**d, d**n, and a few others.)  Some sensual comments/scenes, especially involving Tohon.  There are a few details.  He uses magic to make her desire him - she expresses that "emotional Avry" wants things that are quite awkward (she says a few times what she wants and how he has her at his mercy).  Besides that - Kerrick and Avry kiss and have sex toward the end of the book.  Literally 3 paragraphs cover this scene (in future pages, it's referenced that they sleep together multiple times in the following days) but even in such a small amount a lot is said.  A few physical details, but mainly emotional.  Kind of unrealistic, as she is (spoiler!) dog sick with the plague at the time.  Recommended 17+

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