Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: ★★★★★
Avry is a healer, a member of a profession that once once respected and revered across the 15 realms. You see, healers work their magic by absorbing other people's sicknesses into themselves, and then fighting the illness off - healers can do this because they heal ten times faster than normal people. Nowadays, healers are hunted criminals because they are thought to be responsible for the plague that spread throughout the kingdoms and killed about two-thirds of the population. So for the past three years, Avry is on the run. A decision to heal a little girl proves her undoing. She is captured and sentenced to death. But then Kerrick and his men step in and rescue her in return for her journeying with them to heal a friend of theirs. Avry later find out that this friend is Prince Ryne, the man she holds personally responsible for the hatred of healers. Touch of Power is about the journey to Prince Ryne.
This is a fantabulous story. I can't say enough good things about it - the prose, the characters..everything about this book was fantastic. I was engaged from beginning to end, from the very first word to the last. The plot twists were simple and very effective, and the prose is gold.
Avry is a wonderful character. She didn't so much as grow as blossom as the novel progresses. She is a wonderful: very self-assured and quick to remind others of her own agency. She owns her decisions and never lets others force her to do things she doesn't want to do. Even under duress, she manages to do things on her own terms. I never once felt her to be helpless, even though she found herself in helpless situations. She is smart, mature, assertive, resourceful, and able to reason, and learn to get past her prejudices; she is a stickler for doing the right thing. She is one of the best YA heroines I've ever read.
Kerrick. He didn't grow wither; or blossom. Rather, he unfolded. Watching his development was like watching a tightly coiled flower open up to the sun. And as he opens up, you see a different sort of man: not the man who backhands Avry, or is willing to forfeit his best friend's life, but the one who is strong, loyal, and wants so desperately to save the world from the horror of Tohon. I loved him too.
Belen, Quain, Vinn, and Flea were wonderful, and it was a treat to spend time with them.
Ms. Snyder also writes some great villains. I could see Tohon and Daneen and Jael in my mind's eye so clearly, essentially very spoiled brats. Well, Daneen has very extenuating circumstances to excuse her, but that doesn't change the fact that some sense ought to be severely beaten into her. Tohon sends chills down my spine. I can't wait to see how all of this will resolve and for them to get their comeuppance.
I hear tell this is the ninth novel by Ms. Snyder. If the others are anything like this one (and I have it on Sans' authority that they are), then it means eight absolute gems of books are somewhere in the world waiting for me to get my hands on them!
*I received this ebook free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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