Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Shifter

The Shifter
The Healing Wars: Book 1
by Janice Hardy
juvenile fantasy
370 pages
New York : Balzer & Bray, 2009

Geveg and its neighboring countries are being overtaken by the Evil Duke of Baseer. He is greedy and wants all of their pynvium, a special ore used both for healing and weapon-making. Nya and Tali are two sisters orphaned by the war. To survive, Tali enters the Healer League to learn how to master her ability to heal and draw out someone's pain. She and all the other Healers, or Takers, then transfer the pain into the pynvium so they don't have to carry it longer than necessary. Pain-filled pynvium is then used to make weapons. Nya too is a healer, yet she does not have the ability to transfer the pain into pynvium, instead she can transfer the pain into another person. You can imagine the many wrong-ways someone could use this power. Considered an Abnormal Taker, she can not enter the League and has to scrape out an existence on the streets while trying to hide her talents. When her beloved sister is in danger, Nya is forced to reveal her secret to a pain merchant. She will have to make sacrifices and hard decisions, always thinking of her sister and her fellow Gevegians. She has a couple of great friends to help her in and out of some tough spots, including a possible romantic interest. This is an enjoyable fantasy adventure for middle school and upper elementary students (boys and girls alike). High-school age kids would probably enjoy it, but would think it a bit tame compared to a lot of the teen literature out there right now. It is obviously the first in a series, yet it wraps up enough I am not going to be as frustrated with the wait as I usually am with other series.


curlyq said...

This was a great book! I really appreciated Hardy's creative plot--it didn't feel like any book I've read before. I loved the many twists and turns. Wonderful book!

booklady said...

A fantastic beginning to a new series that will make kids beg for more. The world that the author has created is real and exciting. Nye is a fully believable character, as likable as she is spirited. This book will leave you wanting that sequel right away.