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The Shifter (Healing Wars #1)

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  5,149 Ratings  ·  437 Reviews
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 sh ...more
Library Binding, 370 pages
Published October 1st 2009 by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen (first published September 28th 2009)
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Loading... I guess it's the trend in that time period/era. The story takes place in a medieval setting, so it's probably just proper for her to wear a skirt.…moreI guess it's the trend in that time period/era. The story takes place in a medieval setting, so it's probably just proper for her to wear a skirt. Still... I see your point.(less)
Mitchie (DreamWalker) There is a slight hint of romance. It's sweet but the story mainly focuses on other areas.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Kirsty (Amethyst Bookwyrm)
Nya, an orphan who is struggling to survive, is an unusual taker, unlike most takers, including her sister Tali, she cannot push the pain she heals from someone into pynvium but into another person. With another war on the horizon she is desperate for work and food but doesn’t want to be used as a weapon. When Nya’s sister disappears along with other league healers, Nya has to make a difficult choices and bargains, but are they worth the cost?

The Shifter is an enjoyable YA fantasy book and while
Jan 27, 2011 Mery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mery by: 仔, 我 决 定 爱 你 一萬年
Shelves: w, translating-works
Nya, seorang gadis yatim piatu yang memiliki kemampuan sebagai Taker. Dia bisa merasakan rasa sakit milik seseorang, menariknya, dan menyimpannya ke dalam tubuh.

Tapi berbeda dengan adiknya, Tali, dan para Taker lainnya, bakat Nya ga sempurna. Dia ga bisa memasukkan rasa sakit itu ke dalam pynvium, sebuah benda tersihir yang bisa menampung rasa sakit. Alih-alih, Nya bisa memindahkan rasa sakit tersebut ke dalam tubuh orang lain. oleh karena itu Nya hidup susah di jalanan, sementara adiknya tingga
Jan 28, 2010 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, owned
From reading the dust jacket I already loved the magic system. By half-way through chapter 1 I was smiling along with the voice of the book, and by the end of the chapter I was impressed with the pacing of the story. The rest of the book was just as good.

One of the really great things about this book is that the characters are entirely self-consistent. Their actions may not always be expected, but to a point they make sense based on who the character is, including age, personality, and motivatio
I really was completely indifferent to most of this story. I skimmed the better part of the book after establishing the main characters and who I needed to follow.

Not that entertaining at all until the last five minutes where there was a hint of interest from the MC to the one guy I preferred. It might be enough for me to read the next one if it's free.

Jodi Meadows
May 23, 2011 Jodi Meadows rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Awesome! Quick pace, good plot, fantastic voice.
Oct 27, 2010 Bookyurt rated it really liked it
The Shifter is a lovely change of pace from standard fantasy fare – no knights here, and no vampires, werewolves, or witches either. Instead I found a fascinating world, where Healers are a magic resource that can be used to fuel a war, where the politics of conquest cause poverty and helplessness, and where a war-made orphan is determined to do whatever is necessary to save her sister.

The loss of everything she ever had is the crucible that molded Nya, a desperate and determined girl. Her matte
K.M. Weiland
Nov 20, 2014 K.M. Weiland rated it really liked it
From the very first scene, I knew I was safely in the hands of an author who knew what she was doing. Hardy weaves a nice tale based on a charmingly unique and possibility-ridden premise: what if healing hurt? She creates a convincing little cosmos for her characters, raises the stakes high from the beginning, and keeps the action rolling from page one. I appreciated that she presents her main character with tough choices and makes her live through their consequences. Gorgeous cover too!
Kristen Burns
3.5 Stars

Full Review:
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 st
Lisa Nocita
Jul 24, 2011 Lisa Nocita rated it liked it
Nya is a taker. She can take pain, illness, and injury from those who are afflicted with a touch. Her father was an enchanter, one who prepared the rock to hold such misery, and her mother was a healer. Her grandmother held the highest office before their country was conquered by a power hungry, land grabbing duke. The world is a harsh place for those on the bottom rungs of the social order; the new regime is unfriendly to the native inhabitants. Only the healers still have a useful and much nee ...more
It took a little bit to pinpoint what bothered me about this book. It had an interesting concept, but it fell flat for me throughout the entirety of the book, and even when I finished reading it I just sort of stared, shrugged, and felt kind of 'meh'.

