First, thanks to the Harlequin publishers and NetGalley for the ARC of the "Touch of Power", written by Maria V. Snyder.
Touch of Power is the first book in the Healer series. The magic, plot and characters are absolutely fantastic. There are 15 realms, ruled by kings and there is 11 kinds of magic (air, water, rock, earth, moon, sun, forest, life, death, etc.). Healing is one such type of magic and is very rare.
The story starts with Avry of Kazan realm, running and hiding to save her own life from the public. Avry is a healer, who takes other's diseases and wounds into herself. The only advantage of this is she can heal 10 times faster than the regular person. Well, then why is she chased? Because there is a plague that's started around the people and spreads and kills everyone and people started to think that healers and their research are the reason for this. So, there is a heavy price placed on the healers and people hunt them down. Avry is the last of the healers, left alive. When she cures a sick child from initial stages of plague, she is found and given to the soldiers.
When Avry waits in prison, for her death, she is rescued by Kerrick of Alga realm and his men (Belen, Vinn, Quain and Flea). Kerrick needs Avry to save his friend, Prince Ryne, from the plague. Then the real adventure of their travel starts. Avry would not consent to heal Ryne, for he is the one who started this healer hunting. But soon, she becomes friendly with Kerrick's men, which has not happened to her in a long time. They start to trust each other. Though Kerrick is always closed and neutral to all reactions, Avry has a way to get into his skin and make him angry.
Kerrick and his men try to convince Avry to heal Ryne on their journey. Avry thinks that Kerrick doesn't care about her, because if she heals Prince Ryne, she will die. She has to decide whose life is more important. Is Ryne's life worth saving, by losing her own life, in the process? She also learns more about the competitors to the throne as King, their plots to kill Ryne, Kerrick's past, his magic and his loyalty to Ryne. Tohon, who is the other competitor to the throne, along with Prince Ryne and others, has some "dead"ly thoughts and he thinks Avry is the bait to hurt Kerrick.
The action and adventures continue, all through their journey. The characters in the book are so endearing, you don't want the book to end, at all..ever. Belen (named as the Poppa Bear by Avry), is so protective of this men and Avry, and is such a lovable character. The other characters are also so good and easy, that its easy to correlate with someone you know.
The writing is simple and sometimes weak, but the plot strengthens the book. The romance is less, but well growing relationship. The fantasy is thick in the air and the adventures in the quest keeps readers in place. Its easy to love this book. There is not one place that I found boring in the book.
Overall, an engaging and engrossing tale.
About this author:
Some favourite quotes:
"...things happen that are out of your control.
Kerrick gave him a tight smile. 'You mean I'm not omnipotent?'
'You're not even semi-potent.'
'Is that even a word?' Kerrick asked.
'He probably means you're impotent,' I offered."