Touch of Power (Healer Series #1)

Touch of Power (Healer Series #1)

by Maria V. Snyder

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Overview

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs 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 Fifteen Realms, 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….

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780778313076
Publisher: MIRA Books
Publication date: 12/27/2011
Series: The Healer Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 305,530
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Maria V. Snyder is the New York Times bestselling author of the Study series, the Glass series, the Healer series, Inside Out, and Outside In. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she earned a Bachelors of Science degree in Meteorology from Penn State and a Master of Arts degree in fiction writing from Seton Hill University. Unable to part ways with Seton Hill, Maria is currently a teacher and mentor for the MFA program. Find her on the Web at MariaVSnyder.com.

Read an Excerpt

The little girl wouldn't stop crying. I didn't blame her. She was dying, after all. Her lungs were so full of fluid she'd drown in another few hours. Tossing and turning on my thin mattress, I listened to her cries as they sawed through the floorboards and through my heart, cutting it in two.

One piece pleaded for me to save her, urging me to heal the girl with the bright smile and ginger curls. The other side pulsed a warning beat. Her family would thank me by turning me in to the town watch. I'd be hanged as a war criminal. No trial needed.

The horrors from the dark years of the plague were still fresh in the survivors' minds. They considered those times a war. A war that had been started by healers, who then spread the deadly disease, and refused to heal it.

Of course it was utter nonsense. We couldn't heal the plague. And we didn't start it. But in the midst of the chaos, no one listened to reason. Someone had to be blamed. Right?

The girl's screams pierced my heart. I couldn't stand it any longer. Three years on the run. Three years of hiding. Three terrible years full of fear and loneliness. For what? My life? Yes, I live and breathe and exist. Nothing else.

Flinging my blankets off, I hurried downstairs. I didn't need to change since I would never sleep in nightclothes or without my boots on. When you were on the run, the possibility of being surprised in the middle of the night was high. There was no time to waste when escaping, so I wore my black travel pants and black shirt to bed every night. The dark color ideal for blending into shadows.

Another trick of being on the run involved finding a second-floor room with both front and back doors and no skeletons. They were hard to find as most towns had burned the plague victims' homes in the misguided attempt to destroy the disease. And many victims died alone. My current hideout was above the family with the dying child.

I knocked on my downstairs neighbors' door loud enough for the sound to be heard over the child's wet wails. When it opened, her mother, Mavis, stared wordlessly at me. She held the two-year-old girl in her strong arms, and the knowledge that her child was dying shone in her brown eyes. Her pale skin clung to her gaunt face. She swayed with pure exhaustion.

Underneath the sheen of tears and red flush of fever, the little girl's skin had death's pale hue. In a few moments, she wouldn't have the breath to scream.

I held out my arms. "Mavis, go to sleep. I'll watch… Fawn." Finally, I remembered her name. Another rule to being on the run was to avoid getting close to anyone. No friends. But I needed to earn money, and I had to make a few acquaintances in order to keep up with the gossip. I'd stayed with Mavis's children on occasion, which helped with both.

Panicked, Mavis pulled Fawn closer to her.

"The rest of your family needs you, as well. You should rest before you collapse or get sick." She hesitated.

"I will wake you if anything changes. I promise."

Mavis's resistance crumpled and she handed me Fawn. Well beyond lucidity, the little girl didn't notice the change in the arms around her, but my magic sprang to life at the touch, pushing to be released from my core. Fawn's skin burned and her clothes were damp with sweat. I cradled Fawn as I sat in the big wooden rocking chair in the living room. The lantern burned low, casting a weak yellow light over the threadbare furniture. This family hadn't looted from their neighbors, which said much about them.

Next to the window I had a clear view of the street. A half-moon illuminated the burned ruins of buildings huddled along a dirt road. Rainwater had filled the holes and ruts. The plague had killed roughly six million people—two-thirds of the population—so there was no one left to attend to minor tasks like fixing the roads or clearing away the debris. The fact that this town.. Jaxton? Or was it Wola? They all blurred together. Either way, having a local government town watch, basic commerce, no piles of skeletons and a tiny—a few hundred at most—populace was more than many other towns could claim.

I rocked Fawn, humming a tune my mother had sung to me years ago. Tendrils of my magic seeped into Fawn's body. Her cries lost the hysterical edge.

Mavis watched us for a few minutes. Did she suspect? Would she take her child back? Instead, she heeded my advice and went to bed. Waiting for Mavis to fall into a deep sleep, I rocked and hummed. Once I was certain enough time had passed, I stopped the chair. Concentrating on the girl in my arms, I allowed my full power to flow into Fawn until she was saturated with it. The release of magic sent a ripple of contentment through me. This was my area of expertise. What I should be doing.

Then I drew it back into me, cleaning out the sickness inside Fawn. My lungs filled with fluid as hers drained. I broke into a fever as hers cooled.

She hiccupped a few times, then breathed in deep. Her body relaxed and she fell into an exhausted sleep.

The sickness nestled in my chest, causing me to suck in noisy wet breaths. I couldn't pull enough air into my lungs. Goose bumps raced across my skin as a sliver of fear touched my heart. I hadn't healed anyone this sick before. Would I be strong enough? Had I waited too long to help Fawn? My own cowardice would kill me. Fitting.

The effort to breathe consumed my energy. Black and white spots swirled in my vision as I fought to stay conscious. Even though my body healed ten times faster than a regular person's, I was quite aware that it might not be fast enough.

