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.
Click to view the book on Amazon: Healer's TouchTo start off, I requested this book because it seemed like wild west adventure. Which is something I have never read, though the wild west does appeal to me. Then I started the book and it was a wild westish fantasy world. I was so excited, because I love new worlds and this one just seemed really cool with the Karans and the Aenuks. I think it would be scary to belong to either of those races and I thought it was really brilliant of Howell to create these species.
There are going to be tons of spoilers ahead, so either go read it or ignore this and read on.
I also really likes Jonas and Llew, I liked them together and apart. Though I was really surprised when we found out that Jonas had a bunch of kids around... He seemed young to me, and so it really surprised me. I do like how these two enemies fell for each other. It made me think of how opposites attract and I just wanted to see more and more interactions between them. I wanted to know more of his past, though it made me really uncomfortable to learn about his wife and I was definitely with Llew on that one. I was sad he had lost them, but I was happy at the same time because otherwise he would not have met Llew.
Also, at first I really liked Aris, I thought he was really kind to take in Llew, but then the more I learned about him the less and less I liked him. First off he was extremely hypocrtical telling Llew on the boat not to save anyone no matter what, but when his (maybe) lover almost died he told her to heal. And ugh what pissed me off most was that he didn't want Llew to sleep with Jonas because she wasn't a Karan. I hated that he was just using Jonas as a breeder, and I am a bit scared that jonas might not be able to say no to him even though he and Llew are together now and having a baby (yay! you know how much I love it when characters have babies). I know I seem like I am complaining, but I am not. It is a good thing that the characters make me feel this way, because it means they are like real people and are well formed characters.
Something that did make me uncomfortable though is the fact that every guy seemed to think Llew was super hot when she dressed as a girl. I thought that was a bit weird since Llew even said she was taller and broader than most girls, and I am not sure if they fell for her because she was an available girl or because she was that beautiful. I am not sure, but I didn't like that Alvaro fell for her like that and how he got so weird about it later in the book. One thing that made me mad, but that I also think was very believable was how when Cassidy died Alvaro flipped out and blamed Llew for letting him die because she wanted to save Jonas instead. It made me mad because she was trying to save Cassidy and couldn't bring him back if he had been dead too long, and she was trying to save as many people as possible. But I was willing to forgive Alvaro for this because grief can make people act in horrible way, though I feel like Llew made an enemy for herself. And saying that I do kind of feel that Alvaro might be a bit right. Llew could have just healed Cassidy and let Jonas die, but she couldn't live without him, so instead of doing that she risked them both dying.
I thought Braph was an interesting character. It was hard to tell whether he was just a crazy psychopath, or if he had been normal at some point and that the horrible things that happened in his life made him into such a monster. I think that he most have feelings somewhere because he feels guilt and remorse at certain points in the book. And then when it came to the crystals we find out that they are addictive, so maybe he was normal and then started experimenting with the crystals and that made him crazy. But in order to get the first crystals he would have had to torture Llew's mother and a sane person would never do that. I am hoping we will learn more about him at some point if there is a second book, and while I don't like him and want him dead, I think he is very scary and interesting.
I just have to say that I really loved Anya I thought she was really funny and really helped Llew sometimes with insight into the females world (This was mostly later in the book)
I really really loved this book, and I was actually kind of pissed when it ended because I wanted to know more! I want to see more of that world and the characters, I feel invested in their lives. And I really hope that Deb is coming out with a sequel. I will be waiting with baited breath! loved it! 5 out of 5.