Book Review: The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster

The Inevitability Of Stars

Title: The Inevitability of Stars
Author: Kathryn R. Lyster
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Grief
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: August 2013
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set amongst the beauty of Byron Bay and the grind of Sydney.

Rip and Sahara have always been together. Primary school friends to high school lovers, their ties to each other are as intertwined and inescapable as the roots of the Byron Strangler Fig. But like that same tree, the tendrils of their love are beginning to stifle and choke, and soon, Sahara finds she must leave — moving to Sydney to pursue her career as an artist.

In Sydney, Sahara draws the attention of Sean, a charismatic entrepreneur, and is quickly drawn into his expensive and glamorous world — so very different from the quiet, simple place of her youth. But even as she creates a new life, and a new version of herself, Sahara cannot seem to leave Rip behind.

Back in the Byron hinterland, Rip moves to a working farm to recover from the wounds Sahara left. It’s here that he begins to understand his past and reimagine his future. But as Rip rebuilds, Sahara unravels, losing herself in Sean’s shiny, but meaningless world and plagued by visions of her previous life and lover.

Heartbreaking and haunting, The Inevitability of Stars is a poignant novel about the burden of fate, the viscosity of reality and the resilience of love.

My Review:

This book starts with heartbreak and for the characters, things are downhill from there on. Rip and Sahara have always had each other in their lives. Even when Rip’s mother died – he has always had Sahara. But she had dreams for more than small town life. So she flees to Sydney to paint and leaves a grief-stricken Rip to try to make his way in the town he’s always lived in without the girl he thought would always be there. Without Sahara, Rip doesn’t want to live. Sahara learns that life without Rip is harder than she thought and begins to lose herself in a world of glitz, glamour and high-profile socialites.

I wasn’t expecting this book to be so spiritual. Rip finds himself on a farm where his work there leads him to discover himself and how to heal his soul. Lead by a collection of quirky characters, Rip finds who he can be without Sahara. And she learns how to survive in a world so different from the small town she grew up in – and without the boy she still loved.

All of the characters are interesting to read – and I liked that they were well-formed and had a life outside of facilitating the journeys of the two main characters. The switching point of view worked well to show how deep Rip and Sahara’s feelings for each other were. The speech took a little getting used to with dialogue being italicized and thoughts being in quotation marks but as I got further into Rip and Sahara’s story I got used to it.

This book is beautifully written and I loved how the story flowed. However I did find the character of Sahara very hard to like and connect with. The settings – of both Byron Bay and Sydney – contrast each other well and the author did a great job of using the environment to show the mental state of the characters. There were small details like the gardenias and Rip’s song that I really enjoyed and thought added an extra something special to their story.

The Inevitability of Stars is a story about the spiritual journeys that two lovers must take when they’ve lost each other. Written beautifully, and yet at times confusing, it’s a lovely book that was nothing like I was expecting from the blurb and yet I’m glad I read it.

Thanks to Harlequin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Book Depository | Booktopia | Bookworld

Also available on Harlequin Books


Book Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Ink (Paper Gods, #1)

Title: Ink (Paper Gods #1)
Author: Amanda Sun
Genre: Paranormal, Mythology, Urban Fantasy, Japan
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: July 2013
Pages: 326
Rating: 3 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they’ll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive.

My Review:

Japan is the last place on Earth that Katie Green wants to be. But after he mother dies and her grandfather is too sick to look after her, Katie is shipped off to go live with her aunt in Shizuoko. Struggling to cope with the language and culture change, Katie muddles along in the hope that her grandfather will get better and she can flee Japan and live in Canada. And then she sees the ink. Yuu Tomohiro, the school’s badboy and kendo legend, the guy who cruelly breaks up with his girlfriend and pretends to be someone he isn’t fascinates Katie. And there’s his drawings. The calligraphy that’s so lifelike, Katie would almost swear that it moves…

I’ve never read a book which incorporates Japanese Mythology like Amanda Sun did in Ink. The concept of the power of the pen – or the ink – is something new on the paranormal scene. The Kami are dangerous with their medium being writing – something people take for granted – and yet the spirit in the ink is powerful and non-discriminating. I did think that this book had a very strong start but sort of faded as things developed. I was immediately drawn in at the start but towards the end I wasn’t as captivated.

I loved the way Japanese culture was portrayed in Ink, The way the language and the customs were interspersed throughout the novel was great to read. I wasn’t surprised to learn that Amanda Sun had spent quite a lot of time in Japan. As someone who has never been to that part of the world, it felt authentic and real.