Luckily, this wasn't that time. The crushing tightness around my ribs eased a fraction. I concentrated on the simple act of breathing.

Mavis woke me in the morning. I had fallen asleep with Fawn still in my arms.

"How did you get her to sleep? She hasn't stopped crying in days," Mavis said.

Still groggy, I searched for a good explanation. "My tuneless humming must have bored her." My voice rasped with phlegm and set off a coughing fit.

"Uh-huh." She peered at me with a contemplative purse on her lips.

"Her fever broke last night," I tried between coughs.

Unconvinced, Mavis gently lifted Fawn and transferred the girl to her crib. "You should rest, as well. You look…"

I waved off her concern. "Nothing a couple of hours of sleep won't cure." But my legs betrayed me as I staggered to my feet. Moving with care, I headed toward the door.

When I reached for the knob, Mavis said, "Avry."

I froze and glanced over my shoulder, waiting for the accusation.

"Thank you."

Nodding, I hurried from the room. The climb to my place drained all my strength. I hacked up blood as the sweat poured from my body. I needed to grab my escape bag and leave town. Now. But when I bent to retrieve the knapsack from under the bed, a wave of dizziness overwhelmed me. Instead of fleeing, I collapsed on the floor.

A part of my mind knew I only required a few hours of sleep to recover, while another part planned the quickest route out of town. A third part still worried. With good reason.

A fist pounded on the door hard enough that I felt the vibrations through my cheek. Waking with a jolt, I scrambled to my feet. A male voice ordered me to surrender. Darkness filled the room and pressed against the windowpane. I had slept all day.

Unfortunately, this situation wasn't new to me. I scooped up my escape bag and exited through the back door. Pausing on the landing, I scanned the area. Moonlight lit the wooden steps. No one blocked them. Hurrying down, I shouldered my pack and ran through the empty alley that reeked of cat urine.

A figure stood at the alley's southern exit so I turned around. Except the northern route was also blocked. The only way out was through the tight space between buildings to the street where there would no doubt be more town watchmen.

The crash of a door echoed off the bricks. Upon my landing, a man called, "Do you have her?"

The two in the alley closed in. Guess I would take my chances. I darted through the narrow opening and right into a waiting town watchman's arms.

Voices yelled, "Don't touch her skin."

"Take her pack."

"Cuff her quick."

The drowning sickness had rendered me too weak to put up much of a fight. In mere seconds, my hands were manacled behind my back. My three years on the run had ended. It was hard to tell if fear or relief dominated. At this point, both had equal sway.

The captain of the watchmen yanked my shirt off my right shoulder, exposing my healer tattoo to the crowd. It appeared as if the entire town had gathered to witness my arrest. As expected, they gasped at the proof of the monster in their midst. And to think, I had once been proud of the symbol of my profession—a simple circle of hands. From a few feet away, it resembled a daisy with hand-shaped petals.

I scanned faces as the watchmen congratulated themselves on their catch. Mavis and her husband stood among the gawkers. He glared and approached me, dragging Mavis along. She wouldn't meet my gaze. Little Fawn clung to her mother's leg.

"It doesn't matter that you saved my girl's life," the husband said. "Your kind is responsible for millions of deaths. And the gold your execution will bring this town is sorely needed."

True. Tohon of Sogra placed a bounty of twenty golds for every healer caught and executed. I suspect the plague killed one or more of his loved ones. Otherwise, why would a powerful life magician care? The disease certainly didn't care, eliminating people without rhyme or reason.

Right before I was escorted to the jail, Fawn waved bye-bye to me. I smiled. My empty, pointless life for hers. Not bad.

Inside the town watch's station house I endured endless rounds of questions. They wanted me to turn over my healer cohorts. I almost laughed at that. I hadn't encountered another healer in three years. In fact, I'd guessed they had been smarter than me and had found a nice refuge to hide in while they waited for this current madness to pass.

I refused to answer their ridiculous queries, letting their voices flow past me as I concentrated on Fawn's healthy face. Eventually they removed the manacles, measured me for my coffin and locked me in a cell below ground level, promising tomorrow would be my last day. I had an appointment with the guillotine. Lovely.

At least the guards left a lantern hanging on the stone wall opposite my cell—a basic cube with iron bars on three sides and one stone wall. Equipped with a slop pot and metal bed, I had the space to myself. And no neighbors in the adjoining cells. The bedsprings squealed under my weight. My lungs wheezed in the damp air thanks to Fawn's stubborn sickness.

I wasn't as terrified as I had imagined. In fact, I was looking forward to my first solid night's sleep in three years. Ah, the little things in life.

Too bad, I didn't even get my last wish.

