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Dark Lords {Tough Traveling}

 Dark Lords!

Tough Traveling is a meme hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Barn where we tour the countryside of Fantasyland with The Tough Guide to Fantasyland :D

Today I’m joining Nathan’s exploration of all fun tropes in fantasy with the Dark Lords edition. If you love fantasy, you should join in on our adventures too! Dark lords are of course a great villain for our heroes to fight against, but I have a special place in my heart for dark lords (and ladies) that go farther than just a scary villain in the background. I like dark lords with intriguing pasts and painfully good reasons for being a bit crazy >.>. Oh and I’ll be skipping Harry Potter since it’s just too easy :-P.

Note: There are some minor spoilers for these books since I’m outing which are the main villains.

Shadow and Bone Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews grave mercy In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo
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Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder is the first book in the Healer series which I have been meaning to read FOREVER! I love healers (I was totally a heals druid in WoW and now want to go start raiding again, must resist!), I’ve heard such amazing things about Snyder’s writing and stories, and the cover is sooooo pretty! Oh and I’ve had a copy for months since I grabbed it when my friend was clearing out old ARCs ;-). Fortunately, Touch of Power completely lived up to my expectations and I’m freaking pumped to keep reading this series. That’s the benefit of most of the books already being out right??

Note: I received borrowed an ARC of Touch of Power. Some things might have changed in the final version.

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder ARC {4 Stars}

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (Healer #1)
Published by Harlequin MIRA on December 20th, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 390 pages
How I got my copy: Borrowed
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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....

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • I’m generally a hater on broody boys turning in to the love interest, but Touch of Power takes place over quite a bit of time and so the relationship develops slowly, believably and so adorably! I was very adamantly against this romance at first and Kerrick even won this crotchety old grouch over by the end ;-).
  • I love the classic magic systems of earth, air, life, death, etc. However, they have to be done in a new way otherwise it’s just lazy right? Fortunately, Touch of Power does a marvelous job of tweaking the classic magic system (adding moon magic for one thing :D) so I wasn’t disappointed! We only get glimpses into what powers are involved in each type of magic, so I’m really excited to find out more in the subsequent books :D.
  • I knew that the ending couldn’t be as sad as it was aiming to be since there is a sequel, but I was actually quite impressed with how Snyder ended up solving everything. I hadn’t predicted it but it made a fair amount of sense :D. It also has opened the way for some really interesting discovery and research for Avry in future books!
  • As we all know, I’m a fan of characters dying in meaningful plot points and Touch of Power doesn’t hold back from those grittier and darker aspects of life-or-death situations.

Weaknesses:

  •  Touch of Power had slow points where I found my attention drifting, so just push through if you have the patience.
  • There are a fair amount of times when Touch of Power skipped over chunks of time (days to weeks) by just saying that things continued as they were for a while. It felt a bit forced to me, though I can’t really think of a better way to handle that.
  • There is some trigger stuff regarding manipulative and forceful romantic interaction, though it doesn’t go too far.
  • Avry and the other characters would at times use words that seemed rather modern for the fantasy setting and made me pause for a second. I suppose I can’t say that characters in a fantasy world wouldn’t use slang like we do, but it pulls you out of the story ya know?

Summary:

Touch of Power really hits on some of my favorite elements of the classic magical fantasy story with healing powers, an epic quest, insane villains, and more magic to discover. I found the whole post-apocalypse element really fascinating as well, since everything is happening a few years after a plague has decimated the world. There is so much left to discover about the plague, Avry’s magic, and Avry and Kerrick’s feelings for each other that I think I might have to start Scent of Magic pretty darn soon >.>

4 Stars
Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

– Anya

 

 Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Updates from the Lair 11/17/13

Updates from the Lair

Blarghity, blargh, blargh… Those are words right? So there wasn’t an updates post last week because Mr. Boy decided to go on a rather sudden trip back home to Minnesota and I wasn’t going to let that crazy kook go on his own! This week has therefore been a lovely game of catch-up, trying to get the homework done that I had been planning to do last weekend, and all that fun stuff. Fortunately, I had all my blog posts for the week already scheduled so that was one less thing to do ;-). I also decided a week ago that I wanted to start seeing a personal trainer and get serious about getting back into shape. My back has been troubling me a lot lately and I’ve convinced myself that getting my strength back will help support everything ya know? Therefore, on Thursday I had my first personal training session involving lots of squats and planks and weight-lifting. I’m soooooooo sore, but also happy because I like being sore from working hard instead of sore from feeling broken. I build muscle pretty quickly, so I’m hoping that within a couple of months I’ll start seeing results ;-). Then I’ll be the Hulk rawr! Anyway >.>.

My Week

Bitterblue I finished Seraphina while walking last week, so this week I’ve started Bitterblue on audio :D. I’m sad since Bitterblue isn’t full-cast audio and Graceling was, so the voices are completely different for Katsa and Po, but I’m getting used to them and I love Bitterblue’s voice :). I’m really enjoying this story, especially the puzzles aspect, and am quite excited to figure out how all the puzzle pieces fit together with Bitterblue. Also, I feel quite accomplished finally finishing this trilogy, haha!

I also got to start Touch of Power this week! I was approved for Taste of Darkness after pending for months, so now I need to get my butt in gear to be able to review that one on time. I’m really hoping that the cover’s promise of using lilies to add to Avry’s magic isn’t just leading me on >.>. Also, I don’t like Kerrick.

Avalon

Finally, I’m reading Avalon with my book group and enjoying the hell out of it! It’s reminding me a lot of These Broken Stars in enjoyability and creepiness factors :D. There is just something so awesome about creepy space mysteries and Avalon is succeeding at that element majorly. It also has a male MC, which normally isn’t in the book’s favor for me, but it’s working out quite well! I got this one through EW and definitely suggest requesting it!

And in case you missed it, these were my posts this week:

Reports from Other Lairs

So I’m going to be switching things up a bit this week and focusing only on discussions because I’m starting a new feature to discuss reviews later in the week :D. Come back on Friday to check it out <3

Discussions

I was lucky enough to snag a con-edition of Brandon Sanderson’s two novellettes, but now he’s selling them in his online store, so you can snag them too!

Gillian has compiled an awesome list of YA books to convert YA doubters. I especially approve of the fantasy and sci-fi sections showing just how awesome YA SFF can be!

I stumbled across this guide to giveaways from Pink Heels, Pink Truck. Even though she is a lifestyle blogger, the info definitely applies to us book bloggers! The FTC guidelines kind of piss me off with how they are specifying some things, but shrugs….

Parajunkee helped us out this week to make sure our blogs are secure with some WordPress plugins that all us WP-users should have!

Christina is trying to convince us all to take a chance with audiobooks and I couldn’t agree more (even if she doesn’t like my favorite narrator ;-) )

Kimberly is doing a Christmas Card Exchange :D

Happy Reading!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings – Anya