As for the characters – I found Katie to be slightly frustrating. Her behaviour was inconsistent and I thought she was slightly illogical. Her selfish nature took me out of the story at times and I much preferred the easy-going nature of her friends Tamaka and Yuki. Yuu Tomohiro was one of those characters that’s mysterious and gorgeous and as a result one I wanted to read more of. I liked his arrogant exterior but the more we got to know him, the more we got to see he had layers and interesting complexities.

This is a great novel with a unique type of paranormal element. The characters are interesting however I liked the supporting cast more than I did the main character. I’m excited to see where Amanda Sun takes her characters in the next book of the Paper Gods series.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia and NetGalley review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon || Book Depository 

Stacking the Shelves – Sunday 21st July 2013

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme created and hosted by Tynga @ Tynga’s Reviews. It gives bloggers the chance to show their readers books they’ve bought, borrowed or received during the week.

I’ve had a great week book wise. Have a look at my acquisitions for this week:

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson – I got this book to review from The Reading Room and I’ve only just started it but I’m surprised by just how funny it is. It’s beautiful and fantastically eccentric. I’m really enjoying it.

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R Lyster

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R Lyster

The Inevitability of Stars by Kathryn R. Lyster (Harlequin) – This book is a new adult novel set in Byron Bay and Sydney. The cover is absolutely gorgeous and the blurb is so enticing… “A modern-day Romeo and Juliet set amongst the beauty of Byron Bay and the grind of Sydney.”

Siege by Sarah Mussi and the film Upside Down

Siege by Sarah Mussi and the film Upside Down

I was lucky enough to win this dystopian pack from Date A Book. Siege by Sarah Mussi (great photo skillz there. I managed to cover up the authors name. It’s SARAH MUSSI!) and the Kirsten Dunst movie, Upside Down.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

And finally, If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This is one that I borrowed from my local library this week. They have a fantastic selection of books. I also picked up a couple of cookbooks! I’ve heard amazing things about If I Stay and am very eager to experience Gayle Forman’s writing for myself.

 

That’s the additions to my personal library for this week. 🙂 Feel free to leave me a comment telling me which books you got this week. Thanks 🙂

Book Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing the Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: June 2013
Pages: 479
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk’s home life, they’d send her mother to jail. And who knows where they’d send seventeen-year-old Beth. So she protects her mum at all costs — until the day her uncle swoops in, and Beth finds herself starting over at a school where no one understands her. Except for the one guy who shouldn’t get her…but does.

Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular jock with secrets he can’t tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the skater girl who couldn’t be less interested in him! But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction.

Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image is risking everything for the girl he loves. And the girl who won’t let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all…

My Review:

This is one of those books that I’ve been anticipating for a very long time. After having loved Pushing the Limits, I was anxious to see just what happened next to Beth Risk. And – like many others – I was wondering just how Katie McGarry was going to satisfy me with a pairing that wasn’t Beth and Isaiah. But I was both thrilled and surprised. Beth is damaged. A mysterious childhood trauma and a home life that is anything but perfect, Beth knows just how dark life can be. Ryan Stone is her polar opposite. The good boy with an immaculate home, supportive parents and the whole town on his side. Beth’s been involved with drugs and has a reputation that precedes her whereas Ryan couldn’t be more committed to baseball and wouldn’t do anything to damage the pristine reputation his parents strive for.

But both of them are so much more than what they seem. Ryan has the sensitive soul of a writer and Beth would do anything for those she loves. Katie McGarry exceeded my expectations and delivered a story that was beautiful and so much more than I ever could have expected – having read Dare You To it’s now clear to me that Beth and Isaiah would never have worked (and I’m envisaging fantastic things for the next book, Crash Into Me which features Isaiah in a main role!).

All of the characters – main and secondary – are three-dimensional with problems and issues of their own. They’re well-developed and draw you into their world. I loved how the point of view switched chapter by chapter between Beth and Ryan. I felt like I knew what was life for each character as well as being able to see their thoughts and feelings about the other and the other characters from each perspective. The supporting cast were brilliant in their own ways with Chris and Logan being stand-outs for me. I found Ryan to be a little insipid but in his own way he was perfect for Beth.

There’s a lot that happens in this book and I loved the journey I was taken on. The contrasts between the rural and inner city, the suburban folk and the down-trodden city slickers were fantastically crafted.  The romance felt real and the issues that the characters face were handled beautifully by the author.

