Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Touch of Power
Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I am a big Snyder fan (Poison Study is one of my top 5 books of all time) so it was a no-brainer that I would be picking up this book. And I ended up being so satisfied, getting a heroine with plenty of similarities to my beloved Yelena from Poison Study while being a completely different character.
In this world, Avry has tremendous power being a Healer; however she also has a bounty on her head, due to the anger felt by the populace against healers after a devastating plague wiped out most of the population while healers did nothing. Avry has been on the run for three years but is caught after healing a little girl; she calmly faces her execution only to be taken by a group who desperately need a Healer. The leader, Kerrick, demands Avry's assistance in healing Prince Ryne, someone she loathes. Despite her refusal, she is brought along, fending off mercenaries, rival leaders, and her own attraction to the dashing Kerrick.
I'm not really sure how to start this review because there was so much I loved. Maybe I could start with the writing, which flows so well and absolutely swept me away. I meant to read only a few chapters to get a taste but I ended up reading nearly half the book, sleeping while my Nook charged, and then diving back in to finish. I did not want to put it down; I just wanted to know what Avry would do next.
Of course the characters were a big reason for my loving the book. Avry was always proud to be a healer and it pains her so much to be unable to heal people; it's what she is meant for. Happily we get to see several instances when she does get to exercise her powers and it's so exciting to see her live the life she was meant to. Besides that, she is fiercely intelligent and eager to learn more, something I always support in a MC.
I also loved Kerrick, the brusque and competent leader of the pack. He takes good care of his men and is fiercely loyal to Ryne. Although he starts out exceedingly cruel to Avry, he begins to reform. I loved every instance when she challenged him, forcing him to consider other ideas (usually ones that were better!) The other men in the gang (Belen, Flea, Quain, and Vinn) were also great personalities. Belen is probably my favorite as the "poppa bear" of the group while Flea's irrepressible spirit brightens up the group; Vinn and Quain are also reliable supporters.
There are also a whole host of other characters as Avry remembers her family and mentor and we get a picture at the stakes. There are three major rivals for control over the fantasy land created here: King Tohon, a power-hungry mage with evil intentions; Estrid, the religious dictator; and Ryne, who could be a real player if he weren't in stasis to ward off death. Ryne is presented as the best choice while Tohon comes off as the worst. Estrid is somewhere in the middle and hopefully the second book will touch on her more.
As for the setting, we have a crazed world with so many dead and power vacuums. Much of the book is spent journeying around as they try to reach Ryne with lots of different locales and adventures. This contributed to my flipping the pages as I just had to find out what came next.
It sounds like I love this book, right? So why not a perfect 5? Well, I was very uncomfortable by one of Tohon's powers, which was the ability to force Avry's desire for him. He repeatedly kisses her and has the ability to make her want him such as she almost sleeps with him, if not for other interfering circumstances. If she had a genuine interest in him, I'd be okay but the element of coercion makes me so sick.
Overall: Highly recommended for fans of Poison Study!