Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Them great 'Vegs!

The Shifter
By: Janice Hardy
Reported by: Juli Helms

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?

-Summary from Goodreads

Janice Hardy crafts a tale both genuinely humorous and uncannily dark. I was hooked by both her premise and her first sentence, and the novel only gets better as it goes on.

Nya is a strong, witty protagonist. She can think on her feet, and has a way of looking at things that will make you burst out laughing despite your surroundings. The secondary characters were built very thoroughly as well, even the ones that make only one or two appearances throughout the story. And the characters develop nicely over the arc of the novel, the tension crackling on the pages and will make you shiver for one second, laugh out loud the next, and gaping at a revelation the second after that.

I also enjoyed the fact that the summary doesn't shed light on the entire plot. It was interesting and wonderful to go on the ride with new surprises at every turn, and innovative, bigger conflicts than just Nya's missing sister popping up when you least expect it.

Overall, The Shifter is a brilliantly written novel that will captivate your attention until the very end. It's a tale of morality, survival, and the ultimate combination of magic and realism.
Also, I strongly suggest that you guys check out Janice's writing blog here. It's a wealth of information that cannot be missed!

P.S. If you're wondering why I titled this review "Them great 'Vegs", read the book and find out! :)

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