Maria Snyder is off to an excellent start with Touch of Power, Book 1 of The Healer series. The book centers on Avry of Kazan, a young woman with special power to heal those around her while she absorbs their ailments. One would think that this would be a revered power, but instead it puts a huge target on her back. Suspected of creating the plague that wipes out a significant part of the population, Healers are now persecuted and murdered. Against her best interests Avry secretly continues to heal those in need, often exposing herself. To survive she must lead a nomadic and lonely lifestyle.
This all changes when she ends up abducted by a rebel group who needs her power to heal their leader who has been M.I.A. There’s a hitch of course; healing this leader will cost her own life. Their leader, Kerric, is a prince himself though unconventional with a set of magical powers all his own. Against her will, she treks on a journey with them facing off against mercenaries, the undead, and nature itself. She begins to bond with them much to her chagrin, and re-evaluates who the enemies really are.
There’s a lot of action, adventure and magic in this series that I really enjoyed. The character development is well done, keeping it fairly realistic in this fictional setting. They aren’t as one dimensional as I was fearing, so I really connected with the story. I would put Avry in the “strong heroine” category. She’s not too badass but she’s not a fool either, taking a lot of initiative and being extremely brave when necessary. Overall, I like her.
I think the magic was very interesting without being too confusing. I look forward to how that evolves over the course of the series. The villain was slightly on the predictable side, and I sort of predicted how this would ends since I know it’s the beginning of a series, but I still enjoyed it and look forward to where things go next.
I may start reading more YA series again. For a while I haven’t been enjoying them as much as their adult counterparts, but it seems as if YA books centered around adults is as good as anything for me. Avry is twenty, and many of the adult novels are centered on twenty-somethings too, so the overlap works. I definitely recommend this one.
*ARC provided by NetGalley