Healer's Touch is the story of Llew, a young pickpocket living on the streets of Cheer. Whilst Llew is already a pretty kickass young woman, she comes with an ability that is more than it seems.
Llew is a healer, but for her to heal, something else dies. Plants and grass are her beginning tools for healing, but as her adventure progresses, so does the need for more powerful sacrifices.
I love the concept of this book, and Llew is the perfect MC to carry it out. Howell has created a fantastic Western fantasy world (complete with awesome name - Aghacia) with amazing mythological elements. Some of the bits I loved most about this book were the explanation and history of this world, the wars that had been fought, the powers that had been abused and the prejudices that had come about.
I liked Jonas, though he sometimes really annoyed me. One of my favourite characters was Anya, because she was the pinnacle of everything that Llew had never known. It was a glimpse into the world of the upper class, and provided a rich setting to contrast the stark wilderness the group travelled through. Cassidy was a favourite also.
I really enjoyed the first third of this book, when Llew is by herself and the rules of her healing are explained. I loved seeing how independent she was and how she lived by herself with no one to defend her. The middle of this book lost me a little, but the end made up for it completely, and I was glued to every page. Some very cool, but very creepy, little inventions come to pass which made for a very good visual in my mind's eye. I loved Llew's inner strength in the last few chapters; it added to her character even more.
The writing was strong, without too much telling without showing and vice versa. It was easy to picture their surroundings, fashions, looks and landscape, which I find I struggle with a lot with some authors.
Needless to say, I'm pretty keen for the sequel, Warrior's Touch. HT left it on a rather forbidding note and I can't wait to see how it progresses.
I'd recommend this for anyone who enjoys strong characters, original inventions, alternate fantasy and beautiful settings.