This review contains spoilers. These will be marked if you wish to avoid them.
The first in the healer trilogy, and is Maria V. Snyder’s ninth book. Maria has once again stuck to what she does best, and as a result produced another best seller. If you haven’t read any of her books before, Maria V. Snyder writes in the young adult, fantasy, and romance categories. All her books come under all three categories, as the main plots are focus around magic in some way, the main character is normally female (with one exception (so far) with a love interest, that at the start of the story want nothing to do with but later find they do indeed have strong feelings for, and it is clear from the way she writes, she intents her books for teens and young adults, as the action and some themes in the stories aren’t really suitable for younger readers. For this book Maria V. Snyder has stepped away for the world of Ixia and Sitia (two neighbouring countries with very different views on magic) once again, and in its place, has given us a world that has been devastated by plague, and its people struggling to return to the way it was before.
Touch of Power is set in The Fifteen Realms where three years ago a devastating plague was spread throughout each and every realm wiping out a third of the population. Before the plague there were elven types of magicians, one such type were healers, unfortunately all but one healer had been executed for the crime of starting, spreading, and refusing the heal the plague.
“The little girl wouldn’t stop crying. I didn’t blame her. She was dying after all. Her lungs were so full of fluid she’d drown in another few hours. Tossing and turning on my thin mattress, I listened to her cries as they sawed through the floor boards and through my heart, cutting it in two. One piece of my heart pleaded for me to save her. Urging me to heal the girl with the bright smile and ginger curls. The other side pulsed a warning beat. Her family would thank me by turning me into the town watch. I’d be hung as a war criminal. No trial needed. The horrors from the dark years of the plague were still fresh in the survivor’s minds. They considered those times a war. A war that had been started by healers. Healers who spread the deadly disease, and refused to heal it. Of course, it was utter nonsense. We couldn’t heal the plague. And we didn’t start it. But in the midst of the chaos, no one would listen to reason. Someone had to be blamed. Right? The girl’s screams pierced the broken remains of my heart. I couldn’t stand it any longer. Three years on the run. Three years of hiding. Three terrible years full of fear and loneliness. For what? My life? Yes, I live and breathe and exist. Nothing else.”
That is how we are interduce to the main character Avery who (unknown to her) is the last surviving healer. It is clear from the start, that Avery has a soft spot when it comes to sick children. She just can’t bear the thought of a child dying because she fears for her life.
“Flinging my blankets off, I hurried downstairs. I didn’t need to change since I would never sleep in night clothes or sleep without my boots on. When you were on the run, the possibility of being surprised in the middle of the night was high. There was no time to waste when escaping, so I wore my black travel pants and black shirt to bed every night. The dark colour ideal for blending into shadows. Another trick of being on the run involved finding a second-floor room with both front and back doors and no skeletons. They were hard to find as most towns had burned the plague victims’ homes in the misguided attempt to destroy the disease. And many victims died alone. My current hideout was above the family with the dying child. I knocked on my downstairs neighbour’s door loud enough for the sound to be heard over the child’s wet wails. When it opened, her mother, Mavis, stared wordlessly at me. She held the two-year-old girl in her strong arms, and the knowledge that her child was dying shone in her brown eyes. Her pale skin clung to her gaunt face. She swayed with pure exhaustion. Underneath the sheen of tears and red flush of fever, the little girl’s skin had death’s pale hue. In a few moments, she wouldn’t have the breath to scream. I held out my arms. “Mavis, go to sleep. I’ll watch…Fawn.” Finally, I remembered her name. Another rule to being on the run was to avoid getting close to anyone. No friends. But I needed to earn money, and I had to make a few acquaintances in order to keep up with the gossip. I’d stayed with Mavis’s children on occasion which helped with both.”
(*this next part contains a spoiler, please feel free to skip this part if you wish to be surprised.)
It is because of this choice, we are taken on an adventure none of the characters see coming. Avery had been captured by the town guards and was awaiting execution the following morning, when she is recued by a man with an agender other than turning her in for the gold bounty. It turns out that the man who recued Avery is a powerful forest magician known only as Kerrick, and the leader of a group of four other men on a mission to save a prince who may be The Fifteen Realms last hope against a psychopathic tyrant hell bent on expanding his kingdom to be all Fifteen Realms. But the prince is the very man who caused the mass execution of the healers.
The book is filled with twists and turns as the characters journey though the land, and come to know one another. Maria V. Snyder wrote this book so well that fans have became attached to the characters and can’t wait to see what is going to happen next. The way Maria wrote Touch Of Power, (the bombshell at the end of the book was so unexpected) was enough to keep the fan hanging on until next book Scent Of Magic.
Have you read Touch of Power? Let me know what you thought by leaving a comment. Thanks for reading and I hope you are looking forward to more from Maria V. Snyder just as much as I am.
You can find Touch of Power in all good book shops and online at https://www.amazon.com
And that is another one to add to the collection, and I already have someone else telling me I have Too Many Books