Saturday, 4 August 2012

Touch of Power (Avry of Kazan, #1)Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Wahhhhh why? Why Maria would you do this to me? I love your books, all of them (though admittedly some more than others) but this?!!! I cannot speak, I am too overcome with all consuming disappointment....

...ok I'm done now. So that was a little over-dramatic and ever so slightly misleading. This book wasn't bad, in fact to most people this would probably prove to be a really worthwhile and rewarding endeavour. For me alas, this book held nothing new. I have read it before. It was called Poison Study, and was the authors first and best book to date.

The similarities are unfortunately many, from almost carbon copies of a number of characters to relationships developing in much the same fashion. For example, in Avry we have a new Yelena, Valek has been renamed, Kerrick. Even Ari and Janco (can't remember his name) make and appearance as Quain and Loren. As much as I liked the characters in Poison Study, I was hoping for something new, in fact I was expecting it, as the author has never let me down in the past.

Then we have the relationships. We have comradery of the dominantly male group, which harks to the bromantic affections Ari and Janco show to Yelena. The most notable similarity though, lies between the two leads. They begin hating each other with a passion (which was way too forced), then once they to get know each other, inevitably and unsurprisingly, feelings start to change. Shock!! There was one difference between this and Poison Study on the relationship and that was that I saw this blooming admiration coming a mile off. There was no subtlety, the characters quite stupid in their obliviousness to their feelings and of each others. Which was to say, devastating, as one of the reasons I loved Poison Study so much was the unpredictability of the relationships.

Not everything in in these two books was the same (as mentioned above). Where Poison Study had a plot that was both engaging and exciting, Touch of Power was sadly lacking. All they did was wander about and camp in caves. Every now and then they would get into some spot of trouble, but before long, they would be back to camping in caves. What we did see of the plot was brief and rather unsatisfying. I feel that if we had stepped away from the characters for two seconds, it could have been promising, but instead it was just a bit odd and random. Hopefully more will be explained in later volumes.

There was also a rather Mills and Boonish feel to the whole thing. A certain cheesyness that I found difficult to ignore. What with Kerrick and Avry's relationship being blindingly obvious, there was also a bit too much 'damsel-in-distressing' for my liking, which was at odds with Avry's personality. The end especially, when we are introduced to a fellow who pretty much wants to own Avry, claim her for himself, mostly just so Kerrick couldn't have her. It was just a bit bodice rippery, not in a graphic 'fifty shades' kind of way. I mean the guy pretty much brainwashes her into wanting him, controls her with his magic so she is powerless to resist him. And he's such a control freak. He goes ape shit when she doesn't wear the dress he picked out for her. What?!!!! I spent most of my time rolling my eyes whilst reading and truthfully, I'm finding it hard to explain exactly what it was that didn't sit well with me, without giving too much away (I fear I may have already said too much). The whole thing just seemed too contrived and pandering to the assumption that all females have fantasies of being dominated and rescued whilst pretending to be strong and feisty. Oh yeah, and the bad guy kept calling her 'my dear'. All. The. God. Damn. Time. It got VERY ANNOYING.

Everything was a bit too stereotypical and there wasn't much in the way of originality. It may seem like I am being way too harsh on this, but it's only because of how highly I rate Maria as an author. It is killing me having to say these things. Her stories usually inspire and shock and delight, but this one did none of those things, mainly because it held no surprises. If you are undecided as to whether to read this, I would say that if you have read Poison Study, then I wouldn't bother, you will find nothing knew here. If you haven't, then go read that instead!!

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