Jun 20, 2011

Review: The Shifter by Janice Hardy

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


  1. That's the way most YA books are. They aren't just for teenagers, which is a confusing hang-up that keeps people from reading excellent books. I much prefer them over adult novels, to be honest, and 99% of my reading is YA.

  2. Great review! I won this book in a contest and enjoyed it as well. It isn't my favorite YA distopian but it's a decent read.

  3. I'm glad to see you liked it! I certainly thought it was good.

  4. Tamara: That's what I'm learning. I still have a lot to check out.

    Creepy Query Girl: Would you consider it dystopian? I can kind of see that, given the events, but I wouldn't have thought of classifying it that way. Glad you liked the review!

    A. Lockwood: I'm glad I enjoyed it too. Janice is a great person so I'm glad to spread word about her work.

  5. Your review made me interested in reading this book! Thanks for stopping by and for the laugh over an "Irish knees-up" - it was good for the soul.

  6. You're welcome, Melissa! Do check the book out. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  7. I've not read much young adult, although there are a few, like this one, I might try.

  8. Do. It's a great read, and if you're not used to Young Adult, it's a nice lead-in to other titles.