Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand

Healers Touch Healer's Touch
by Deb E. Howell
Kristell Ink

Supplied for review by Kristell Ink

Reviewed By: Jo Toon

Healer's Touch is set in a fantasy world where magic and the Wild West era have combined. Llew is a street girl with the ability to heal herself, whose life is changed beyond recognition when she tries to steal a knife from a stranger. Disguised as a boy, she is forced to leave her home, the gold-town of Cheer where she has lived all her life, and accompany the stranger, Jonas, and his companions on their mission, crossing country and continents. Along the way she learns more about Jonas, and the ancient emnity between the two races, the Aenuks and the Kara. She also discovers where she fits in in this battle and that her ability to heal herself and others is more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.

Healer's Touch is Deb E. Howell's debut novel, and is an absolute page turner of a read. The setting of a Fantasy book against a Wild West era background provides a novel viewpoint to the quest story. The world which has been built is intriguing, and the history of both the races and the main characters is very well written.

There isn't a dull moment in the story, with the action starting from the first page. Deb E. Howell has a great knack of building the tension up subtly without ever making it seem forced, and mixing it with moments of calm and sudden bursts of energy. She draws the reader in to the world and brings it to life, allowing us to discover the landscape, people and history along with Llew as she starts her journey from the small frontier town of Cheer, Aghacia, to Rakun in Brurun and beyond.

The principal characters are very much frontier town folk and are very well rounded and realised. The secondary ones could have possibly done with a little more fleshing out, to give us a bit more of an insight into their history and motivations, and I am hoping that this will come in the second volume of the series.

Overall, this is an excellent read,and a very promising start to a series; I am now eagerly awaiting the next book!

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