Book Review: The Shifter (The Healing Wars Book 1) by Janice Hardy

 
 
In a world where both pain and the pynvium it's stored in are valuable items, Nya has an ability that no other Taker has---she can shift the pain she takes into other people. But then, against her better judgment, Nya starts using her ability to help people, not realizing the consequences it will have. When the wrong people find out and Nya's sister goes missing, things start to spiral out of her control, and she must make difficult decisions about what the lives of those she cares about are worth.
 

 
Book Review: The Shifter (The Healing Wars Book 1) by Janice Hardy | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, fantasy, high fantasy, middle grade, YA
Title: The Shifter
Author:
Publisher:
Book Number: Book 1 of 3
Pages: 388
My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon, Publisher
 
Review:

This was a bit of an out-of-the-norm read for me because middle grade is not my preferred genre, and high fantasy is not my preferred genre, so middle grade high fantasy is really not my preferred genre. But I had my reasons for wanting to try this series, and I ended up really enjoying it! I found myself laughing, being drawn to the characters, and reading each book in just a day or two because I had to know what was going to happen.

The first great thing I noticed when I started reading was how funny the book was—and it was a really great all-ages humor. The main character was a young teen, but I’m in my 20s and was still cracking up.

The characters though were the main reason I enjoyed the series and decided to read the whole thing. I debated whether to include my thoughts on the characters in this review or the review for the final book, but I want anyone deciding whether to start or not to know about the wonderful characters they’ll find in the book. So even though these are my opinions based on the entire trilogy, I’ll keep them as spoiler-free as possible.

Danello – He was such a sweetheart! I adored him from the very first book. Heck, the very first scene. He may have had “the street smarts of a hen,” but he was so caring and kind and loyal that it’s impossible to not love him.

Jeatar – *MILD SPOILER ALERT* Jeatar was amazing! He intrigued me in Book 1, but, by Book 3, he was tied for first place as my favorite character in the series. He was so badass, but not just in a fighting/killing kind of way, rather in a ridiculously intelligent, stealthy, cool, calm, collected, take charge, make things happen, leadership kind of way. And he also really cared about people. *END SPOILER ALERT*

Vyand – She may have been greedy, but, if there’s one thing you can say about her, it’s that, when she was getting paid, she took her job seriously and put in the work to earn that money.

Halima – She was only the cutest eight-year-old ever.

Aylin – She really needed to get off her high horse, but I can’t hold that against her too much since she was a great friend to Nya.

Quenji – He just cracked me up. And he was a good guy—minus the thievery, of course.

Nya – Though she wasn’t my favorite in the series, she was still a good protagonist who always did her best, even when it was hard for her, and cared about her sister more than anything.

The pacing was also great, and the world building seemed good, but, again, I’m not as familiar with this genre as others, I just know lovable characters when I see ’em! If you are a middle grade and/or high fantasy person though, you’ll probably like the book and series even more than I did.

 
 
Book Blurb

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?

Basic Info

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Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
Strong Language:

 
 

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  1. Greg

    The cover did catch my eye, and I thought this did look different than your usual reads. Looks good though, I like the idea of shifting pain or whatever- kinda like an empath? You don’t see too many empath stories (or at least I don’t)- does she transfer the actual wound to someone else? And a pain merchant? Wow that sounds interesting.

    Glad the characters were awesome, I don’t read a lot of middle grade but this one looks promising. :)

    Greg recently posted: Bookcover Spotlight #36

    1. Kristen Burns

      I wouldn’t say it’s like an empath actually. Empaths I’ve read about involuntarily feel what everyone around them is feeling, whereas in this book Nya has to touch the person and then actively draw the pain from them or push it into them. And no, the wound itself doesn’t transfer, just the pain. They use the pain to make weapons which is why they have pain merchants. It is a pretty interesting concept :-)

  2. Lola

    I think I bought a copy of this one a long time ago. I liked the sound of the concept and the cover is pretty! I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one. Humor is always tricky in books and ther eonly very few books that make me laugh out loud, so that makes me curious. I adon’t read a lot of a high fantasy or MG, but I do read both now and then, a bit more MG than high fantasy lately. I do like MG books with a lot of action and avdenture and great characters, so i think I will enjoy this one. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t know your preferences *exactly*, but, from what I do know, I think you might like this one. It does have some good adventure, and the characters are so likeable! If you do have it, you’ll have to let me know when you read it :-)

  3. Aentee

    I am getting all deja vu from this because I swear I’ve seen this cover and read this book – but reading your synopsis, it sounds like nothing I can remember ahaha. The premise sounds incredibly fascinating, though <3 I don't often gravitate towards MG either but would make an exception for this one.

    Aentee recently posted: Book Review: Passenger

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha that’s the worst when you swear you’ve read a book or even seen a movie or something but can’t actually remember it. It is a pretty interesting premise. It worked out well for me as an exception :-P

  4. Bookworm Brandee

    I am not a reader of high fantasy or much middle grade but a character driven story with well developed, likable characters? That I’m game for. :) I’m glad you had a good time getting to know these characters and that the story was well paced. I may check out this series, if only to see if one of my kids would enjoy it. My son in particular loves high fantasy. :)

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: Review ~ Hunting Ground ~ Patricia Briggs

    1. Kristen Burns

      If your son likes high fantasy, then he might love it! Though it does have a female protagonist, and there was a bit of a romantic element though it wasn’t a huge thing, so I don’t know how he would feel about that. Thanks, I really did love the characters :-)