Review: Touch of Power / Author: Maria V Snyder / Format: Paperback / Publisher: Mira / Release Date: Out Now
Strong female voices are always welcome in genre fiction, especially fantasy novels which seem to be filled with magical men with their mighty swords slaying anything that happens to be in the way.
Touch of Power follows the story of Avry, a young woman with mystical healing powers. She should have it made; after all, magical medicine is the sort of thing everyone wants. Unluckily for Avry, the world she lives in has just recovered from a devastating plague, and everyone blames the healers for its cause. Worst still, there’s a bounty on healers, and they’re wanted dead, not alive.
Snyder creates a rich world for this simple fantasy drama to develop. We are left guessing throughout as to whom the real heroes and villains might be, and what the secrets of the world really are. The magic is logical and consistent, with just enough of a touch of mystery to keep the story moving forward. This is a heavily character driven tale where the main character is interesting and sympathetic, though the story does suffer from the lead being perhaps a little bit too nice at times.
Touch of Power also suffers from having a world that is a little bit more interesting than the lead characters; though we are meant to care about Avry and the people she meets on the way, the real star of the novel is the plague ravaged world they live in, and the strange and wonderful horrors that surround them. Though it’s hardly a fantasy version of Mad Max, the consequences of a society heavily dependent on magical healing suddenly losing its main source of medicine is a compelling and extremely readable one.
In addition, Snyder’s writing style is gentle and compelling, not only does she keep the reader guessing, she also lulls you into a false sense of security. Touch of Power is the first in a new series of books and it’s going to be very interesting to see where the author goes from here.