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Touch of Power 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
NinjaWife More than 1 year ago
This book is astoundingly awesome! I happened upon it by accident and am so glad I did. I am a die hard Maria V. Snyder fan, I loved the Study series it was incredile. I was not as impressed with her tie in series (Glass series with Opal) as I was with the study series So i was worried about this. I was duly impressed with the story telling skills in this book. Avry's story grabs you by the shoulders and jerks you into her world for a fast paced, but not too fast (like the kind that you don't understand anything because it jumps from one thing to the next too quickly), adventure. I can't recommend this enough! Stunning!
Icecream18JA More than 1 year ago
This book is wow-worthy. The main character, Avry, is clever, brave, and witty. She is the readers' guide through a world where healers are loathed and killed on sight. A healer herself, Avry will impress the reader with her depth of compassion and ability to put aside her own personal emotions-even if it means her life. This world created by Snyder is a harsh one; a plague has swept through the land, killing every single person it infects. Healers are powerless against this plague, dying in exchange for the plague-stricken person. Healers are reviled because the average person in this novel suspects healers of deliberately starting the plague. The reader is taken right into the action of the story; the author provides background knowledge along the way. Avry is captured by people who intend to trade her in as a healer for a reward. Expecting death, Avry is instead captured by a group which has a specific purpose in mind for her. They demand Avry heal a plague victim-a prince. Avry knows better, she realizes that to do so would mean her life. What will Avry decide? As a character, Avry was wonderful. She wasn't too perfect, but she was very endearing and completely likable. Kerrick, the love interest, will likely rub the reader the wrong way-he rubs Avry the wrong way much of the book as well. Stubborn, cruel at times, and unyielding, Kerrick is not a character the reader will take an instant liking to. The other characters of the motley band are interesting, they each have very different traits that the reader will find memorable. The events are extremely fast-paced. The characters do develop along the way, they are very dynamic and thus more interesting and fun to the reader. Readers can be extremely happy when they put this book down-there is another book in the series to look forward to! This book is recommended to young adult/teen readers.
StarSpun More than 1 year ago
I love, love, love Maria V. Snyder¿s Poison Study (and her Inside Out) series, so was very excited to hear about her new book, Touch of Power, featuring 20 year old Avry, a healer on the run from those that would have her executed because of her power. After healing a child in the town she¿s hiding out in, she¿s arrested and sent to the guillotine, but rescued by a band of men that value her power. It doesn¿t seem to make much sense that people would want to execute a healer, does it? No, it doesn¿t, however, healers are thought to the be the cause of a plague that has decimated the human population, to the tune of about 6 million dead. That is why they want to execute healers. However, there are certain people in power that would love to have a healer at their disposal, so there is also a significant bounty on Avry¿s head. So, Avry goes on the run with the mysterious (and initially annoying) Kerrick, and his group of friends, and that¿s when the story really takes off. See, Kerrick and Co. want her to heal someone, but this someone is a person that Avry doesn¿t have that great of an opinion of (to say the least), but who may hold the key to peace, so convincing her he¿s worth healing will be hard. Rival mercs and bounty hunters are around every corner, and that¿s not counting the deadly Death Lillies that litter the valley, but there¿s more to those than meets the eye too. Ms. Snyder has a talent for storytelling, and she manages to do it very well without a lot of the flowery prose that you see in fantasy novels. I love that, and she really has a knack for getting you to turn the pages. Avry reminded me a little of Yelena in Poison Study, but she¿s definitely very much her own woman. There¿s plenty of action and intrigue, and some twists that I honestly didn¿t see coming, also a bit of romance. Ms. Snyder¿s baddies are bad (with maybe a touch of gray, but just a touch), and her good guys are really good. This is so refreshing for me, amongst the dark fantasy full of gray characters. Don¿t get me wrong, I loves me some gray, but sometimes a story with a really strong glimmer of hope is much needed! Also, I believe Touch of Power is aimed at adults, but other than some violence and a bit of gore (and sex references, but , but no details-Avery is 20 after all), I really think teens would enjoy it as well. It¿s a great start to a new series by one of my favorite authors, and I¿ll look forward to continuing Avery¿s adventures in Scent of Magic in 2013 (yarg, but all good things, right?)
ForThisMoment More than 1 year ago
Another amazing read from Maria V. Snyder. I read her magic study series and fell in love with her writing then. I saw this book and had to read it. Avry is an incredible heroine and narrator. She has trust issues yet she makes such great relationships and bonds and cares selflessly for so many people. She heals even though she knows how damaging the effects will be to herself, yet it does not faze her in the slightest. Even though she has a bounty over her head, she still has a sense of humor. Avry is a great role model for all ages of readers. Beyond Avry, I felt as if I knew every character well because of the great descriptions and scenes. The book ended on such a great note I may not even read the sequel because I am so happy with it. I'd recommend this book to anyone.
sunshinejenn03 More than 1 year ago
