When I saw this on Netrgalley, I dithered about whether to request it or not because I haven't consistently loved every book this author has written. I didn't want to be sent the book and end up disliking it, but I took the plunge and was richly rewarded.
Avery is a healer, the only one left after her fellow citizens have systematically hanged everyone else with healing abilities. A viscious plague swept through the land, killing thousands of people and the healers were blamed for not only spreading it, but for refusing to heal those who caught it. It's all a huge misunderstanding of course, but someone needed to be blamed and healers were easy targets. Avery has spent the last few years hiding out, and is weary of always being on the move. In one small town she is finally caught, and is on her way to be excecuted when she is rescued by a small band of men who desperately need her talents. Their prince, Ryne, and leader of the campaign to take control of the Fifteen Realms from a mad man, has been struck with the plague and they require her healing abilities to make him whole again. The group journeys to where Ryne is being kept in hiding, and Avery struggles with the decision of whether to heal him or not. Ultimately it's her life for his, and she must decide if the cause is greater than any one life, even her own.
Touch of Power is straight up fantasy y'all. Well, fantasy with a little romance thrown in. The leader of the group of men that saved Avery from excecution is Kerrick, who has a little magic of his own, and he and Avery do not get along in the beginning of their journey. Kerrick can't understand why she won't willingly heal the prince (he doesn't know that she will die), and Avery has had dealings with Ryne in the past and isn't convinced he's worth the effort. But she listens to the arguments and after awhile she and Kerrick become quite close. It's actually a very sweet and tender romance, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Y'all know how much I love my heroes and heroines that loathe each other in the beginning, but inevitably fall in the end. Sigh.
The make believe world that the author has given us is detailed and descriptive. Usually when I read a fantasy novel I struggle with envisioning the setting, but this author knows her stuff and I was never lost or found it difficult to imagine where the characters were at any given time. The Fifteen Realms was beautiful and frightening at the same time, and I believed in the reality of it the whole time I was reading the book. Touch of Power pulled me in, and it was a great escape from the every day mundane.
My Summary: Even though I have a love/hate relationship with some of Maria V. Snyder's other books, Touch of Power is definitely in the love half. Avery was a strong, spunky character and I didn't envy her the decision she had to make. I loved her merry band of men that ultimately became her family, and Kerrick was hunky, yet capable and Avery and Kerrick together just made sense. I highly recommend this book, and I'm anxiously waiting for the next book to find out what happens next!
My Rating: A