Title: Touch of Power (Healer)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Published December 20th 2011 by Mira
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…
Warning: I’m going to spend the majority of this review talking about how much I love Avry of Kazan in this review. She was such a goddamn refreshing heroine.
First of all, it was a nice switch to read someone who is a little closer to my age (not that I’m complaining about those who aren’t). Avry is twenty years old and she and the other Healers have all split up to run from persecution. They are all sentenced to death if caught because they won’t cure the plague.
Because the only way they can cure it ensures their own death.
But the rest of the Fifteen Realms don’t understand that.
Still, Avry can’t help but heal a sick child, which leads to her capture and a death sentence until Kerrick and his crew free her to cure someone else of the plague.
And then we start to really get to know her. She’s smart, clever, and funny. She notices an attractive man, but doesn’t waste away pining for one. And one of my favorite things about her?
She doesn’t require saving. She takes care of that herself most of the time using her powers, her clever mind, and a little bit of patience.
I liked the other characters too. Most of the time. Kerrick starts out as something of a d-bag, but eventually, after a lo-o-o-ot of people talk some sense into him, even he grew on me. The young, former pickpocket Flea was among my favorites, never failing to pull a smile from me.
Snyder’s writing isn’t entirely typical of a fantasy novel. We’re not bashed over the head with “my lords and ladies” ad infinitum, but I loved that. It made for easy, pleasant reading.
Snyder’s world-building confused me every now and then– there was so much to learn. I mean… duh, Fifteen Realms? But I got a hold on and it then I appreciated how well she’d done with it.
Overall rating: 4/5. A great fantasy read with a refreshing heroine. Definitely give this one a read.