What can I say? Touch of Power is powerful! It has a little bit of everything for the reader that likes to dabble in, but isn’t wed to, different genres: magic, romance, suspense, mystery, and action. As my first Maria V. Snyder novel, it really packed a punch for me and I can confidently say I will be back for more. Touch of Power follows after a terribly plague has swept across the lands of the Fifteen Kingdoms, for which the healers, like Avry of Kazan, are blamed, and thus extinguished. She’s remained in hiding for the last three years, desperately trying not to give herself away until the compulsion to heal is too much, sending her packing before she can be caught once again. Her luck runs out however, when she’s captured and forced on an unwelcome journey to heal the very man she despises. I really enjoyed Touch of Power. I love the fantasy genre in general, but this novel is exceptionally well-done. Maria V. Snyder has built a vivid, fascinating world, with flowing descriptions of the lands and people within it. I especially found the Peace Lilies and Death Lilies so creative and awesome! They absolutely fascinated me. It’s a book I hope never makes it to the big-screen, because anything Hollywood comes up with can’t possibly match what Snyder has created within her pages and my imagination. There is also no shortage of spunk and fun throughout the story, with snide comments, jokes and laughter. Everything is just incredibly well-balanced. Her characters are simply amazing and full of life. Avry is our smart, spunky heroine, without having too much of both. She’s got her sarcasm down pat, and I loved that. She’s also very strong and smart (I really hate having to root for the dumb guy). Kerrick is sexy and brooding, and I know that sexy and brooding is overplayed right now, but hey, when something fits, it fits, and nothing else would have fit Kerrick. He was also loyal to a fault, determined and and damned pain in the ass and I loved him for it. Tohon is an excellent “bad guy.” He’s sinister and sweet in that sociopathic kind of way that leaves Snyder’s readers guessing what he’ll do next, which tickled my fancy quite a bit. I think beyond any personal vendetta, he actually does like Avry quite a bit, in his own way. Their relationship was especially dynamic and I enjoyed it. In short, Touch of Power is awesome and I am so glad I saw it in another blogger’s IMM and nabbed it, because it was a blast to read. For MVS fans, you’ll love it; for Fantasy fans, you’ll love it!
annmarie2011 More than 1 year ago
Avry of Kazan is a healer at one stage there was many people like her but now she is the last of her kind. She has been running since the healers were blamed for starting the plague that killed so many people. Avry did the only thing she could run and hide. The only problem is as a healer it's not always easy to watch people die when you know you can save them. When Avry slips up and heals a dying child you would think people would be grateful but no the town turns her in for the promise of gold and Avry is left waiting for her death. The most shocking thing happens next she is rescued from the town but what do her rescuers what and what will it cost her. Avry is a strong minded lead character from the start you really did feel for the character. She is one of those women you want to be. She is smart and she has hidden all this time without being court. She is strong minded even when faced with the worse. The author really does know how to make her characters stand out. There were a lot of unforgettable people in this book and at times you wished you could meet them face to face. You become attached to the people you're reading about and you don't want the adventure to stop. The story line of the book was just brilliant it was a fantasy to remember there was the world it was based in. There was a raging war going on the common people are struggling to survive while the royals are all about winning no one seems to care about the people they are ruling. The book was packed with interesting things like the healers and magic and what people will do with their abilities. The story worked really well and it had my interested from the very start. I loved learning about the people and the world the book was set in. There was none stop action and some of the funniest comments from characters. There was lies and back stabbing. I really did fall in love with the book. By the end you are going to be holding your heart in your hand you might even cry but most of all your going to have the need to know what will happen next. Maria V. Snyder is the queen of fantasy and Touch of power proves it. 5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting and compelling. The story was well crafted.
litaddictedbrit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you have read and enjoyed either Ms Snyder's Study series or Glass series, you'll love this. It is that simple. Go buy it now; you are dismissed (although I'd rather you stayed, of course...). If you haven't read either, let me convince you. The story starts with Avry on the run. As one of the last healers, she is forced to hide from those who believe her responsible for the spreading of the plague that has decimated the population of each Territory. When I say "the story starts", I really do mean it. Within the first few pages, Avry has risked her life to heal a dying child and faces execution as a result. There's a sense of urgency that starts on the first page and is sustained for the entire book and that made it nearly impossible to put down. So absorbed in this book was I that I grabbed at it whenever I could, often with embarrassing consequences (nearly bursting into tears on the bus being one...). It seems that Ms Snyder has a great way with creating strong female characters. The main reason I loved her earlier work so much was that both series focus upon a girl/woman who are intelligent and powerful in their own right. Avry of Kazan is no exception. I adored her for caring enough to still fight to heal people in spite of their fear and hatred, for continuously standing up for herself against people that wanted to control and manipulate her and for her honesty. YA fiction could do with a lot more female characters like her. The characters that surround her are no less well created. Kerrick, Belen, Quain, Vinn and Flea are the band of men that feature the most and are great additions. Belen, in particular, was a favourite of mine in his role as 'friendly giant'. Kerrick is as charming as someone who smacks you in the face can be, which is of course not very much. I did really enjoy watching his character develop, though. Quain, Vinn and Flea are very much like little brother figures (I imagine - seeing as I have a younger sister, I can't say for definite). Their capering and banter provides some much-needed light relief along the way and really helped the dynamic of the group and the pitch of the book as a whole. Kudos also to Avry for being able to banter with the boys! I loved the intrigue that surrounded the plague, based in part on the Black Death. Where did it come from? Why can't it be healed? How does it spread? Obviously in many ways it differs from the Black Death as that would be decidedly light on the intrigue, being fact and history and all...Oh, the BAD guys! There are plenty of nasties to create some danger and plights for the plucky healer, ranging from man-eating plants to other magicians to...other things that I won't spoil for you. Suffice to say, this book is not light on action and some of it is unexpected and creepy. You probably won't be surprised to know that there is a touch of romance. However, you might be surprised to know that it is sufficiently subtle that it doesn't detract from the main plot and that Avry manages to keep a level head, act with dignity and stay true to herself. I know, an independent woman that can be in love and act like rational human being all at the same time; who'd have thought it?The only (very minor) downside in this book for me was the occasional use of an usual narrative technique more usually used in plays. I am referring to the us of an 'aside' comment where the audience are addressed by a character in the play, while other characters remain oblivious. I regrettably didn't highlight the "worst" example on my eReader and now can't find it but something scary and unpleasant was going on and Avry interrupted the narration by saying something like "I know, scary right?" as though she was talking to the reader, rather than for their benefit. It was so strange and out of the blue that it did kill the moment a little for me. Since part of what makes this book great is how engaging Avry is, I can't complain too much but I did found that it jarred occasionally a