I recommend this for all fans of Pushing the Limits but can also be read as a stand alone for anyone who loves a story about love – even when things seem absolutely dire – overcoming all obstacles.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon
Book Depository 


Book Review: The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

Title: The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: Paranormal, Dystopia, Vampires, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 428
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In Allison Sekemoto’s world, there is one one rule left: Blood Calls to blood.
Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire, Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie’s birthplace in New Covington, what she finds there will the change the world forever – and possibly end human and vampire existence.

There’s a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago – deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries. If Allie can get to him in time…

My Review:

Allison Sekemoto is on a quest to save her creator, Kanin, who needs help. What she doesn’t expect is when her blood tie brings her to a blood brother and the town she thought she had left behind in her past to come crashing into her present. The boy she left, the monster who stabbed her and the Fringer whose life she saved – they all play a part in her attempt to save Kanin and the world from the new threat its facing and the slightly unhinged Sarren.

I enjoyed The Immortal Rules but The Eternity Cure has completely sold me on Julie Kagawa. I loved how she brought humanity to the monsters and showed how inhumane the humans can be. That’s not to say the vampires can’t be villainous. Allie is still struggling to deal with her new and eternal life with the pressures and cravings life as a vampire brings. She’s grown since the first book and continues to do so throughout this second instalment of the Blood of Eden series.

Relationships in this book were a strong point. There’s a romantic relationship is heartbreakingly bitter-sweet. I loved seeing how the mentor/mentee dynamic between Allie and Kanin has shifted as Allie grows more comfortable and confident with her place in the vampire world. And then there’s Jackal – he’s surprising in many ways. The humour and banter that Jackal provides is a highlight of this novel.

The Eternity Cure is fairly fast pasted – there is a lot that goes on in a short period of time but the pace is at a speed that feels right. It’s exciting and dramatic at times. The characters are fascinating – flawed but fantastic in their own ways.   I loved the journey Julia Kagawa took me on. I am looking forward to the third book in the series and in the meantime I will definitely be reading Kagawa’s Iron Fey series!

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Wicked Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Wicked Kiss (Nightwatchers #2)
Author: Michelle Rowen
Genre: Paranormal, Angels, Demons
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: February 26th 2013 
Pages: 440 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
MY KISS CAN KILL. 

I used to be ordinary Samantha Day, but that’s changed. Now, after one dark kiss from a dangerous boy, I can steal someone’s soul…or their life. If I give in to the constant hunger inside me, I hurt anyone I kiss. If I don’t…I hurt myself.

Bishop is the one whose kiss I crave most, but if I kiss him, I’ll kill him. Then there’s another boy, one I can’t hurt. One whose kiss seems to miraculously quell my hunger. They’re both part of a team of angels and demons that’s joined forces in my city to fight a mysterious rising darkness, an evil that threatens everyone I know and love. I just wonder if I’ll be able to help Bishop-or if I’m just another part of the darkness he’s sworn to destroy….

NIGHTWATCHERS 

When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising…

My Review:

After the Hollow unleashed hell on Earth in an all ages club only two weeks ago – Sam has been busy. The Grey Girl is on the lookout of Stephen, the grey who sucked her soul out turning her into hungry soul sucking nexus. Add to that a mysterious memory blocked gorgeous angel who can only think straight when she’s around. Too bad Sam can’t keep her thoughts straight around him!

Dark Kiss laid a lot of groundwork but it was well worth the read for I devoured Wicked Kiss like a hungry grey would a soul. Sam and her misfit warriors from Heaven and Hell still have a mission to carry out. Sam needs her soul and to save her bff Carly from the Hollow. Bishop, Kraven and the others need to rid Trinity from the evil mess that Natalie unleashed. I liked these characters so much more the second time around. They’re still slightly stereotypical and a little predictable in many ways but this time – but it worked for me. I loved the drama added from the new characters (like Cassandra) and getting to know some briefly mentioned ones from Dark Kiss a little better.

There’s a lot going on in this book. Romance and evil supernatural villains are underfoot everywhere. I liked how the relationships evolved. Not just the romantic ones but the friendships and the way Kraven and Bishop’s brotherly interactions evolved.  Sam is developing as a character too. She’s finally got some street sense kicked into her. She’s embracing her nexus and grey-ness to the hilt and is becoming a force to be reckoned with in her own right.

