This is my first review since I started blogging about writing, so I figured I'd review a book I discovered as a result of my blogging.
The Shifter, by Janice Hardy (UK title is The Pain Merchants) tells the story of Nya, a girl who can heal by taking the pain of another's injuries and holding it in her own body. However, unlike the vaunted members of the Healer's League, Nya can't dispose of this pain normally. She can only shift this pain back into another person. This forces her to hide her abilities, and becomes the cause of her problems through the course of the book. However, as her journey continues, Nya soon learns that this curse is a power that can help her save herself, her sister, and more.
I'm not used to reading Young Adult fiction, so I'll admit the more straightforward language of this book took me some time to get used to. However, once past this hurdle, I was caught up in Nya's troubles. Just when you think things can't get any worse for Nya, that she can't be pushed any further, Janice surprises you. There are some truly great moments, a couple of which found me almost cheering out loud on the train.
If I'm honest, apart from the ages of the primary characters, there was little in this that I would simply classify as "teens only." This is a fun book, with action, adventure, and engaging emotional turmoil. Told from Nya's point of view in a 1st-person format, it's so easy to get swept up in her life in this city under enemy occupation. This is a book suitable for young readers, with no graphic content or excessive violence, but still packed with action and excitement that should appeal to older readers, even adults looking for a solid story with appealing characters and a rocking climax.
The next book in the series, Blue Fire, is definitely on my "to-read" list.
Personal Opinion: 4 out of 5