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Flawed but entertaining
on April 16, 2015
Maria V. Snyder’s debut novel, Poison Study, is quite possibly one of the best YA fantasies I’ve ever read, and I keep rereading it. So I came into Touch of Power with plenty of expectations, and it didn’t quite measure up.
That’s not to say Touch of Power was terrible, exactly. Its premise was fascinating: Avry is one of the last healers in a world where healers have been blamed for starting a devastating plague. Instead of just healing someone with no consequences, a healer’s magic comes with a price–they have to assume the injuries of the patient, and heal themselves quickly.
Snyder’s storytelling skills are as strong as ever. Her impressive imagination created a world of adventure and intrigue, and I never once felt bored even though the main characters’ journey was one of Lord of the Rings proportions. The pacing was off, though. Weeks would pass normally, and then all of a sudden a couple months would go by in the same amount of pages. It was hard to keep my bearings, so eventually I just gave up and went with it.
Touch of Power isn’t on par with Poison Study because it lacks the depth of characterization and setting of the earlier novel. It also just seemed more “typical YA,” in that it was a fun read but not very thought-provoking. It didn’t stick with me long after I’d finished it like Poison Study did. Avry is a typical YA fantasy heroine: she’s strong, kind, brave, etc. But she has none of the steely determination and intelligence that made me love Yelena so much. And don’t even get me started on Kerrick, Avry’s love interest. He not only pales in comparison to Poison Study‘s Valek–he’s just a raging douchebag with few redeeming qualities. I kept wondering why Avry was going on and on about him smelling like sunshine when he was backhanding her and threatening her and just generally being a dick.
All in all, Touch of Power was entertaining but didn’t meet my expectations. It just felt like it was geared toward a younger audience than Poison Study, which it may well be. It needed more development in many places, but Snyder’s storytelling abilities kept me hooked despite its flaws.
Check out this review and others on my book blog here: https://ellectricbookreviews.wordpress.com/2015/04/15/review-of-maria-v-snyders-touch-of-power/