seekingflight on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very readable young adult novel about a young woman, Avry, who had only recently begun her training as a healer when a plague broke out. Healers were accused of spreading this disease, and have since been hunted mercilessly. Avry is captured and scheduled for execution, when she is `rescued¿ by a second group of captors who demand that she heal their prince, who she believes responsible for much of the hounding of her people. Ultimately, she must decide who to trust, and who she is willing to risk using her powers for.
hscherry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Couldn't put it down & really don't want to have to wait for the next one!!! Snyder does it again! :)
sithereandread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
TOUCH OF POWER, by Maria V. Snyder, is the best fantasy books I have read this year. Touch of Power is packed with adventure, intrigue, and a budding romance that will make you swoon. Snyder has created an intricate world full of danger at every corner and her heroine is thrown into the middle of a huge war between important political figures. Avry uses her intellect and healing powers to survive among her kidnappers and decide her path through life.When I finished the book only punctuated words were uttered from my lips. Breathtaking. Fantastic. Incredible¿ I first loved Maria's writing in her Inside Out series so I was definitely more than willing to read her new fantasy series. For those who are fans of the Inside Out series just be aware that the Healer series is very different. Where IO was science fiction and fast-paced, TOP is more of a fantasy adventure and a little slower paced but not in a negative way at all. In the TOP world, traveling by foot over months is the main movement of the book. But each day the reader gets more and more information about the characters and world that Avry resides in. I never felt the story dragged because each day I learned more about the amazing characters or the environment they lived in.I loved Avry! Being a Healer she is genuinely concerned about the heath and well-being of those around her without question of what it does to herself. I thought her powers were so creative and unique and amazed at the detail Snyder put into her characters along with the world they lived in. I really liked the constant banter between Avry and Kerrick. I normally roll my eyes at the love-at-first-sight thing so I was happy when their relationship started off (and continued for some time) rocky. Both of them can be stubborn and I enjoyed reading how they slowly chipped away each other's protective walls. Also, the connection between their different powers were really amazing to watch and I hope to see more of that in future books.I could go on and on about this book until I am blue in the face, but the fact is I would highly recommend this book to fantasy readers so seriously go out there and get it!!
Kskye on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maria V. Snyder is an author that no matter what she writes, I¿ll read. I love her stories that much. Poison Study is still my favorite, but Touch of Power her ninth book comes closest in the overall feel of Poison Study. Avry is a tough, smart heroine and is just so cool. I mean every time she decides to heal someone it¿s like a mini sacrifice that takes courage¿and to do that for people you don¿t even know is amazing. Plus she doesn¿t let people order her around when it comes to healing.One thing I really like about Ms. Snyder's writing is that she is able to make even her secondary characters so lovable and almost as important at the main characters. The bands of rogues in this book are so likable, and their eventual camaraderie with Avry is sweet. Most of the story takes place with them traveling through the forest, but it doesn¿t drag. The pacing is just right. The romance doesn¿t really kick in till the end, but the characters are just so interesting I don¿t even mind.The main villain, Tohon is someone you kind of want to feel sorry for until you realize he is just plain psycho. He acts like a deranged kid who just wants to win a popularity contest¿.or in this case gain all fifteen realmsIf you like fantasy, cool magic, a weird healing system, giant plants that eat people, zombies, knife throwing and juggling then yeah, you might like this book :)And Flea, I still have hope¿.
Lavinient on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avry is on the run because she is a healer. She can take a sickness or injury into herself and heal at a super fast rate. Her kind have been hunted down because they are blamed for the plague that devastatingly swept through the land. But she can't stop herself from continuing to heal children. This time she is not able to get out of town fast enough after the healing and she is imprisoned and sentenced to death the next day. But during the night she is rescued by a band of men who need her to heal someone very important of the plague. Avry is conflicted because of the nature of the disease and because of who the man is. The leader of her captors, Kerrick, does not want to give her a choice. Hiding and alone for three years, Avry now finds herself in the middle of politics and a brewing war among those who would use her to gain rule of the 15 Realms.Snyder has a way of creating a world that is simple and non-convoluted, but still fascinating and lovely. This is the second book I have read by Snyder, and in both she has strong female leads. I like Avry. She has a lot of tough choices to make. She was able to fend for herself for three years and after her capture she continues to do what she feels is right, even when it seems all of her choices are taken from her.I liked the magic system. We only really get to witness how it feels to use the magic through Avry, but I thought Snyder did a great job of creating and explaining it. Avry can heal, but that power is not without its limits. She cannot heal someone who is very close to death; her own body, even with its faster healing, would not have enough time to heal itself. She could heal someone close to death, but then it would be considered a self sacrifice.Also, giant flowers that can kill you. Reminded me of a little of Triffids, though Snyder's flowers can not move from where they are rooted. And there is something more to these flowers beyond killing.Very nice beginning to the Healer trilogy.ARC provided by NetGalley.
