Patricia's Reviews > The Shifter

The Shifter by Janice Hardy
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Jan 08, 12

bookshelves: books-i-ve-reviewed, fantasy, ya
Read from October 20 to 24, 2011 — I own a copy

I really liked the sound of The Shifter's summary and it didn't take much encouragement to go off to amazon and download it. I have to say the cover was something that definitely drew me in, I loved the touch of fantasy to it.

The Shifter is the first book in The Healing Wars trilogy by Janice Hardy.

I was very taken in by the world building. I loved the way the world Hardy introduces us to. You've got a country that's been conquered in war, where its native people are subjected to prejudice and poverty, and there are barely enough jobs for people to put food on their table. It's harsh and filled with desperation and fear of a ruler who is willing to do anything to get what he wants.

Nya's powers and the way they evolved was done very well too. You never felt that it was obvious, or that she was this clichéd all-powerful character. The changes she went through were appropriate to her situation and they escalated as the danger escalated, but never in a way that seemed contrived. This was especially true of the most climatic scene in the book where everything Nya has worked hard to get is once again threatened and she accepts the decision that she has to make.

The story contains many serious themes (poverty, oppression, starvation, corrupt governments), and these, were of course, experienced through Nya's eyes. She faces decisions that most people will never have to face and she knows she will be judged for them, even blaming herself and feeling guilty for them. A lot of them are moral decisions that from a bystander's view can seem like the wrong choice to make, but as one of the character's points out, no one should judge her as they have not had to face the same situations and decisions as she did.

The glimpses into Nya's past with her family are well placed, a painful contrast to the reality of her life now. It lets the reader know firsthand what Nya has lost. The one thing from her past that remains is Tali, Nya's sister and in this broken world that Nya lives in, Tali is what Nya treasures most.

Hardy introduces a good supportive cast of secondary characters. Danello, the possible love interest is one of my favourites. I think that the way their friendship blossoms under such tense and horrifying circumstances is sweet. I also liked that it didn't draw me away from the real focus of the story. I hope to see more of the secondary characters, as I liked what I saw of them, especially when it came to Aylin and Danello. But I did feel that there were stories to be told for other characters that we don't get to in this book.

But what made me really love this book? It was a scene very early on in the story, where Nya has to make the first of many terrible decisions.

I remember this clearly because I was on the bus at the time and I literally had to stop reading because of how intense the scene was and how it was affecting me. This scene involved Nya's ability to shift pain into someone else and Hardy did an excellent job in making me feel both for Nya and the family she was attempting to help. I don’t want to reveal too much because I don't want to ruin the scene for those who decide to give the book a read. But yes. Definitely my favourite scene of the entire book.

So, definitely enjoyed this and very much looking forward to seeing Nya and her friends take on the Duke in the second book of the trilogy, Blue Fire.

Originally posted @ http://patriciamarqueswriting.blogspo...
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message 1: by Kakashi (new) - added it

Kakashi Rain I know exactly what scene you're talking about and I completely agree. I wish someone had read it with me so we could yell at the book together. It was a great book... I think I'll read it again. Laters awesome nerds. :) :)

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