Book: Touch of Power
Author: Maria V. Snyder
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
“Sorry. An overdeveloped nurturing instinct comes with being a healer.”
Touch of Power follows Avry, a twenty year old healer who has been on her own for 3 years; hiding from people who blame her kind for being responsible for the outbreak of the plague. This lead to angry mobs executing them because of it, which resulted in our protagonist, Avry, being the only healer left. Right before Avry gets executed herself, because her powers were discovered after she healed a little girl, a group of men rescue her. They have been searching for a healer for two years to heal their friend, who has the pledge and is put in a temporal stasis so he wouldn’t die while they searched. But is being forced to travel with these men against her will any better than being thrown in prison to await execution? Many adventures and encounters with different groups of people out to get Avry occur, which leads her to believe that perhaps she is in safe company with these men, especially once she starts to consider a few of them as her friend.
I knew right when I read the summery of Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder, that it was the kind of book I was going to enjoy. My expectations were definitely met, but that didn’t necessarily mean I didn’t have some problems with it. I never read a book by this author before, but I’ve heard numerous times that “Poison Study” is really good! I have every intention of reading Poison Study now that I have read Touch of Power and enjoyed her writing and story. Touch of Power drew me in from the first line and didn’t let go until the end. It was addicting and I gave up hours of sleep just so I could read “one more chapter…” (As any good book has persuaded an avid reader to do.)
For about the first quarter of the book I completely despised Kerrick, with good reason too. He was a complete jerk; hitting Avry and acting all cold and emotionless towards her. I was actually a full on Avry and Belen shipper at the beginning, (am I the only one?) He genuinely liked her a lot from the very start, this doesn’t mean he romantically liked her or vise versa, but I just thought that kind of relationship between them might have worked out. But that idea quickly changed in my mind when Kerrick eventually warmed up to me, but I was still a little hesitant about him. Usually I’m all about the angsty male lead with a haunting past who has never had someone break through the cold ice shielding his heart, until he meets that one pain-in-the-ass individual that he begins to care about and doesn’t know why. Although this book was for the most part following this trope, I feel like the transition between the “I hate you,” to the “I love you,” was a very fast and weird one. Don’t get me wrong, it was a slow burn relationship development for sure and I was excited about it, but there was a point where I thought the development that was building up immediately jumped into a “being in a relationship” status. Maybe I’m the only one who thought this?
But that’s not the only reason I didn’t give this book a solid 5 stars. A part of the story that completely turned me off was something that bothered me a lot: The main character was influenced and manipulated by a crazy man who kissed/touched her without consent. It was absolutely disgusting and I have no sympathy for the guy. If he acted like a decent human being, maybe his tragic backstory would have been more heartbreaking. But he’s the antagonist of the story and he’s done a list of horrific stuff, but his enjoyment of manipulating girls with his magic so they couldn’t fight back from his pursuits is at the top of the list for me.
But putting these couple of negative opinions aside, for the most part there was many things I enjoyed. Avry was a great protagonist. She didn’t allow anyone to boss her around, her healing power was interesting to read about, and her stubbornness made her extremely determined to do whatever she wanted. What I loved most about the book was that around 95% of it consisted of Avry and the group of men traveling to their destination. It took months! One thing I’ve always loved is road trip books and Touch of Power is the fantasy version of it.
Overall, I got really invested in this book so I’m happy that I decided to pick it up. It was such a relief because it helped me get out of a really long reading slump. The main characters were fun to get to know and the whole magical & political aspect of it was really interesting. I highly recommend it if my summary of the book sparked an interest in you. I know for sure that I’ll be picking up more of Maria V. Snyder’s books in the future.