Where did you get the book: e-ARC
Release date: Out now
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….
*blurb taken from author’s official website*
Lou: Has and I were big fans of the Poison series by Snyder. I read and reviewed the first book in the Opal series and I enjoyed it, but never picked up the 2nd and 3rd after reading not so good things about them. We reviewed Inside Out, the first book in the Insider series, and that really didn’t work for me. So I was really hesitant in reading this book, but after reading the blurb, it seems to have gone back to it’s origins from the Poison series. Sadly though, I really disliked this book. It rubbed me up the wrong way on so many occasions and I got quite angry. Avery’s future and dependence throughout the story was dependent on a man SO many times. Before I get into it though, I’ll describe what the story is about.
Avry is a healer, but she has been hiding and running for over three years since the plague hit which wiped out millions of people. The plague is thought to have been created and originated from the Healers so the people who didn’t die from the sickness went and hunted and executed all of the healers. Avry has managed to stay in hiding until one day, she heals a sick girl with her magic and for that she’s rewarded by execution. That is until someone saves her, and that someone is Kerrick. Kerrick is the leader of the bounty hunters, and he needs Avry more than she knows. He needs her to heal someone very special, and he doesn’t give Avry much choice. So off Avry goes with this band of rogues because what other choice does she have.
The beginning of the book was so choppy. The scenes didn’t flow very easily together, and at points I was confused because at one time Avry was running out of breath, and in the next moment she was fine. There were also instances where in one sentence she was in one scene, and the next sentence, she was in another place. This only happened in the beginning though, but it still was not a great way to start. I also got no sense of the world they lived in and what type of environment they were in.
Has: I felt the same way about her Glass series although I enjoyed her Outside series much more — although that had flaws. With Touch of Power, I actually quite liked the opening but there were flaws such as the ones Lou listed, but it didn’t bother me as much because this was an e-arc. I really liked the setting and premise of this series, and I didn’t get feel that the world-building was weak. I would have liked to know more but since this was the first book, it was laying out the different factions and the conflict of the story.
I didn’t get the notion that Avry was being dictated by men, and as part of the plot a powerful woman, Estrid, was calling the shots about her life and that of her sister. She is also behind a powerful religious cult that is threatening the land. And she held more power over Avry because she had her sister and she was more susceptible and vulnerable to that. I do think that Avry is just trying to survive and she was in hard place and trapped in a situation she was unable to get out of, especially since her profession could have been behind the plague.
Lou: It wasn’t the fact that she was dictated by men, but that in most of the situations she was in, the men treated her like crap. We have Kerrick, the hero of the book, who slaps Avry across the face so hard she falls to the floor and is bruised for the next few days. This is the hero of the book and I’m really angry about it. Then we have Tohon who wants to rule all of the Kingdoms for his own — and is the villain of the book — who used his magical abilities to incite sexual attraction in Avry when she was captured by him. And because of his power, she can’t help but respond to him. But when she’s not being bound by Tohon, there is no revulsion at what happened. She has this nonchalance about the whole affair that really made me a little sick to the stomach. I didn’t understand why Avry had to endure that between the two men. Kerrick later becomes ‘decent’ but the violence he showed towards her at the beginning has made me sad that he’s the hero of the book because godforbid we have a hero that’s actually a nice guy.
Has: The slap by Kerrick gave me pause but they had a pretty antagonistic relationship when she learned she was helping the man who was responsible for the death of her father and brother. Although I did find that slap pretty much out of character for Kerrick, and that was a forced scene to cause conflict, but for him, he was desperate to save a man who was like a brother to him while Avry is a stranger and was early in their relationship which was bumpy.
For Tohon, I actually found him the weakest character and link in the book for me. His character was very cartoonish and I had an image in my head of him twirling his mustache while tying Avry on a train track. I don’t think he was that effective for a villain although he was smart. I just felt he cliched as a character and I didn’t believe his reasons on the things he did. If it was plain old ego and power grab I would have believed it more. I also felt the way he used his magical ability is part of the magic rules for the series. I think its like magnets being attracted and I thought Avry showed she hated being with him, because she consciously didn’t want to respond. Her magical ability also had a similar response to Kerrick’s magic and that was more harmonious so I think this element is going to expanded upon in the sequel.
Lou: Tohon put me in mind of a 10 year old boy who was having a temper tantrum. He wanted to take Avry away from Kerrick because Kerrick’s parents loved him, and Tohon’s didn’t. Through out the book, nothing worked for me because I had no sense of the world building. They seem to travel place to place within paragraphs and it was all so hazy. A lot of the book was all dialogue, and it was missing a lot of descriptive scenes. Enemies kept popping up, and they defeated them, and it was rinse lather and repeat. And the situation with Avry’s sister was so off for me. Not sure why Avry wanted to go back and try and make amends with her sister who was joyful at the fact of trying to kill Avry. How is the author supposed to make that work in future books? Her sister is a psycho! I thought for most of the book, the plot was so slow because all we knew was that Tohon wanted to take over the kingdoms, Kerrick and the Priestess wanted to stop him, and that Avry needed to heal someone important. And for a lot of the book, nothing else happened. There were a few deaths, but I didn’t feel any emotion because I wasn’t connected to any of the characters. There was a huge disconnect for me.
All in all, I was very disappointed in this book and I won’t be reading anymore in the series. The fact that the hero is a man who treats the heroine like shit and only feels sad afterwards that he did such a thing makes me want to go read lots of romances with good guys. The fact that he also tied her to a tree for days on end because she wouldn’t easily fall into what he wanted, I pretty much wanted him to disappear. There seems to be a pattern with heroines of Snyder’s getting treated like crap with men. I think now, it’s the author’s style. I will say that I did enjoy how Avry’s magic worked, but that was it. I give Touch of Power a D-.
Has: Although I agree with you about some aspects of the World-building, such as more descriptions – I actually thought it was well thought out and I liked the different factions that was forming or have formed. Although I wished there was more information on the evil one with the undead army which held more threat than the other factions. I felt the chemistry that was shared with the cast of characters especially with Belen and Kerrick and the others with Avry was great and for me I was sad when there was a certain death that happened. I thought it was more like a road-trip with the characters changing their outlook towards the end of their destination. I really felt that despite their obstinate opinions, Kerrick and Avry really changed their outlook at the end of the book. I also loved the imagery of the lethal death Lillies and I really like that twist at the end concerning them and I look forward to see how this all pans out.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and although there was some flaws, I thought it was a promising start to the series, with political intrigue and a complicated war on the horizon. I thought the buildup to the romance with Kerrick and Avry was really steady and despite that scene with the slap, I really liked how their relationship changed and evolved. I will definitely be picking up the next book of the series!
I give Touch of Power a B-