kmartin802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maria V. Snyder has created an extraordinary fantasy world filled with characters we can care about. Avry is on the run. She is a healer in a world that blames healers for the plague that devastated the world killing a huge number of the people and leaving the remaining people in a state of political chaos. When she heals a little girl and is turned in by the girl's father, she is scheduled to be killed by guillotine. When she is broken out of jail by a group of men that wants her to heal someone, she is at first reluctant to go along. She had reconciled herself to dying and was just tired of the constant running. But her will to live kicks in and she goes with them. Than she finds out who they want her to heal. Ryne is the ruler of one of the realms. She has met him before when he tried to coerce her mentor into healing his sister and who spread the rumor that healers caused the plague when she refused. He is also the one who owned the mine where Avry's father and older brother worked until the mine collapsed killing them. She refuses to heal him.The leader of the band who freed Avry from jail is determined to bring her to Ryne and is willing to do anything to get her to heal him. He doesn't know that healers don't survive healing someone with the plague. Avry does. Avry and Kerrick begin their relationship badly. She hates him and he doesn't care for her either beyond being a means to an end. They are constantly sparring verbally. But at the same time, Avry does become close to Kerrick's band of rogues. It is the first time she has allowed herself to care for anyone since the plague ruined her life. Avry gradually becomes aware of the bigger political situation which she didn't care about when her only care was to survive. Now she becomes involved in the whole political mess. Kerrick supports Ryne who is opposed by Tolon. Tolon is using his magic to create an army of the dead and is a really scary sociopath. Kerrick, Ryne, Tolon and a few other characters have all known each other since they were sent to the boarding school where the children of rulers went to learn to rule. They were fierce rivals there and now the rivalry has gone beyond children's games to playing with real lives. Avry decides to heal Ryne even at the cost of her life because he is the best hope for the survival of the world. The mystical aspect of this story has to do with some people with magical gifts - Avry who can heal by taking the illness or injury into herself, Tolon who can reanimate the dead, and Kerrick who has forest magic and the ability to sense anyone in a forest and to camouflage himself within it. It also has to do with some semi-sentient plants called Death Lilies and Peace Lilies whose role in the world is just beginning to be known.I recommend this story to fantasy lovers and will be looking forward to Avry's second story - Scent of Magic - which is coming in 2013.
allureofbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in the new Healers trilogy. It is set to be released in December, but when I saw it available for review on NetGalley I jumped at the chance to read it! I am a huge fan of all of Maria¿s adult fantasy books even though none of them have lived up to her first release, Poison Study. Until now that is! I absolutely loved Touch of Power and will definitely be adding it to my list of fantasy favorites.Avry is the last of the Healers. After a plague was ¿allowed¿ to run rampant through the population, the Healers were blamed for not doing their jobs and were hunted down and killed. Avry has managed to hide her abilities and fly under the radar ¿ until now. She ends up being kidnapped by a small band of rogues. Luckily for her, they want to use her power instead of killing her.All five of the men have distinct personalities (if not actual deep characterization). The leader, Kerrick, is by far the most intriguing. Since he is such a big part of the story, he does have quite a bit of depth. I really enjoyed his character ¿ and especially enjoyed the way he and Avry interacted. I also loved Belen, the second in command. He definitely had a more enjoyable personality and he and Avry¿s friendship grew quickly.When Avry finds out who her kidnappers/friends/define them what you will want her to heal, she is very adamant against helping them. Circumstances change dramatically throughout the book though, lots of surprises are in store both for the reader and for Avry. Who knows how things might end up? Prepare for a story that takes you through kidnappings, childhood memories, long-lost sisters, lots and lots of caves, zombies and crazy killer flowers! Lots of adventure ¿ and even a well-developed and satisfying romance towards the end.Seriously y¿all, I loved this book. Definitely back to the quality of Poison Study ¿ the highest praise I could give it. Avry is an easy character to love and her fellow travelers (with the possible exception of Kerrick) will grow on you quickly. It didn¿t take long at all for me to become invested in the story. This is definitely a book I¿ll be buying at the first available opportunity and will reread in the future. I absolutely can¿t wait to see what happens next!So, whether or not you¿ve read Maria¿s books in the past, this is one I highly recommend picking up if you¿re a fantasy fan!
bkwormblogger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. Many reviews have so far questioned the character building or world building but for me the main pulling power was the overall story. Avry is interesting as a female protagonist. A 20 year old, on the run due to her ability to heal, and running out of options. One night she heals a baby suffering from the plague that has hit the town but the parents turn her in. From then on Avry has the biggest of adventures, but the underlying truth is that she¿s going to die, so it¿s what she does with the time that she has that matters.The characters are all enjoyable. You notice a softer side to Kerrick occasionally but want to slap him most of the time. Only because you understand how he feels about Avry before he does. The lads in the gang are all fun. I felt bad when Flea died and suffered as they did.The introduction of Tohon was interesting. I would have liked a little bit more development on his part because I wanted to believe that underneath all the evil there might be someone worth saving (from himself).The ending was a little sudden but still enjoyable and I¿m glad Avry found two more healers in the end.Based in a fantasy/medieval world Touch of Magic was a great read. I found the flow easy and non-jerky, and loved the modern language of it all. Sometimes other books in this genre are bogged down with too much description but Snyder has the steady pace and descriptions in equal measure.Definitely read it. It¿s well worth your time. Now I want to read more from her!
