Welcome to Once Upon A Time’s stop on the Touch of Power blog tour! I’m very excited to be a part of this, especially having read and loved the book, so do excuse me if I squee a little bit. Right, good. So make sure you take a look at Maria’s start to the tour and enjoy! I have my review of Touch of Power, a little interview with Maria and a couple of other things that got me all excited!

Review

[rating:4.5]
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Series:
 Healer #1
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Publisher: Mira
Pages: 390
Published: December 2011
Source: Received for review
Goodreads | Amazon (UK/US) | Book Depository

First sentence:

The little girl wouldn’t stop crying.
Blurb

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…

Thoughts

Touch of Power is Maria V. Snyder’s 9th novel and it most definitely does not disappoint. In fact, I personally enjoyed it much more than Poison Study which is one of my favourite books to date. Maria has outdone herself. I think it touches enough on epic fantasy to suit my tastes, however, it’s also aimed more towards a younger generation of readers making it much less overbearing than a lot of epic fantasy can be. In all honesty, I feel a little uncomfortable categorizing Touch of Power within any age group because it simply feels as though Maria didn’t write this story with a reader age in mind, she just wrote a good story.

In general, there were a fair few aspects of Touch of Power that felt comfortably familiar to me as a fan of the Study series. Kerrick was very similar to Valek. Avry was fairly similar to Yelena, though Yelena is a tad bit more ruthless. There is the two silly brother-like characters in Loren and Quain, not to mention the story beginning with the threat of execution and then the character being given a second chance to prove herself. But where Poison Study had its’ shortcomings, Touch of Power was much better. I still found the writing a little clunky in places with too short sentences, but after a while of reading I didn’t notice it at all as I just became sucked into the Fifteen Kingdoms along with Avry. Maria has this brilliant way of pulling you into the story and gripping you within its’ clutches, I wouldn’t be surprised if she happens to be magical herself.

There’s a lot going on throughout the story, the magic system is intensely interesting, and it’s lightly humorous. If you’re anything like me, you will not be able to put this book down. Sure, it’s a little predictable in parts, but it’s still interesting to see how the characters will get there and it’s all wrapped up nicely at the end with promises of plenty to come in the rest of the series. The Death and Peace Lilies, and the plague in particular will be very interesting to learn more about in the coming novels!

I would strongly recommend Touch of Power to fans of fantasy with realistically strong female protagonists, and if you’re already a fan of Maria V. Snyder, don’t miss this one! She has done it again. Touch of Power is simply marvelous.

The Healer series:

1. Touch of Power

Interview

What inspired you to write A Touch of Power?

I had this vague idea about a healer or an apprentice healer during an epidemic.  She was either going to be sought after for her powers – like everyone wanting her, or be hunted.  I wasn’t sure.  Then one night my daughter couldn’t sleep and she wanted me to tell her a story.  She knew all my other books, so I started telling her about this healer.  And every night, she’d ask, “What’s next?”  That’s why Touch of Power is dedicated to my daughter.

What is your preferred writing environment?

My office.  My husband built me this beautiful desk made from cherry wood that had grown on his childhood farm.  It’s huge and I can hide behind it J.  He also built me two whole walls of built-in bookcases with the cherry wood.  I play music (mostly pop, rock and classical), and always have a cup of tea nearby. There are toys on my desk to fiddle with when I’m thinking and weapons in my office to help me “act out” those action scenes so they are realistic and accurate.

Who would you call your greatest influences?

One author who really influence me was Dick Francis. His mystery stories are fast-paced and written in first person point of view, and he has these wonderful  cliff hangers at the end of each chapter. Also Kate Elliott, Mercedes Lackey, Barbara Hambly, and Marion Zimmer Bradley all had a hand in why I choose strong females to tell my stories.  My kids also help me see the world a little differently.

Would you like to see any of your novels adapted for the big or small screen?

I would love to see the Study series adapted for the small screen.  Movies can never do a book justice because they are only 2 hours long, while a TV series can include everything.  I’d love for Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly) to take on the project – that’s my ultimate dream!  However, I wouldn’t say no to a movie – I do have two kids to get through university ;>

How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?

Cooking, cleaning, laundry, promoting, answering emails…oh, did you mean fun things?  I play volleyball, make jewellery, read, and take pictures.

Animated Book Cover

Contest!

Create a video review of A Touch of Power and be in with a chance of winning an iPad!

Maria V. Snyder has teamed up with top teen mag Mizz to give you the chance to win an iPad and be the official book review for MizzMag TV to boot! All you need to do to enter is make a video review of A Touch of Power. MIRA Ink is giving away free review copies to the first 50 people who get in touch, so visit facebook/MIRAInk for more details on how to get involved! Also, check out Mizz Mag TV for an exclusive video of Maria talking about her new Healer series!