For Llew, a young pickpocket who lives on the streets of a Wild-West mining town, the real problems begin when she survives the gallows. Forced to run, she persuades a group of fighters escorting a young girl to her wedding to let her travel with them across the badlands. On the journey Llew faces hostile tribesmen, desperate bandits, and the enmity of her own companions should they find out who and what she is: a girl, a fugitive, and a feared Healer. One of the fighters, Jonas, possesses superhuman prowess as a warrior, and carries the knife able to 'kill the unkillable'; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.
Genre - Fantasy/Romance
4.5 Outstanding Stars!
A Fantastic Infusion of Fantasy, Realism and Romance! I loved it!
In the town of Cheer, Llew, a young female orphan who uses a boyish disguise as a survival tool, lives a lonely existence surfing the streets as a pickpocket. She’s different from most people and this all comes home to her after a harrowing attack one night that leaves her for dead. Only she doesn’t die. Shocked, Llew continues on with her life of pick pocketing until she picks the wrong pocket and run across an intimidating yet attractive stranger. But he is on his own mission and pays very little attention to Llew, dismissing her with a warning. Her gift comes in handy once more after she is hanged for a murder she did not commit and throws the town into chaos when she wakes from what should have been a permanent death.
Knowing she needs to skip town before she’s caught again, she ventures out on her own but soon realizes her plan of escape with no provisions was folly. Llew quickly happens across a traveling bunch who accepts her into their fold, including the infamous Jonas who bested her on the streets of Cheer. Friendships are soon made, but as she gets to know the unsociable Jonas better, she realizes he is Syakara, a race of people who destroy her kind, Syaenuk. So Llew is forced to keep her gift of self healing a secret. But secrets have a way of coming out as Llew is faced with enemies coming from all sides. One wanting to breed her, one wanting to destroy her and one wanting to study her but all wanting to strip her freedom from her. And on top of all this, there’s an enemy who’s tracking and attacking their group so he can get Llew’s blood for his own magical purposes. With all this going on, it’s hard to trust anyone and she finds herself having to trust the one person who should have killed her on sight.
Deb E. Howell comes out swinging! Her debut novel, Healer's Touch is book one in the Touch series and I have to say, I was completely immersed in this thrilling adventure and captivated by these exciting characters.
The intriguing and violent world the author creates is unparalleled in its rustic simplicity. It had a fantasy yet realistic feel as the author blends these elements seamlessly into her backdrop. The scenery, the names of characters and places and the mythology behind the world building were all wound together to create a gripping tale of would-be friends journeying across treacherous lands while romance is in the air and enemies at the gate. And the writing was brilliant! I can’t say enough about the chilling imagery of certain scenes and the horrific events introduced in this story. I simply couldn’t put this book down and I most certainly can’t wait for book two!
I loved that the main characters were sworn enemies. I’m a sucker for “opposites attract” or “forbidden love” stories and these two characters were definitely on opposite sides. But I loved the mythology woven into this forbidden tale because when it’s all laid out for the reader, you can’t help but root for the budding couple.
Llew is unique, remarkable and inspiring. Her character went through an assortment of appalling events but she stays determined and resilient as her moral compass never wavers. I loved Llew. I loved that she could be rough and tough with the boys and sweet and pretty with the girls. And the fact she never complained and had a strong will to live even when things seemed dire only endeared her to me more. She was the ultimate heroine.
Jonas is an imposing Syakara warrior with a traumatic past. He’s serious, commanding and he fights for the Quaven army to rid the world of Aenuks. But when he meets Llew, he fights his ingrained hatred of her race to try and see past the surface to the soul underneath the title. I adored this character. Jonas encompassed the best of what we love in our heroes. He has extraordinary fighting skills and is affecting with his sincerity and loyalty. I loved his instant connection with Llew even when he tried to deny his feelings.
The sub-characters ensured there wasn’t a dull moment in this book and I thoroughly enjoyed keeping time with them as they forged reliable friendships to one another throughout their travels.
The Wrap Up:
There were many intricate weaving's in this incredible story with so many things going on and they all connect with an impressive imagery and wondrous tale. The combination of powerful world building, unique fantasy drama with a wild-west feel and skillful and compelling writing will definitely have me coming back for more. Book two, Warrior’s Touch (Touch #2), is in the works slated to come out sometime this year (2013) and I’ll be eagerly waiting for the journey of Llew and Jonas to continue. Bravo Deb E. Howell for an awesome debut novel and thank you so much for allowing me to participate in this amazing adventure!