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Touch of Power (Healer) Paperback – December 27, 2011
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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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 princeleader 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 .
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Much of Touch of Power takes place as Avry and her captors, who become her friends, travel toward the Nine Mountains so she can heal Ryne. To say that Avry is less than thrilled with leader Kerrick is an understatement; but it's equally evident that there are sparks flying between the two and that they work well together. A lot of time is spent on Avry learning the tricks of the forest and there are some side forays such as helping a girl who has been kidnapped that add to the length of the book. The best parts are the interactions between Avry, Belen, and the "monkeys" (the men helping Kerrick retrieve Avry); it's so nice to see genuine friendships develop slowly, and it gives depth to Avry's character. There is a lot of repetition in the travels: staying away from Death Lilies, sleeping in caves, escaping mercenaries; while those things didn't bother me, I do wonder now if perhaps they could have somehow been varied a bit. The whole story with Avry's sister Noelle took me by surprise and I look forward to seeing how it will all play out in the future.
I loved Avry's spirited personality and her headstrong attitude and felt she was definitely the brightest link in the book. Smart female protagonists always enhance my enjoyment and Avry is no exception, with her sharp mind and outstanding sense of sarcasm. A few times I was drawn out of the story by the modern feeling of the dialogue, but since it's a fantasy, I feel the author can choose to write it as she wishes. I was not such a fan of Kerrick, however; I disliked his unwillingness to listen and definitely despised his treatment, sometimes physical, of Avry early on. It's going to take some doing before I'm 100% on board with him.
My biggest complaint, if it can be termed as such, is that it's hard to gauge the readership for this novel. Though the characters are in their twenties, they often interact and react as though they were teens. While I see this novel as appealing to all fantasy readers and most young adult readers, I wonder if there will be those who will nitpick the actions of twenty-somethings who do not seem fully adult. But Maria V. Snyder's writing fully engages and those minor concerns are lost in the overall fun and action of the story. I'm on to the second book!
1. This author doesn't know how to world build. 95% of the book is spent wandering wilderness. The other 5% consists of 3 towns, 1 soldier camp, and a castle. Nothing else. You would think since one of the characters has a special connection with nature that the 95% in wilderness would contain better descriptions of it. There is no imagery. Additionally, a lot of the plot revolves around competing nations... Yet these nations do not have distinct cultures, except that one of them is more religious. They are very generic fantasy realms with nothing memorable about them.
2. The dialogue is BAD. There were so many times when a character would say something where I would stop and be confused -- Am I reading about a fantasy world where the characters are in dire situations, or am I now reading about a group of 15 year olds still in high school? Idioms from today seems to slip in which made it very confusing in a pseudo historical setting. (I can't remember exactly but it was things like 'You're kidding me! No way! That sucks!')
3. The prince and princess high school? Really? It's like she wanted to add in Hogwarts as a back story 4/5 the way through the novel. Weird.
4. The relationships weren't very believable, particularly between family members. I found the whole sub plot about the main character and her sister to be very strange and out of place.
These were the main things, but I feel like there were others... The idea of the story (the healers and the stuff about the lilies and the plague) I thought were very interesting, but the writing style just wasn't refined enough. Needs some serious editing. It was still an entertaining read... Yet I have no interest in reading the sequel, even though it was a cliffhanger.
Avery has been on the run for years. The once revered healers of The Fifteen Realms have been slaughtered to near extinction. One mistake and Avery will surely join her fallen brethren. But that one mistake will fling her into the political underbelly of warring realms each posturing for power. And Avery's particular talents have become a much desired asset to the various factions. But only Avery has the right to decide who's worth saving, and her choices could determine the future of the realms.
Fans of Maria Snyder's Study Series and it's spin off spawn of Glass books will be extremely happy about her return to fantasy with Touch of Power. The first in what I hope will be a long series, runs along the same lines as the author's Study trilogy with it's similar tone, magical abilities, and world building. There were lots of wonderful personalities, set in an interesting world, and an amazing romance within an attention consuming plot.
Touch of Power is quite possibly my favorite MVS book yet. And I'm pretty much a slave to her words already. So look out fellow fangirls and boys because this one has a touch of enthrallment about it, compelling you to keep reading until the very end and even then it's just not enough. This is stalker worthy writing that will have you constantly checking for future releases.
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When I first grabbed this book I thought it would be another Ixia story. I admit that was all in my head.Read more