What bugged me, I think, is that while I love action, I love racing from scene to scene and one crisis to another, there was little other than that. Plot is good. Lots of plot is good. But if you overwhelm the story with what you (the author) want
3.5 stars. The Shifter reminded me a little bit of Touch of Power by Maria Snyder, but it's more of a middle grade book.

I really liked the main character and her struggle with her healing ability. There are some heartbreaking things that happen and that's when I felt the most connection to the story. The supporting characters were also all good.

The story is written more simply because it's middle grade and that is one reason I'm not always a fan of reading middle grade books. Just a teeny bit
Lala_Loopsie [fire breathing B!tch Queen]
This book just was NOT what I expected. I expected a girl who didnt know what to do with herself, living off her sisters money. Not a girl making a living doing differnt jobs. The book was quite good. I just didnt like the (view spoiler). I just hope I can read the next books in the series.

P.D. This is the 3rd book i finished reading today (this was useless information brought to you by lala_loopsie)

THANKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS for this Goodreads!!!!!!!
Jenny Holmström
Original idea, but I got some mixed feelings about this one.
A book that got better towards the end and also more exciting.
Nothing special with the language and Janice Hardy could have made more out of the first person perspective than she did.
A fast read but the book itself would be easily forgotten if it wasn't for the unusual ideas.
I want to read the rest of the trilogy though; after all I gave it three stars so it was an ok book.
Jan 28, 2016 Angela marked it as deals  ·  review of another edition
28 January 2016: $3.99 on Kindle
Aug 22, 2010 Terri rated it it was ok
Description from the book jacket: “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 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 f ...more
Samantha (Book Lover's Cozy Cafe)
This book was kind of similar to the Poison Study and Glass Study books written by Maria V. Snyder. But instead of people having different magics, these people only had Takers or Healers as some are called. They are able to take pain out of people and put it into a thing called pynvium. Nya though is special, she can take pain away just like her younger sister Talia, but she can't put the pain into the pynvium, she can transfer pain from one person to another. Neat little weapon if you piss her ...more
Aug 05, 2009 A.E. rated it really liked it
When Healers lay hands on injured people they can absorb the injury and pain into their own bodies, and later move it from themselves into a stone called pynvium. At least they can in the medieval fantasy world created by Janice Hardy in her middle grade novel, The Shifter, due out in October.

The story centers around 15 year old Nya who is a Healer...but with a defect. She can only shift the pain and injury into other people, not pynvium. This little 'quirk' is something she and her younger sist
Dec 29, 2009 Becky rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading the above blurb, I was so excited to begin The Pain Merchants. I thought the premise sounded fascinating and also thought-provoking. I found myself wondering about the moral implications of having an ability like the main character Nya. Why would you remove a person's pain just to give it to another person? Can purposefully causing another person pain ever be acceptable or morally right? I had expectations that The Pain Merchants would make me face ethical dilemmas and consider the ...more
Nov 21, 2011 Cornerofmadness rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, fantasy
The Shifter by Janice Hardy

This was a YA I had been wanting to read and a friend lent it to me. It opens in a place that reminds me of eighteenth century Europe right down to various dukes invading and conquering their neighbors. It opens in conquered Geveg centering on Nya, a young woman living hand to mouth after the death of her parents and grandmother during the war (that the Gevegians lost). Her sister Tali is a little luckier, having a magical ability to heal people by drawing out their pa
Reading Sarah
Jul 26, 2009 Reading Sarah rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya, family, teens
In Nya's world pain is a product to be bought and sold. Many people, including Nya, can take pain and heal. Unlike most people though, Nya can't transfer the pain into the Pynvium stone that is later shaped into pain-dealing weapons. Nya is instead, a Shifter, she can act as a conduit, shifting pain from one person to another, sometimes holding the pain to herself for a time. She's unusual and dangerous and valuable to those who lack scruples enough to use her when the Pynvium supply runs low.

Dec 30, 2009 Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009, fantasy
Ages 10+ (one "ass", violence, general complexity)

I'm not sure what to think about this one. It's hard to wrap my head around genuine world-built fantasy sometimes (although I have no problem with science fiction, huh). New vocabulary must be absorbed, passages demand re-reading in order to understand them. But the story of Nya, an orphan in an defeated and culturally oppressed country, is terribly intriguing.

See, Nya is from a family of Healers, folks with a magical bent who can absorb pain a
Dec 26, 2011 R rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I was excited to read this book. I hadn't read a story like this before, with healers drawing pain unto themselves (although I have heard of A Touch of Power).

