Friday, May 11, 2012

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Avry is a healer, she absorbs others' pain and sickness into her body and they are instantly healed. But after the plague wiped out much of the population and the kingdom is in upheaval as different families constantly struggle for the political upper hand, healers are blamed and hunted. Avry survives by keeping a low profile and constantly being prepared to run. Her luck runs out when she heals a child and contracts a mild for of the plague, she is taken into government custody and sentenced to death. Her unfortunate end is waylaid by a small band of rebels led by a handsome enigmatic man. They have saved so the can take her to a prince that could join the different factions and bring the Nine Kingdoms back to their former glory. Avry must decide if she is willing to sacrifice herself for the good of the kingdom, when the man she is supposed to save is the reason her family is dead.

I really enjoyed Maria V. Snyder's Study series, they were such a great mix of high fantasy, fantastic characters, and great storytelling. Then she wrote the Glass series, set in the same 'world' as the Study series, and I wasn't thrilled. It seemed a bi flat, with only adequate storytelling, and not great characters. And then she had the Insider series which I thought was fairly terrible. With this past history, I was a little nervous when I started reading this book but man I'm glad I did.

This book went back to the Study series and what I loved about that. Maria V. Snyder creates a complete culture with conflicts that are intriguing and engaging. Yes there are still tropes that she has used (and overused) in the past that I do not love in this book, she's still made you care about the characters which redeems the whole thing for me. Avry is a character with a really well-developed back story, and the other side characters are thoroughly entertaining and well rounded. I enjoyed their quirks and idiosyncrasies, and love the fact that Ms. Snyder really followed through with them.

I still have some reservations though. The story itself is better, MUCH better than Inside Out, but it still wasn't as solid as I've seen her write in the past. Avry has a rather abrupt change of heart that left me questioning her decision. So that was awkward.

The second major thing is that Ms. Snyder seems to have discovered the love triangle and can't seem to let it go. There isn't an overt one yet, but it seems like she's setting it up for one in the next book. No thank you Maria. We do not need nor need a love triangle. Just say no.

Anyway, that's it. I liked it. I'm going to read the sequel. I'm hoping that there's no love triangle. Yay!

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