The Shifter

I’ve only read one book this week. Too busy with everything else—real life was a real you-know-what this week—for me to have any time to read anything at all, much less anything for pleasure. However, I did read The Shifter, by Janice Hardy.

From her website: Fifteen-year-old 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 and storing it inside her own body. But unlike her sister Tali and the other Takers who become Healer’s league apprentices, Nya’s skill is flawed: she can’t push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store person to 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 purpose. At first, Nya refuses, but 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?

From the moment this book opened—with Nya caught red-handed while stealing eggs—I was drawn into the story, completely hooked. The magic system, Healers who can take and transfer pain from injuries, was fresh and new to me, and I immediately sympathized with Nya’s need to keep her true abilities hidden, as well as her urge to protect her sister. Her struggle for survival in her war-riddled home was vividly done, and even the secondary characters felt real. This book was fast-paced and kept me turning pages long after I should have been asleep. Definitely a good read, and I recommend it.

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