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.
Anyone who likes middle grade high fantasy and lovable characters.
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?