By Kyra Smith-Cullen
March 14, 2013
With some books, all it takes is a look at the summary to know it will be something
that you’ll enjoy. “Touch of Power” by Maria Snyder looks good at face value, but ultimately fails.
At first, the story has true potential, presenting a fantasy world where healers can absorb the injuries of others but are hated because of their suspected roles in a plague that ravaged the land.
Avry of Kazan is an apprentice in the aftermath, constantly on the run to survive. When a small band of men give her protection, she has to choose whether the friend they want healed, a prince in a foreign land, is worth saving as she forms friendships with her companions.
Snyder introduces a variety of complex characters who all shine in their own ways as they develop. With the growth, the reader gets to learn about the motivation pushing each person forward. Some are doing it for what they believe is the greater good, stubbornly refusing to see other viewpoints. Others are doing it out of loyalty to a friend, but no motivation is as murky as the reasons the bad guy Tohon holds.
What kills the story is the writer’s vague explanations. In several instances, the main character knows something and tries to convey it, but the words fall flat and only confuse the reader. It promises resolution and answers, but fails to deliver.
At first glance, ‘Touch of Power’ is a tale that promises an adventure and, in some ways, it gives it. But Snyder’s inability to explain aspects of the story that are crucial ultimately works to her detriment. If a reader is looking for characters that will draw them in, but doesn’t care for plot, then this is their book.