Title: Touch of Power - Healer #1
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release date: 20 December 2011
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Fifteen Realms, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life...
It was the first time I read a book by Maria V. Snyder (author of the series Magic Study and Inside Out) and the truth is that she has already left an impact on me. It certainly won't be the last time I'll read something written by her.
A long time ago a plague spread in Fifteen Realms and it ended with the lives of more than half its population. The healer's immunity to it and their negative to cure it led everyone to think healers somehow created and spread the plague. Now people are organizing themselves and trying to keep everything they knew from disappearing while the government offers a reward if someone finds a healer, and later executes them. That is the reason why Avry hides her real identity and has to change location constantly.
The first thing that held my attention in Touch of Power were Avry's powers. She has healer powers, but she doesn't use “energy” or “magic” to just cure other people, but she absorbs their sickness or wound to herself, who heals faster than humans. I thought that was amazing! Another great point of the book were the adventures. Sometimes I suffer a little in the progress to reach the objective, but I enjoyed greatly Avry's experiences.
I liked Avry right away. There are occasions when I find it difficult to connect to the main characters, but this time I didn't have this problem whatsoever. She is a girl who has lived through hardships and she's a fighter, but we can't forget her side that worries so much about the well-being of the people. That's why she is a healer. And then there are the side characters, of course. First we have Kerrick, the leader of the band that “captures” her, who is pure mystery and has cold and strict personality. He has his own powers, which makes the story and magic theme even more exciting. And the rest of the band. Oh, how I liked them. Their personalities are so well defined that you felt practically one more of the family.
This is one of those books that makes you want to hug it while you read it. I loved it.