Saturday, December 10, 2011

Touch Of Power, Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch Of Power
Author: Maria V. Snyder (author website)
Release Date: 20th Dec. 2011
Age Group: Young Adult/Adult
Genre: Fantasy
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 starhalf star

Uhhhh, WOW! Move over Across the Universe and Shatter Me, I have a new favourite book of 2011 (don’t worry, I still love you. It’s a shared first place). Magical, gripping, and compulsively readable, Maria V. Snyder’s Touch Of Power offers a brave heroine, multi-faceted characters, fantasy, and seriously, what more could you ask for?

From 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... 

Three years ago, plague tore through the Fifteen Kingdoms, decimating the population, destroying governments and kingdoms, and shaking the world to its very foundations. Avry of Kazan is a Healer. Laying her hands on the sick and injured, she heals by absorbing the ailment of a patient into her own body, where she recovers at a ten times the speed of a normal person. But rather than being grateful for her gift, people want her dead. Her kind are captured and executed... because they’ve been blamed for spreading the plague.

Finally caught after three years on the run, Avry is almost relieved to be captured. But as she awaits execution in her prison cell, she’s sprung by a small band of rogues. They offer her freedom in exchange for a simple task... heal a dying prince. Avry has her own reasons for refusing... the least of which being she’ll die in the attempt...

Words fail me.

It’s no secret I’m a BIG Maria V. Snyder fan. Up until this point, I’d still though Poison Study was her finest work to date, but Touch of Power offers it a serious run for its money. So many things are SO good about this book.

The Leading Lady:

In Avry, Snyder’s given birth to yet another inspirational heroine. A victim and a survivor (Maria V. Snyder has a major recurring theme going on in her work with this kind of girl), Avry has special powers, true, but her real power is her grit, resolve, and inner core of strength. Avry is never a damsel in distress. She’s intelligent, deliciously sarcastic, and self-reliant. Avry makes mistakes, and yes, gets rescued a couple of times, but boy can she take care of herself. This is the kind of heroine I read for.

The Gang:

Maria V. Snyder has a real flair for creating fabulous ‘side’ characters. Touch Of Power is no exception, with characters like Belan, Flea, Quain and Vinn that bring it to life. They dance across the pages and wriggled their way under my skin. I wound up caring for this bunch every inch as much as the leads. I loved the banter between Avry and the group she’s assimilated into.

The Big Bad:

Touch Of Power boasts a deliciously deranged baddie, as well as an array of foes and foils of varying degrees of threat, moral ambiguity and danger. Snyder has an incredible knack for writing utterly despicable female characters. You’ll find out what I’m talking about (mwahahaha!).

But let's talk about the big bad, shall we? Turns out the most powerful magician in a world full of magic also happens to be pathologically insane, and a king. Much like Warner in this year's AMAZING Shatter Me, King Tohon is seven different shades of batsh*t crazy. He seems to want what's best for the people of the world as whole, but doesn't give a damn about anyone other than himself on an individual level. Or perhaps he's just using the promise of a better world to further his own agenda. He's brilliant, manipulative, self-serving and narcissistic, but is capable of real charm... Uh, wait, writing this down, dude sounds like a textbook psychopath, huh? He's awful... and so, so fun to hate.

The Kerrick:

And Kerrick, my word! (Kerrick! Kerrick! Kerrick! Kerrick! Kerrick! <3) I wanted to slap him silly. Prickly, stubborn, bossy and... wait, he’s not sounding very loveable, is he? Just wait. You’ll see. Despite his (many) failings, I grew to love this character.

And instalove? You guys hate the instant fall into love thing, right? Well this its antithesis. The romantic subplot that builds (slowly) throughout this book is a long journey, and a joy to witness. Snyder has this nailed.

The Verdict:

Once again, Maria V. Snyder has created an exquisitely realised world, brimming with excitement, magic and intrigue. The sharp, funny, sarcastic banter between the party of heroes is a delight, and from page the first, Touch Of Power is filled with fights, flight and action. I’ve said this before, but fans of Kristin Cashore’s Graceling and Fire will lap up Snyder’s Study series, and Touch Of Power even more so. Fast-paced, alluring fantasy that's almost appallingly entertaining, Touch Of Power is one of those books that will worm its way into your brain and leave you wandering around the gorgeous verdant forest with its heroes long after the final page is turned.

