(funky animated cover!)
6th January, 2012, Mira Ink
398 pages, Paperback
Themes: healing, mad kings, magic, persecution, fugitive, nature, plague, good attitude, taking risks, children, protecting dear ones, family ties, deception, secrets abound, silence, friendship, occasionally moderate romance, lots of high peril and humour, tissues needed.
Summary received in a press related email
Avry's power to heal the sick should earn her respect in the plague-torn land of Kazan. Instead she is feared. Her kind are blamed for the horrifying disease that has taken hold of the nation.
When Avry uses her forbidden magic to save a dying child, she faces the guillotine. Until a dark, mysterious man rescues her from her prison cell. His people need Avry's magic to save their dying Prince. The very Prince who unleashed the plague on Kazan.
Saving the Prince is certain to kill Avry - yet she already faces a violent death. Now she must choose - use her healing touch to show the ultimate mercy or die a martyr to a lost cause?
Wow. Wow. WOW! I'd be tempted to leave the review of that, but that wouldn't be helpful. I adore Maria's previous series, and I felt like I was at home with this book. I prefer Avry to Yelana, who is a tough character to beat. I think this is because Avry has similar desires to survive, but she heals people which is a quality I admire. Elements such as overhanging death threats, inprisonment/poison, hidden love, enemies having an insane amount of surprises up their sleeves are common to all of Maria's books, and yet each series - especially this book - has that edge. There isn't quite so much in the romance side of things which I quite like. I will be rereading this a lot, and I'm eager to see how Avry's power will grow. This 10/10 book will have it's sequel in 2013.
Be sure to check out Maria's website which has recently had a make over. A Touch of Power has it's own microsite.
Start where I first learnt about Maria's work, in Poison Study.
Guest blog post: Maria has very kindly answered 5 questions. I'll leave you with them, but I'd like to say thank you to Maria for the answers, and for continuing to write such awesome books which I wish to hand to everyone I meet (okay, so she is definitely on the top shelf of my favourite books....I'm such a fan girl)
1. Was there any particular reason for giving Avry a healing career, instead of a fighting based one? (She can still fight though!)
Maria: I've dabbled with healing powers before in my Study books, and I wanted to explore the power and its consequences in more depth. Plus I've seen so many friends and family suffer with various health problems, that I wish I could just...heal them. All the money in the world is nothing compared to good health. Also as a mother - healing would be wonderful. I hate to see my kids sick or hurt.
2. Avry can use her powers both to heal and to fight - is this something we will see develop over the next two books? Was it a skill you thought of from the outset, or did it develop over time as you wrote the book?
Maria: The healing skill was in place from the get-go, but her ability to defend herself came as I worked on the story. I didn't want Avry to be a warrior or to learn how to fight because I didn't want her to be too similar to Yelena. So having her be able to use her power to knock someone unconscious or to give them pain seemed like a good compromise.
3. Is there a reason why you set this in a different world than to the Study series? Why not have Avry the healer appear in Yelena's world? Or did you wish to explore other magical properties which wouldn't fit in the Study series world?
Maria: It is set in a new world. I wanted to write something new and different from the Study/Glass books, but still be a fantasy novel. And I couldn't kill off two thirds of the population in Ixia and Sitia - I've too many friends there! I really don't know how other authors can write about the same characters and settings for more than three books. I need a change of scenery to keep me interested. Plus there's more of a creative challenge with a new world.
4. I realise it's early stages, but will there be a spin off series to Avry's tales, like the Glass was for the Study books?
Maria: I've no idea. I hadn't planned for the Glass books at all. My editor suggested I write about Opal after I completed Fire Study, and I was in the middle of telling her why it wouldn't work when an idea popped into my head. Time will tell :)
5. What is your favourite and negative character aspect about Avry and why?
Maria: My favourite aspect about Avry is her nurturing instinct and how she puts the welfare of others before herself, but that is also a negative because sometimes she needs to be selfish by taking care of herself, and allow herself to relax.