- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (August 31, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0061747084
- ISBN-13: 978-0061747083
- Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.8 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 52 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #990,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Shifter (The Healing Wars: Book 1) Paperback – August 31, 2010
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In the tradition of strong-willed adventure heroines, Nya rallies, unleashing her powers as she faces complex moral dilemmas. Her first-person narration is suffused with the agony of deciding who will live or die. Timely ethical exploration in the guise of high-action fantasy. (Kirkus Reviews)
Nya’s distinctive first-person voice, strongly personable with a wry sense of humor, draws readers in…[the] hard-charging plot makes the pages fly by...Would you save someone’s life at the cost of unbearable pain to someone else?[Readers] will eagerly await the next volume of the Healing Wars. (The Horn Book)
The headstrong Nya and the innovative premise...keep readers turning the pages. (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books)
Fantasy fans and those who just love a good story will enjoy this fast-paced novel and eagerly await book two. (School Library Journal)
From the Back Cover
A dangerous secret. A deadly skill.
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, 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. If discovered, she could be used as a human weapon.
But one day Nya pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. She refuses—until Tali and other League Healers start disappearing mysteriously. Now Nya must decide: How far will she go to get Tali back alive?
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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.
Original Review @ Metaphors and Moonlight (link in profile)
The world is fascinating, different and engaging. If anything I wanted to know MORE about the world and setting. I liked the characters and I'm looking forward to how they'll develop in book 2. As for the political intrigue, it was there but didn't bludgeon you over the head, which I think is great for the YA audience to which this book is targetted.
The colloquialisms in the dialogue were great - really anchored you in the world and made their situations more tangible.
I found it hard to put down and read it in about three sittings when life finally gave me a minute to pick up my Kindle. If you're looking for something dark and terrible, complex and twisted then keep looking. This story is for anyone who enjoys a romping fantasy with younger characters and sensibilities that leaves you feeling better for reading it
OK, I'll quit. I don't want to give you the idea that The Shifter is a dry commentary on our times. It's not. It's a well-paced adventure story full of brave characters who risk their lives and make heavy sacrifices for others. It's got bad `uns and good `uns and conflict and love and reward. It's a wonderful story about an orphan girl who has to outsmart powerful, greedy men to save the sister she loves.
The underlying question of ethics gives the book depth, but the story is not preachy at all. It's a story about conflict and danger and courage that sucks the reader in. I really liked Nya. She is a strong character, struggling to do right. She loves. She's loyal. She's trying to grow up to be something worthwhile. She's looking for her place in the world. She's trying to figure out how her gift can do anyone any good. She's got a lot of conflict and a lot of courage and I liked her immediately and kept on liking her through the whole book.
I also liked the supporting cast very much-one fellow in particular makes me hope for a romance to develop in the next couple of books.
Four stars so I have room to go up to five stars if I get the romance I want. :)