Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Posted: August 16, 2012 in Book reviews
Tags: , , , ,

When I first heard about Maria V. Snyder’s new book, I immediately thought of disaster, train wrecks, and nuclear bombs accidentally going off. Why? Well, she debuted with a great book called Poison Study that was literally one of the first books I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and I loved it. Sure, I’ve read some better books, but it was pretty damn good at the time. So, when I heard she was making a spin-off series from the original trilogy, I was ecstatic. Then I heard about the protagonist. Imagine, if you will, if you’d just finished reading about a strong woman that did not shy away from danger, yet still knew the meaning of fear and was human in the sense that she wasn’t perfect. Then imagine that you read a book supposedly considered its successor where the protagonist is a weak willed worm that cannot even stand up for herself to the simplest things. I’m not saying you have to be powerful to be strong, but if you have a weak personality, weak power, AND a weak story… Well, it just doesn’t sound all that good.

So, naturally, I assumed the worst when I heard about a series she was starting about a Healer. Now I scold myself for my cynicism, because it was honestly a great book. I’ve read quite a bit of books set in first person, and while I much prefer third person perspective ( my own style for when it comes to writing), I do like reading some tales in first person. Problem is, only very few people can manage to pull off first person because, first of all, your protagonist HAS to be likable, or your reader is stuck with someone they hate for the next hundred or so pages.

Second of all, I would suggest you make your protagonist very satirical or at least slightly funny. Because, let me tell you, if we were reading Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson, and the entire time, we were stuck with Kaladin… Well, it wouldn’t have been as enjoyable, since I didn’t even like his chapters all that much to begin with. I loved Dalinar’s and Adolin’s chapters, though. Back to the point, Touch of Power was fast paced, filled with dozens of plot threads that were nicely tied up in the end. There are some issues that I did have with the story, though.

For example, the overall mystery they left the ending in. I’m not saying you need to flat out tell the reader, “And they lived happily ever after,” but if you leave the reader without a definite ending of the plot you started out, it’s going to piss off a lot of people. Once again, I go back to Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. The ending was handled perfectly. Mysteries were finally solved, but mysteries also had just begun, and for me, that was what it made it special.

Don’t get me wrong though. Touch of Power is a wonderful read. You are introduced to fully formed and lovable characters, and brought into a world where healers are executed for twenty gold pieces, realms are at war with each other, and you’re in constant danger of being eaten by a giant flower. It’s a great tale, and I would suggest it to anyone.


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