TheLostEntwife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ve come to expect awesome things from Maria Snyder. She writes about strong females, the perfect touch of magic, action, a little bit of romance ¿ basically everything that makes the teenager in me giggle with delight. Her latest book, Touch of Power, provided all those things.Seriously, if you want to lose yourself in a good book, and know you have an entire day to allow yourself to get lost in it, you cannot fail with picking up one of Snyder¿s books. With Touch of Power, I found myself trapped away in this world where healing is not considered to be a good thing, and the young heroine is on the run¿constantly. So much so, in fact, even I was out of breath reading it!The imagination of Snyder is to be envied. The Death Lilies were magnificent ¿ so incredibly interesting. The choice having to be made by Avry was heart-breaking .. how would you choose? The combination of interesting characters, rough situations, and action scenes kept me reading from beginning to end in one sitting. And that, my friends, is fun reading.
l_manning on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avry has spent the last few years on the run. In a world with filled with magic, her particular brand of talents are feared. Healers are hunted and put to death for their response to the great plague that has swept the lands. Avry cannot escape the call of helping though, and is soon imprisoned when she is caught healing a young child. Much to her surprise, Avry is broken out of jail by a band of men who seem to have their own reasons for freeing her. Now Avry has to decide whether her freedom and even her life are worth saving someone who may be able to save the world.I have heard of Maria V. Snyder from other people, but I never read one of her books. Wow. That is all I can say. I was drawn into this book from the start, and I probably wouldn't have stopped reading if I didn't have other things to do. Everything was just so beautifully done. The pacing was fantastic- lots of action, but plenty of chances to breath and get to know the characters some more. There were moments that were hilarious, and moments that just break your heart. The world was so well developed, and that really helps you get lost in it from the very beginning. There were a couple of twists and turns, and I was definitely left wanting more in the end.I am keeping this review a little shallow on purpose. There were so many things that I loved about this book, but a lot of the fun was in discovering them. Just know that I highly recommend this book, and it's probably in the top of the books I've read this year. I am definitely adding more books by Maria V. Snyder on my to-read list. This book was so absorbing, I didn't even know where the time had gone. It is a great book, and I can't wait to see what the next one in the series holds!Galley provided for review.
foggidawn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Avry is a Healer -- the last of the Healers, in fact. When a plague broke out which the Healers were unable to counteract, a rumor spread that the Healers had caused the plague. Now, there is a bounty on the head of any Healer, and Avry lives on the run, rarely using her gift. When she risks healing a sick child, she is caught and imprisoned. She's rescued by a man named Kerrick, who needs her to heal Prince Ryne, a man Avry detests. Kerrick, however, believes that Ryne is the only man who can stop the evil tyrant who is trying to gain political control in the wake of the plague. Saving him could mean saving the lives of thousands. And Ryne has the plague . . . which means that, if Avery heals him, she will be killed by the disease instead.The story held together well enough, but I felt like a lot of the suspense in the plot stemmed from Avry and Kerrick keeping secrets from each other, and assuming that they knew what the other person was thinking or feeling. This is by no means uncommon, particularly in romance plot lines of any genre, so it's not exactly a deal-breaker for me . . . just something I tend to notice. Also, one small detail irritated me the whole way through. A particular plant, the Death Lily, plays a major role in the story -- and for some reason, the author chose to pluralize it as Death Lilys, not Death Lilies. It's consistent throughout the book, so not a typographical error, but I can't imagine why one would choose to do that. As I said, a small thing -- but it took me right out of the story pretty much every time I ran across it.If you think you can get past the niggling details that bothered me, I'd recommend this book. It's set in a different fantasy world than Snyder's Ixia/Sitia novels, so knowledge of her other books isn't necessary.
Bookswithbite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This girl got some spice in her! I loved this book. What captured me the most is about this book is Avery's life and her selflessness. I loved reading stories about people who do something brave for someone and get paid back badly. Avery is a healer. And is not appreciated. Her people are being hunted down one by one. Healing someone is very risky and will be death if she gets caught. The story of Avery's life is a journey the reader is unable to get out of. Sucked in a maze of wars, death and prejudiced, Ms. Snyder's writing will draw you into a world you will never forget.Let me start off by saying the characters of this book are WOW! They all have a unique voice that screams at the readers. Especially Avery. These characters just screamed excellence! I loved her back round history to the characters with the uncertain future of what lies ahead for her. I don't think that once I started this book did I take my eyes off of it. Yup, this book is so going on my shelf.The love interest in this book play out really different then what I thought. I was for sure it would go one way but totally fell the other. This is nice cause the author caught me by surprise. I did however like how this love started off with a strong dislike and for using each other purposes. After seeing the two characters bicker and fight along the journey, I knew they were meant to be. It definitely gave the reader a much more deeper connection to the characters.So, whats the verdict. Read this book! Seriously go now and read it. It will amaze and capture you. With Avery's spicy attitude and a know it all man, it's so simple to fall into the story.
VivalaErin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great. I read it in one sitting, yesterday! Maria Snyder consistently creates worlds and characters I can like immediately, and Avry was one of those. She's very selfless, without thinking that makes her better than others, which makes her likeable. But she's also pretty spunky and tough. She reminded me of Yelena a bit so maybe that's part of why I like her. There is a lot of action and politics hidden in this little book, and I very interested to see what happens next with Tohon, the Peace/Death Lilys, and Avry and her boys.
