The Shifter- Janice Hardy

Written By: Kellie - Mar• 09•12

Synopsis: Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers’ League apprentices, Nya’s skill is flawed: She can’t push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she’d be used as a human weapon against her own people.

Rumors of another war make Nya’s life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she’s faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive? -Goodreads

Review: Gotta say this right off the bat as I actually took the time to jot this down, by page two of this book I was already impressed with a couple different witty lines. Great start! I loved the concept of The Shifter, as I’m always pretty impressed when someone manages to come up with a different spin on a magic system for the world they’ve created. The world Nya lives in has a healers guild filled with people who have the power to heal others, take their pain and put it into metal… on it’s own, that’s pretty cool. Nya can’t quite manage that much, she’s different. She can heal others and take their pain, no problem… but instead of putting it into any kind of outlet, her only choice is to put it into other people. Now there is a concept with potential.

The most surprising thing about this book is actually what Nya does with her unusual powers. Not all of the choices she makes are 100%, morally correct. Nya does what she has to in order to protect the people she cares about and that made this really interesting. There were even some choices she made that I’m not sure I could have done. Even better… there were genuine consequences for all of her actions. No question, this book was extremely well thought out. Hurrah!

All that being said, I only rated this book a three (it would probably be more like a 3.5) which means I definitely enjoyed it but couldn’t always manage to lose myself in the story. I found a lot of the names hard to pronounce or hard to take seriously which threw me every now and again. I also never really got to feel like I knew who Nya was as a character. She was hard to relate to and never seemed to show any complex reactions to the situations she was put in.

Great world building and complicated moral decisions will absolutely have me picking up the next book in this series, and sometime soon. It’s always great when you find a series you enjoy that hasn’t just come out, meaning you don’t have to wait at least a year to find out what happens next. If you’re looking for an unusual fantasy tale (with more than a hint of dystopia) then you need to pick up The Shifter.

You can visit Janice Hardy at her website, here.

Buy the book @Amazon (US) @Amazon (CAN)





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