The Healing Wars
Book I: The Shifter
By Janice Hardy
(Balzer + Bray, Hardcover, 9780061747045, 384pp.)
Publication Date: October 2009
Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Takerwith 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?
“Fantasy fans and those who just love a good story will enjoy this fast-paced novel and eagerly await book two.”
-School Library Journal
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.
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