Truly_Bookish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a fan of Maria V. Snyder. Poison Study and Inside Out are two books I absolutely love so I was excited to see that she has a new fantasy series for me to get lost in. Touch of Power is classic Snyder and it does not disappoint.No doubt, Snyder is a master at world building. The plague ravaged Fifteen Realms is in shambles and the political leaders that are left alive are scrambling to grab as much power and territories as they can. Avry, who has been hiding and on the run for years, becomes a pawn in this political game. Throw in characters with special magical abilities and carnivorous flowers big enough to swallow a person whole and you have an unputdownable book that will keep you absolutely engaged to the end.Speaking of characters with special abilities, Avry's healing is very cool. She is also snarky and having the story told from her perspective is a treat. My only complaint is that at times, Avery's narration is a bit too modern and out of place with the rest of the fantasy setting. Still, I love Avry, she is definitely another wonderful and memorable character that Ms. Snyder has created.Kerrick is a huge jerk at the beginning of the book. He's a brooding kill-joy and a bit of a bully at first, but thankfully, he fully redeems himself by the end. While I know I shouldn't, I did compare him to Valek from Poison Study and while I don't love him as much as Valek, Kerrick does have his own kind of awesome going for him. The secondary characters are very well written as well. Kerrick's men are so lovable and the bad guy is especially pervy and awful. He is definitely the guy you love to hate.As an escapist reader, I really enjoyed getting lost in another of Maria Snyder's fabulous worlds. I highly recommend this book to fantasy lovers everywhere, and even if you don't usually read fantasy, you should try Touch of Power. It's that good!Content: Kissing, sexual situations, implied sex (no detailed descriptions) and violence. This is not a YA novel and most of the characters, including Avry and Kerrick, are in their twenties. I don't think it is appropriate for younger teens but older, more mature teens should be fine.
VirginiaGill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As always Maria V. Snyder's latest does not disappoint. I found the main character's constant struggle to not use the gifts she was born with thought provoking and the politics well written. One character was truly offensive to me and I found myself mentally yelling at the author for including him...I'm sure you'll be able to guess who he is as you read... Overall I loved the book and cant wait to see where the story goes next.
krau0098 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley.com. This is the first book in Snyder's new Healer series. Previously I have read the Poison Study series (which I loved) and the first book in the Glass series (which I didn't love that much at all). For me this book was somewhere between those two. I enjoyed it and am excited to see what comes next for this series.Avry of Kazan is a healer who has been on the run for nearly two years. Her and her kind are now hunted because it is believe that Healers caused the plague that wiped a good portion of humanity. When Avry is abducted by a group of rogues she thinks they are after the reward money that they will get for turning in a Healer. She is surprised to find out they actually want her to use her healing skills to heal a prince of the realm. Now Avry must decide if healing the prince and helping the realm attain peace is worth the ultimate cost, her life.For me this book was better than the first one in the Glass series but not as good as the Poison Study series. Avry is an interesting character; I loved that as a healer she has to take on the injuries of her patients and I love how that forces her to balance what she does. Although she is intriguing, Avry still never really captured my heart like Yolana did in Poison study. Kerrick is the lead rogue, and as such ends up being the male lead. I didn't like him as much as the male lead in Poison Study; he comes off as a bit of a jerk at first. I did grow to like his character over time and understood him more as the story progressed; I still didn't think he was the strongest lead though. There are lots of very intriguing side characters. Snyder does an excellent job of making the side characters realistic and interesting.The world building is one of the strongest points of this book. Snyder expands on the interesting world she has created with the previous two series. This book, of course, focuses on healing powers but also touches on life and death magic. I enjoy the magic system it is creative and interesting. I loved the inclusion of the peace and death lilies and loved how they were tied into the story; this added a little something special and mysterious to the story and I really enjoyed it. I am eager to see how the Lilies tie into the future books.The plot is well done and the writing style is easy to read. Those who liked Snyder's previous series will enjoy this one as well. The premises are very similar. A girl in a tough situation with special powers meets a man she initially can't stand and then falls in love with; woven around that core are politics and danger. Don't get me wrong it's a good premise for a story and I enjoy it; it is just similar to what Snyder's done previously.Overall I enjoyed this opening book to Snyder's Healer series. The characters are well done (although they didn't capture my heart like the Poison Study ones did), the world is intriguing, and the plot well done. Fans of Snyder's previous books should enjoy this new series. Fans of fantasy with adventure and romance thrown in will also find a lot to love.
Strider66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pros: strong female protagonist, fast paced, lots of plot twists, minor romance elementsCons: limited emotional punch, simplistic world buildingAvry of Kazan is a healer in a post plague world where healers have been hunted and killed for spreading the disease that decimated the populace of the Fifteen Realms. After three years of hiding, her cover is blown when she heals another child. Too ill from the aftereffects of the child's illness (which must be taken into herself in order to heal it) for her to run, she's taken by the authorities and sentenced to death. Kerrick of Alga finds her there, and frees her with the condition that she heal his friend. But his friend has the plague, and healing it means dying herself.Touch of Power is reminiscent of Snyder's first novel, Poison Study. The protagonist is a feisty young woman, the romance creeps up on you towards the end (with many clues, but no acknowledgement until the climax), and fast paced story telling with lots of plot twists to keep you turning pages. Tragedy didn't make my connect with the characters as I would have liked, until the final scene. I wanted to feel their losses as well as their joys, and didn't quite get there.The world was interesting, some aspects (like the events surrounding the plague and the death lilies) were well detailed and others (differences in customs between Realms) were ignored. In other words, it's a very tight story, with no digressions for elements unconnected to the plot, even if a few side details wouldn't have been amiss.This somewhat open ended book is a solid beginning to a new trilogy.