Want It?

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  1. Awesome, awesome review Sarah!! You literally made me giggle with you subtitle "The Kerrick"!! Oh, how we all love The Kerrick! Me and Jess from She Known As Jess have an ongoing feud over go gets him. I swear I'm winning, but you can't tell her that ;)

    Don't you just love Maria <3

    Rachel @ The Rest Is Still Unwritten

  2. Oh my goodness, same thing with Valek from Poison Study! If I wasn't rather fond of my husband, I'd be fighting my BFF to the death for him, I swear! Mwaha!

    At least now we have Kerrick there's more to go around? XD

  3. Oh, yes begun my love affair with Maria's books. She sure knows how to write romances that I love. Not instant love, but laced with sexual attraction and tension.

    Haha! Hubby's lucky you're fond on him then. With all the sexy book men he's got a lot to compete with. Good thing he's got a stranglehold on your heart ;D

    Rachel @ The Rest Is Still Unwritten

  4. I LOVED how she developed Kerrick! Before I started the book, I read a review that said Kerrick was the love interest. So I was expecting a totally charming, swoony guy from the beginning... and instead we saw what a jerk he could be haha. And I so loved it, watching as his layers were slowly peeled back and the relationship between he and Avry transformed <3

    And oh how I adored the gang!! Their interactions with Avry were perhaps my favourite part of the novel. It's unfair one woman should be so talented, but I guess we're reaping the rewards of Maria's genius brain :D LOVE your review!

  5. omg I want to read this one too! I have this on my wishlist. YOu know I need to read Maria's books, i have been reading alot of good reviews about her books. You made me more excited too!

    Great review Sarah! x


  6. Argh! Another book to add to the ever growing TBR pile! I'm all for a strong, intelligent heroine at the moment so Avry is right up my alley.

  7. Wow!! Love your enthusiasm!! This book sounds so great... thx for sharing, I'm definitely looking into this one!!

    Loved your story about the stolen Bible - thx for swinging by my blog!! :-)

  8. I haven't tried anything by this author yet but your enthusiasm definitely makes me want to try one soon. Hmm, might try and get this one off Netgalley...

  9. I just wrote my gushing review on this book! OMG it was amazing, spellbinding. A full-on 5 stars from me. YES YES YES I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH ALL YOU SAID! I hated Kerrick at the beginning, but, Snyder must have been working some magic on me because by the end he was totally swoon-worthy. Somehow she makes Kerrick WORK.

    I also mentioned that fans of GRACELING would find much to like in this one. God, this one was just brilliant. Can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy! I like all three covers (AU, UK, US) ~ a tough decision to decide whether I'll grab the US one. UK and AU are already on my bookshelf (in my mind).


    @Brodie: YES! I HATED him. I mean, he freaking HIT her! He's a lady ebater! And then I wound up LOVING him! Mwaha! Oh, and the gang = <3

    @Lalaine: Oh, you're going to love this. I PROMISE! Or your money back! Mwaha! No, seriously, it's amazing. I SO can't wait to hear your thoughts!

    @Lan: Oh, I SO know the feeling. Kristin @ Growing Up YA MADE me read this one before anything else on my TBR (I was feeling really overwhelmed by it), and I'm so grateful. Hope you make a dent in that pile over Christmas. It's how Im' planning on spending mind XD

    @Burgandy Ice: Aw, thanks! Pleasure, and I'm glad you liked the story. It always makes me giggle :D

    @Chrissie: She's AMAZING. You NEED to get this one from NetGalley, and then GO READ EVERYTHING ELSE SHE'S EVER WRITTEN! MWAHA! Especialyl Poison Study! <3 Valek XD

    @Cass: YES! Oh my goodness, I'm SO glad you loved it. Isn't it amazing? I'm in love with UK and AU covers. The US one is OK... but I mean, ours are better XD
    Seriously, though, I could happily buy one of each :D

  11. This was fabulous wasn't it! I loved that it reminded me of Poison Study but could hold its own as well. Tohon was majorly creepy and while I wasn't a fan of Kerrick at first I was so happy when he warmed up by the end. I pretty much wanted to hug their little group they were so awesome!

