Saturday, November 2, 2013

Touch of Power

Author: Maria V. Snyder
Release Date: December 20th, 2011
Publisher: Mira
Genre(s): YA Fantasy
Pages: 390
*1st of series*

~Spoilers are hidden! Highlight the page to see them:)~ 

Summary (Goodreads):
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes 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 Territories, 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...

This book was interesting, certainly.  I love Maria Snyder (Poison Study was awesome!), but that ending (among other things, but mainly the ending) was what made this just a 3 star read.  

Let’s start with the characters.

 I felt Kerrick and Avry could be synonymous for Valek and Yelena (as well as Janco/Ari and the Monkey twins, but to be honest, I didn’t realize this until my friend pointed it out) .  Maybe it was just me, but I saw a lot of parallels (character-wise and relationship-wise) between them (like the age thing and the I-didn’t-really-give-you-hints-that-I-liked-you-but-I-suddenly-do thing).  At times I felt like Yelena could be narrating this because she and Avery were SO similar.  

Romance-wise the book was eh (it’s similar to Poison Study), but that wasn’t the point of the book, so it didn’t really bother me.  The world building’s a little shaky (we don’t get much description about the other types of magicians), but I’m sure the author will clarify all that up in the following books.   

Romance aside, what I really loved about this entire book was Avry and her boys (I need to think of a cute name for them.  Avry and her puppies? It’s lame, but I think it works lol).  Her relationship with them and the relationships among the puppies (xD) was the adorabliest thing ever!  From Poppa Bear to the Twin Monkey to Flea (</3), they slowly broke down Avry’s defenses and eventually became one big family. (Of course, until the author decided to FOR NO GOOD REASON SLAUGHTER SWEETIE PIE FLEA. But ya know, it’s all good …)  It was so sweet to see the bonds they formed and all their interactions, and you really feel for these people who’ve lost so much and yet remain so optimistic (except for Kerrick. I don’t think that guy has an optimistic bone in his body-which of course makes him the perfect foil for Belen. XD) 

I’m not going to spend much time on the villains, except to say I love the depth Snyder gave them.  They all had their motives, their good sides and bad, and it was satisfying to see villains who were portrayed as people with multiple sides.  (Yes, even creepy-psychotic Tohon.)

Okay now onto the bad bits. (I use the term “bad” loosely because the only “bad” was really the ending.  Everything else was just a little annoying, but not necessarily bad.  Just minor qualms.)

Though I admired Avry’s compassion for the people, I thought it was weird that she didn’t once complain about having to take on the diseases.  Scars as a symbol of pride were not weird at all, but the way she willingly took on the diseases without having even one selfish thought was really weird.  I mean, it was nice and all that she was so compassionate about people, and I get it would be annoying if she complained about it every single time, but I felt if she had been even a teensy bit resentful, it would have added more depth to her character.  Another qualm (I love that word!) was how deals/ contracts were made so easily and so peacefully. Avry agreed to the terms readily, it seems, and those deals ended with her staying with the villain (!). 

And finally that ending. 

I hate Deus ex Machinas (my list of pet peeves when it comes to books just keeps growing lol).  No matter how dire a situation is, no matter how much I want the ending to be happy, I believe it’s always  best to end the story in a realistic manner (as realistic it gets in a fantasy world) and keep the flow, rather than pull a Deus ex Machina.  Besides the non-realistic thing (which is usually really flexible in fantasy, but still), it was too neat, too convenient.  It made the book anti-climatic, and ultimately, this turned me off from reading the rest of the series.  I’m just not really anticipating the next books in this series anymore.  (I will, of course, still read Snyder's other books, and maybe in the future I might pick this series up again, but for now...)  

Final thoughts?  It was a good read, but the ending fell flat, as well as a few qualms about similar characters. 

Thanks for reading!
 Rating: 3 out of 5

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