The mythology of Angels and Demons are interestingly explained in this book. There’s not too many religious overtones that sometimes overload books about Angels. But instead the angels and devils seem to just be concerned with good vs. evil. I wanted some facets to be explored in more detail but there was enough explained to understand Sam’s situation.

I can recommend this book to anyone that liked the first instalment – but also those who were slightly ambivalent.  This book is a satisfying ending to an interesting take on zombies, angels and demons.

Purchase the novel from:

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Book Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Inheritance (The Goddess Test #3)
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Mythology, Last in a Series
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: February 2013
Pages: 283 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her–until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he’ll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

My Review:

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book for a long time now. How gorgeous is the Australian cover? After the nail-biting cliff-hanger at the end of Goddess Interrupted, I couldn’t wait to see how the final war between good and bad was going to play out.

Kate’s been held captive by the evil titan Cronus and his sinister and sneaky goddess queen, Calliope, for the past nine months. Now the baby she never imagined she’d have is ready to be born. Kate’s maternal instinct kicks into overdrive and she does the unimaginable – she makes a deal with Cronus for the safety of her baby. For her and Henry’s son, Milo.

It surprised me how much I enjoyed the ending to this series. Kate’s grown up a lot since the first book and is now taking responsibility for her actions – as well as stepping up to the plate and accepting her role on the Olympus Council. She’s still prone to a little exaggeration and hysteria but I found her more likeable than I had in the previous instalments.

I loved meeting new characters and seeing the old ones again. The plot managed to keep me interested right up until the last page having action and drama happening on every page. There’s betrayal and misdirection with Kate never quite sure who she can trust. There’s mystic and an ending that I never expected. The romance was sweet and didn’t manage to consume the entire novel but rather made the read all the more worthwhile.

I’ve finally given up trying to work out the family tree. It’s too ridiculous – and I suppose in that way this book does somewhat represent an ancient myth. Everyone’s related to everyone and somehow you can be your own aunt on both sides with your mother also being your aunt and sister-in-law… it’s just plain crazy!

Overall, this series was worth reading. It brought a whole new twist onto the Persephone/Hades myth and evolved it into an entirely different story. If the author ever decides to write a spin-off where James finds his true love, I’d definitely check it out!

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: Hooked by Liz Fichera

Title: Hooked (Hooked #1)
Author: Liz Fichera
Genre: contemporary romance, sports, golf, Native American, realistic fiction
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: Feburary 1 2013
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
When Native American Fredericka ‘Fred’ Oday is invited to become the only girl on the school’s golf team, she can’t say no. This is an opportunity to shine, win a scholarship and go to university, something no one in her family has done.

But Fred’s presence on the team isn’t exactly welcome — especially not to rich golden boy Ryan Berenger, whose best friend was kicked off the team to make a spot for Fred. But there’s no denying that things are happening between the girl with the killer swing and the boy with the killer smile…

My Review:

If there’s one thing Frederika “Fred” Oday is sure of, it’s golf. No matter what else is going on in her life – her alcoholic mother, her rebel-without-a-cause brother, not fitting in at her primarily white high school – she knows that when she’s on the golf course it’s just her and the ball. And her Native American ancestors who live among the stars looking down on her.

When the high school boy’s varsity golf coach recruits Fred for his team – it causes some drama. Rich boy Ryan Berenger isn’t happy when his best mate gets kicked off the team for some Indian girl. But as he gets to know the girl behind the falling apart plaid golf bag and rusted clubs, he sees there’s more to Fred than just her gender and the colour of her skin.

Fred has to face the prejudices and injustices of being an outsider in a rich man’s world. And in the process finds Ryan – who seemingly has it all together but might be just as out-of-place as she is.

I’m coming to realize that whilst I’m not a sporty person – I enjoy reading sports romances. This one is no exception. Fred is real. She has her problems but she doesn’t cut herself off from the world because of them. I found Ryan hard to like at the start (much like Fred found him I suppose) but as the story went on and we got to see his hidden depths, I found myself more inclined to see him as worthy of Fred.

The secondary cast are great. From the citizens who live on the Reservation to Ryan’s family and the other members of the golf team – they add the extra spice to the novel. Seth is one of those characters who show that villains don’t just exist in paranormal novels and Disney movies. I’m excited to see that there will be a novel with Sam Tracy and Ryan’s sister Riley (There’s a sample chapter at the end of my copy of Hooked and it looks like it should be a good read).