  12. Alright, you've sold me! I have yet to read any books from this author (I know, I know), but I've been intrigued by them -- especially this one. I now need it in my grubby little hands ASAP so I just placed a pre-order. :P

    P.S. Your blog is so gorgeous and clean. Love it!!

  13. Great review as always! I loved this book! My favourite Snyder book was Poison Study and while this one didn't quite beat it, but it was pretty close. By the way I love the australian cover! <3

  14. @Erin: oh my goodness, thank you! I kind of love your reviews because you're never afraid to say what you mean. I love reading about you hating a book almost as much as hearing you loved it!

    My fave is Poison Study, too! Nothing--NOTHING--beats Valek. XD

  15. MY dear!!!!!! kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! You killed me with this review! I so wanna read it asap! and my pile us huge! the hugest of huges! holy cow! Thanks for this awesome and enthusiastic review =9
    Im glad there is no insta love, though it doesnt bother me when the dude is ultra delicious! XDD

    kyaa!! muah!

  16. Aah, so happy to see a review that shows off the same enthusiasm I felt while reading this book! I really really really loved this story, as I have loved every other book by Snyder, and now I just have to try to be patient while waiting for the sequel. (So not happening, I'm an impatient reader..:P)

  17. WOW awesome review, this is going on my must read list. I loved Poison Study and Magic Study but still havent read Fire Study :)

  18. Teddy, you'll LOVE it. It's just as good as Poison Study!!

    @Nina: we so have that in common! I'm such an inpatient reader, always reading the last page first, and guarding sequels when I'm not whiny for them toncome out NOW NOW NOW! Hehe! So glad you loved ToP, and liked my review! Thank you!! Xx

  19. YAAAAAAAAAY!!! Oh my gosh, Sarah, this was an amazingly epic and totally empty-my-pockets-of-babysitting-money sort of review!!! If I ever wanted to read this book before, I want to read it QUADRUPLE the amount I did now! I've never read a Maria V. Snyder book before even though I've heard amazing things about her, so I definitely think I'm going to start with Touch of Power! ;)

    Amazing review as always, Sarah!!! <3 The lack of insta-love and comparison to Graceling was enough to sell me completely!

  20. Sarah!! Freaking awesome review is what this is. o.o I'm so glad I'm picking this up like right now! I'm even more excited than ever. And I want Kerrick! Yes please! And---yeah. It just sounds awesome. Now I'm going to pick it up. *runs*

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. What an amazing review! This book is now a must read for me! It has everything i like: a strong heroine, a hero you both love and hate, and an amazing cast of side characters that help make the story come to life. Thanks for the review!

    I also want to thank you for stopping by my site. After such an amazing review, I had to sign up to your blog. I'm your newest stalker..uh, I mean


  23. Love your enthusiasm!! I read some conflicting stuff on this book, but it sounds as good as it looks like it is.

    Thx for the comment you posted on my review of PURE - I seriously appreciated that, and I don't think blogger sends you my response, so THANK YOU!! That review was hard to write!!

  24. Oh... the ocean scene you describe sounds AMAZING, only so far away!! You'll have to take a picture!!!! As for the church of MVS - Lol. I could use a book THAT great. I hope I win, too, but regardless... I'LL GET THAT BOOK! Lol

  25. Totally agree with everything you said! I especially love the way that this is aimed at an older crowd while still having YA elements. So many times I've wished for some adult in my YA or some YA in my adult and this totally gets it right!

  26. It was just okay for me but I am so glad that you enjoyed it.

  27. YAY soooo glad you loved it :) The characters, plot wow everything sounds soooo perfect! Great review :)

    International 300 Follower Giveaway

  28. Great review! I soooo want to read this book. The cover is amazing and I've read so many wonderful reviews already.

  29. I can't read your review at moment as I am 3/4's way through Touch Of Power but I am loving this book!!! I started last night and nearly finished. I love Belen, what a teddy bear!


  30. Wow, this sounds good! It wasn't even on my to-read list but I think it should be now!

  31. OMG, fabulous review Sarah. <3 I LOVE Maria V. Snyder and have been dying to get a hold of this book. Your review is making me way too eager to read this now! How is this woman SO AMAZING at writing?!

  32. Awesome review. I absolutely love the cover of the US edition but I find all three versions of the covers I've seen to be really good.

  33. Great review! I love this book! I love Belen and the guys. They're just so cool and funny.



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