Thursday, January 26, 2012

Touch of Power by Maria Snyder

I've been looking forward to Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder for a while now, and was finally able to read it. I found it an enjoyable read, though not quite as fantastic as Poison Study, Snyder's first novel.

In Touch of Power, Avry is a Healer -- the last of the Healers, in fact. When a plague broke out which the Healers were unable to counteract, a rumor spread that the Healers had caused the plague. Now, there is a bounty on the head of any Healer, and Avry lives on the run, rarely using her gift. When she risks healing a sick child, she is caught and imprisoned. She's rescued by a man named Kerrick, who needs her to heal Prince Ryne, a man Avry detests. Kerrick, however, believes that Ryne is the only man who can stop the evil tyrant who is trying to gain political control in the wake of the plague. Saving him could mean saving the lives of thousands. And Ryne has the plague . . . which means that, if Avery heals him, she will be killed by the disease instead.

The story held together well enough, but I felt like a lot of the suspense in the plot stemmed from Avry and Kerrick keeping secrets from each other, and making assumptions about what the other person was thinking or feeling. This is by no means uncommon, particularly in romance plot lines of any genre, so it's not exactly a deal-breaker for me . . . just something I tend to notice. Also, one small detail irritated me the whole way through. A particular plant, the Death Lily, plays a major role in the story -- and for some reason, the author chose to pluralize it as Death Lilys, not Death Lilies. It's consistent throughout the book, so not a typographical error, but I can't imagine why one would choose to do that. As I said, a small thing -- but it took me right out of the story pretty much every time I ran across it.

If you think you can get past the niggling details that bothered me, I'd recommend this book.  It's set in a different fantasy world than Snyder's Ixia/Sitia novels, so knowledge of her other books isn't necessary.

(Review copy borrowed through my library system.)


  1. What did you think of all the Ixia/Sitia books? I really liked Poison Study and was pretty happy with the other two in that trilogy. I wasn't a huge fan of the second bunch, the ones with Opal as a main character. Too much of the character making the same mistakes over and over, and between the 6 books too much rape and torture. It felt like the author didn't know how to write anything else. And the ending felt contrived and artificial. There's forgiveness and then there's being ready for nomination to sainthood.

  2. I loved Poison Study, and really liked the next two in that trilogy. Like you, I didn't care much for Opal's story . . . in fact, I can't even remember if I read the third book. I'd say Touch of Power falls somewhere in between the two, for me.