It was a nice story and action-packed. I liked the protagonist, Nya, although I don't like her name. She's strong and independent, a good female heroine. She was also fiercely protective of her sister, and willing to do everything in order to protect her family. Definitely an admirable trait. The other characters were also fun and didn't j
Feb 23, 2010 Arya rated it it was amazing
I cannot stress enough how awesome this book was! Nya is a tortured character that not only possesses immense resolve and determination, but an honor and goodness that is refreshing, though throughout the book she is faced with the hardest choices I can immagine, still at the end of the story you love her despite her myriad flaws.

Nya is a fifteen year old orphan who has been landed with way too many responsibilites these range from her own saftey, work, food and board to being her sister's p
Jun 12, 2014 Elyse rated it it was amazing
This book is written in the main character Nya's point of view. This book reminded me of how some people will do anything to protect there friends and family. Throughout the story Nya does many things that if word got around would put her in danger and chased by the healers league for shifting. Nya and her sister Tali are orphans from the war but Nya has to life on the streets because she can't feel pynium. One day when her sister goes missing she ends up putting her life on the line. She makes ...more
Jan 12, 2011 Ithlilian rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
I've had a hard time finding a good fantasy book in the YA genre. Some are too long winded and stale, some are too full of angst and drama, and others are just plain boring. The Shifter is unique and full of action. For once I actually care about the different backgrounds of the characters and the different factions. There wasn't a single thing I wasn't interested in in this book. I wish this book was more talked about and suggested. I stumbled upon it by chance at the library and I wish I had h ...more
May 30, 2013 Cogito_ergo_sum rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
I have mixed feelings about this book. I saw this book back in February of 2013, but dismissed it. Later on, (this week) I found the author's website that helped writers write better.I found her website helpful and insightful. That's when I decided to see what she wrote. Incidentally, I was led right back to this book.

This book is upper middle grade, and isn't very long (compared to YA for older audiences). The world it is built in is very imaginative and creative. Originality is harder and har
Mar 28, 2012 Pamela rated it it was ok
Recommended to Pamela by: AliceAnn
An interesting premise and an interesting world, but a lot of the action felt rushed, and I was often quite confused as to what, exactly, was going on. I really want to know more about the kingdoms in the area where Nya lives, and more about her and her family. She's pretty spunky, and appropriately conflicted about her abilities and what they should be used to do or not do. Nya can take in other people's pain, but she can't release it into the Slab, which is how her people store the energy of p ...more
Apr 18, 2016 Hillaryaltes rated it it was amazing
In her novel "The Shifter", Janice Hardy writes a captivating story that evokes countless emotions from the reader. With its complex plot, this book includes many surprises that keep the reader intrigued. The story focuses on Nya, a teenage girl with irregular talents, as she struggles to survive as a Taker (someone who takes pain and passes it on). When she is forced to use her dangerous ability in order to help save her sister, Tali, the plot focuses on her physical struggles as well as her em ...more
Jan 24, 2010 Alex rated it liked it
Shelves: magic
Really cool premise- there are people with the ability to remove pain with a touch of their hands and then dispose of it into a type of rock. Tali has this gift, but her sister, Nya can do a little bit more. Nya winds up using her gift and then is chased after by all sorts of nefarious characters. The plot was both a little confusing at times and also predictable, but I enjoyed reading all the same. Looking forward to book two...

Cinette Santangelo
Jun 02, 2011 Cinette Santangelo rated it it was amazing
I've been meaning to read this story for ages, and now that I have, I regret having taken so long to get to it! I could not put it down. The characters are engaging and the story is incredibly well written, with tension on every page. Thank goodness I have the second book in the series, BLUE FIRE next to me, so I can continue on into this riviting trilogy.
Recommended to anyone looking for a new and exciting Young Adult fantasy.
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I wonder if Danello likes Nya? 2 18 Jul 21, 2014 04:07PM  
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I’m a voracious reader, which used to get me into a lot of trouble in school. Eventually, I figured out writing stories in class made it look like I was doing actual work, so my teachers left me alone. Since then, writing has worked out way better than algebra ever did. I now write young adult fiction and no one ever tells me to cut it out and pay attention anymore. For my debut fantasy novel, The ...more
More about Janice Hardy...

Other Books in the Series

Healing Wars (3 books)
  • Blue Fire (Healing Wars, #2)
  • Darkfall (Healing Wars, #3)

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