I enjoyed how Liz Fichera handled the theme of racial injustice throughout the novel – it wasn’t overpowering or in-your-face but managed nicely underline the story. Bullying, prejudice and the mistreatment of ethnic minorities are all things Fred and the other reservation kids had to deal with and it was nice to see how they coped.

There’s drama, action and a fair amount of golf in this book. It’s romantic at times and deals with family drama too – Hooked is a fun novel that shows that golf is for more than just country club folk!

 

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for the review copy

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 

Read as part of the:

Eclectic Reader Challenge (published in 2013)

2013 Debut Author Challenge (author’s debut into YA fiction)


Book Review: Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Scent of Magic (Healer #2)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, magic, adventure
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: January 2013
Pages: 414 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Hunted, Killed—Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead—human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible … again

My Review:

After reading Touch of Power (the first book in the Healer series) I couldn’t wait to get back to Avry, Kerrick and the rest of the characters from the Thirteen Realms.

Avry, back from the dead, is a healer on a mission – to stop Tohon from taking over the Realms and experimenting on the innocent with his army of the living dead. After deciding to separate from Kerrick (and letting him fight his own battles in the North), Avry joins Astrid’s army in disguise and gathers as much intelligence as she can under her new assumed identity. Hiding in plain sight and showing just how good a soldier she can be, Avry manages to get close to both her old friends (the Monkeys, Belen) but also her estranged sister, Noelle.

Meanwhile, Kerrick is back in his own kingdom trying to amass an army of his own to fight against King Tohon. But things don’t go according to plan and Kerrick finds himself trying to stay one step ahead of enemies he didn’t even know he had.

There’s a lot going on in this book and I enjoyed the layout – every Avry chapter was followed by a brief overview of what was going on in Kerrick’s part of the world. Simultaneously we, the readers, were able to follow both their stories with ease. The only problem with this was it meant the novel as whole missed the spark of banter between the two leads that I enjoyed so much from the first novel.

I loved getting to see a new side of Avry – not just a healer but a warrior in her own right and a fairly kick-arse one at that. The training of her group of soldiers was interesting and I liked to see the camaraderie between them.

In many ways this book is a transition novel – bridging the gap between the first novel and the final novel of the series. There’s a lot of ground work being laid and stuff that doesn’t seem to be all that relevant at the moment but is just leading up for the next book. I enjoyed reading it – there’s A LOT of surprises and action, drama, betrayal going on but it fell a little short of my expectations.

I would definitely recommend this book for fans of the first one and can’t wait for the third book to be released in a year’s time!

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository 


Book Review: Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Touch of Power (Healer #1)
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: paranormal, fantasy, magic, adventure
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: December 2011
Pages: 390 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The price of peace may well be her life…

Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honoured 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 rogue 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, the 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.

My Review:

Avry of Kazan – a healer on the run ever since the Plague started three years ago and the people turned against those with the power to heal. After an incident lands Avry in a jail cell and a date with her death in the morning, a stranger offers Avry a choice. She can come with him and save his friend or keep her appointment with the gallows.

Taking Kerrick of Alga up on his deal, Avry joins his warriors as they make their way though many of the Fifteen Realms facing assassins and magicians on an adventure Avry never saw coming.

This book is the kind of adventure fantasy book that I adore. There’s action and drama. Despite the time frame of this novel taking months and there being down time in between deathly feats, there was never a boring moment during the entire book.

Avry is a kick arse heroine. She’s strong in spirit and can hold her own against Kerrick and his bunch of merry men but she knows how to follow orders when completely necessary. The Monkeys (Quain and Loren), Papa Bear (Belen) and Flea are absolutely fantastic. They provide much necessary comic relief – not only to the reader but also to the other characters.

The magic in this book is fascinating. The eleven different types and the magicians who control them are well thought out. I thought the mages were especially intriguing. Jael, Tohon, Sepp and the others are characters that I loved reading about not just for their personalities but for their powers and how they worked.

There’s so much going on in this book – the current political power struggle, magic, the back story between the royals of the Realms, healers and the Plague – but Synder managed to write it all in such a way that made perfect sense. There were times when I felt like Kerrick’s group were wandering mindlessly for a while before something new happened and they had new purpose but for the most part I loved how everything come together.

Touch of Power is the first book in the Healer series with the second, Scent of Magic, being released in January 2013 by HarlequinTeen.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository