Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Review: Healer's Touch by Deb E. Howell

This is another book that I read a while ago, so bear with the lack of depth in the review.

Healer's Touch
Touch #1
by Deb E. Howell
Published by Kristell Ink, 2013
Kindle edition, 366 pages

This book was given to me by Kristell Ink in exchange for this review. My thanks to Sam who was the person I got in contact with.

When first I was made aware of the existence of this new novel, the author described it as “Fantasy with a twist of Steampunk (and a little romance).” Not what I would normally consider my cup of tea. However, there was something about it that intrigued me and drove me to plead Kristell Ink for a review copy – and what a pleasant surprise this read turned out to be!

Healer’s Touch is a mix of romance, steampunk and high fantasy done the right way and written in just the right kind of style. I have to say that this book has made me a fan of Deb E. Howell.

The blurb for Healer's Touch

For Llew to heal, something must die.

For Llew, a young pickpocket living as a boy on the streets of a wild 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. 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 with the power to ‘kill the unkillable’; the knife that can kill Llew. Despite being of races at war for centuries, they are drawn to one another.

During the journey, they encounter Braph the magician, Jonas’ half-brother and potential nemesis. He pursues them as they journey across the sea to the continent of Phyos and just when Llew finally feels safe, he abducts her. Now he will take what is most precious to him: her blood.

Healer’s Touch is a fast-paced mix of fantasy, steampunk and Wild West adventure – and even a dash of romance!

-Taken from its Goodreads page.

The Thougths of the Hypervorean

The plot is well planned and played-out. For a book that involves almost nothing but fleeing and travelling I must say I am impressed that it never once got boring. It is as fast-paced as the blurb says and constantly new things are added to the table; new troubles or new knowledge that makes the situation of our group worse by the chapter.

The universe is the author’s own and seems to be more well-constructed than is let on in this book, with a history that is merely hinted at here and there. It is clear that the world isn't the focal matter of the story.

The characters are very vivid and came alive before my eyes as I read. I love them all. Except Braph. I hate Braph with a passion. But another thing I really love is how it is not only the humans that play the vital roles in this story. The nature is used actively to underline the themes of life versus death, health versus destruction.

It is a world of contradictions; a world where mortal enemies fall in love, and where the knife that can kill the unkillable is made from the very source of life-energy.

The story is not particularly original. In fact, it reminded me extraordinarily much of another story I reviewed earlier this year, namely the novella High Witch by Mona Hanna. (See that review here!)

In both stories the main plot revolves around an extremely powerful witch (or healer) fleeing from a man that seeks to use her to gain power for himself. There are many other similarities that I will refrain from mentioning to avoid spoiling anything, but I have to say that as far as comparisons go I really think this story is better developed than High Witch. Its themes and conflicts seem to run a lot deeper.

As I wrote in my review of High Witch: “I will start off by confessing that I am a hopelessly unromantic sort of person, so please take some of my opinions on this point a bit lightly. This story sure does contain its share of romantic twaddle!

The romance is a vital part of Healer’s Touch, but it is not the most important thing. And also, Deb E. Howell does not twaddle. She keeps the romance interesting. It is intense without ever getting over the top.

When I first started reading this book I found it hard to put it down again. I don’t think it took me much more than a single weekend to completely devour it. And that says a lot for someone who is as slow a reader as I admit to be!

Healer’s Touch brought very real, very wet tears to my eyes on several occasions, and this is one of the signs that let me distinguish between good authors and great authors. The good ones tell you a story while great ones let you feel it.

I really felt this book.


  1. Thank you for such a glowing review. Honestly, it makes me wish I could read the book for the first time! Really glad you liked it, and I'm working feverishly on the next one!

    1. I'm really looking forward to the sequel!

  2. This sounds great! That review certainly makes me want to read Healer's Touch.