Maria V. Snyder, Mira, December 2011.
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan absorbs 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 Fifteen Realms, 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….
I loved Maria Snyder's Study books and was so excited when I saw Touch of Power. Snyder has a way of creating vivid new worlds and intriguing plots and this book is no exception. I enjoyed the chatty feel and quirky humour in the book - that combined with the adventure and twists made for a page turning read.
The story captured me right away. I liked how exciting it was and the mystery around Avry and her healing powers. Avry is a strong character, surviving on her own, but still has lots of room to grow. She is stubborn and smart. She does need some physical protection, especially at first, but she even grows this way as well.
The other characters in the book really made it for me, the band of rogues who kidnapped her were great and diverse and endearing. Kerrick is also good, the leader of this band - I like how he develops, though some of this is predictable. The tension between him and Avry was fun.
One of the things that really made this book good is the dilemma that Avry faces. I won't give this away, but I like that kind of moral dilemma being explored in a book.
Like the Study books, I found this one blurred that line between young adult and adult fantasy. I honestly wasn't sure how to classify this one, though it is probably adult. I really recommend this book to those who like fantasy adventure stories with some romantic tension.