Hello peoples! *waves happily as proof that she's not actually dead in the blogging world*
As most of you have probably noticed, I haven't been posting anything for a good long time. In fact, the last time I wrote anything for my blog was... let's see... *flips through blog date ledger*... March 25th. So ten days ago. I think that's definitely long enough. O_o Oh, and I haven't commented on anyone else's blog in such a long time that I can't even remember exactly how long it has been. But please don't feel like I don't love you because of it... believe me, I still read other blogs... I just never get around to posting comments anymore. Must try to remedy this; perhaps it will get better after school gets out in a another month. :)
I wish I could say, "Don't blame me for my lack of time. It's the nasty school's fault! It wasn't my idea for all of my teachers to insist that homework is more important than blogging!" But the fact is that homework is, indeed, much more important than blogging. As is writing, which still hasn't been coming very easy for me lately... (I'm trying hard not to feel discouraged).
So Homework. And I've just been negligent.
If there is one thing I'm most certainly good at, it's procrastinating. It seems like my favorite pass-time. Thus, when I sat down to do homework last night, I ended up in my word program trying to work on the rewrite of my novel... and when I found I was stuck, I ended up pulling out one of the books from my "not read yet" pile and reading the whole thing in one sitting.
Which leads me to the real reason for this post. I've decided to review the book I read last night. :D I actually have a list of other books that should be reviewed first, but I figured they could wait. (just like my homework... for now. *wince*)
So the book I read last night was called The Shifter and it is the first book in the Healing Wars series by Janice Hardy.
15-year-old Nya and her younger sister, Tali, who were orphaned during the recent war that nearly destroyed their city, both have the gift of healing. Unlike Tali, though, Nya can't harmlessly shift the pain she takes from the sick and wounded into enchanted pynvium metal. Instead, she must shift it from person to person, a dangerous talent that she keeps hidden from the ruling Baseeri and from the Healer's League where Tali is an apprentice. Scrounging to make ends meet, Nya resorts to odd jobs and the occasional theft to stay alive. When a young soldier discovers her secret and implores her to save his dying father, Nya is forced to choose between protecting herself and acknowledging her ability to save others and perhaps her entire city.
My thoughts: I really enjoyed reading this book. Really, I did. I picked it up and simply could not put it down... which is why I stayed up until I finished reading the very last page at 4:30 in the morning.
The action of this book was fast paced and it felt real. I thought the character of Nya was well written (even though it seemed like her inner conflicting thoughts were always rather similar... family, or friends, or self; however, this was relevant to the story, so I really don't have anything else to pick at.)
I absolutely love the thought put behind the magical abilities and qualities of Nya's world. It's almost familiar... but so different that it's exotic. Much like the rest of the book: the whole thing was exotic. Some of the scenes where Nya was running from one building to the next - one part of the city to the next - reminded me vaguely of Tamora Pierce's books set in the land of Tortall... and I absolutely ADORE Tamora Pierce's books (though, as a warning to some of the younger Christian readers on this site, Mrs. Pierce's books usually do have some slightly more mature content in them... she never goes "all the way", but there are some slightly edgy moments that I've skipped over in the past.)
What threw me for a loop at first while reading The Shifter is the fact that the setting is more exotic than I'm used to reading about in fantasy books. When I hear the word "Forest", I think of soft green light and trees I'm familiar with... like Oak, Ash, Maple, Dogwood and so on... It took me a few chapters to get used to the fact that the forests in this book were more muggy and marshy rain forests with monkey's flying through the branches and colorful birds flitting here and there, than they were the forests of Illinois or Michigan. I guess one might say it was a fresh setting... one reminiscent of the setting in Arabian Nights (which I think could be used more often).
I give this book a 4 1/2 stars out of 5. All together, it really was an amazing read, and I can't wait to get my hands on the second book in the series, Blue Fire, now in bookstores. Right now the third book in the series, Darkfall, is being prepared for publication.
To learn more about Mrs. Hardy and her books, you can visit her blog at http://blog.janicehardy.com