Source: Bought through Half.com.
Book Description from Back Cover:
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 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?
The Shifter is a young adult fantasy novel. It's the first book in a series, but it wrapped up nicely at the end while still leaving me interested in reading more. I found the characters engaging and interesting, and the world-building was excellent. A unique culture and setting were vividly described without being obvious about it or slowing the pacing.
The book was a quick read. The suspense was created by potential physical danger to the various characters and by the danger to Nya of being captured or forced to misuse her skill. Nya was presented with several ethical dilemmas, and she had to decide if she'd do things she didn't think were correct in the hopes she could later fix them in time, or if she should let people she cared about suffer. She cared about people, even if she didn't know them personally.
There was a very minor amount of explicit bad language, and a minor amount of "he swore" style bad language. There was no sex. Though Nya had to heal several bad injuries, there wasn't graphic gore. Overall, I'd recommend this book.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.