Customer Reviews for

The Shifter (Healing Wars Series #1)

Average Rating 4
( 59 )
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(31)

4 Star

(19)

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(4)

2 Star

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1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

A fun, original fantasy

There is no question that this is a fast-paced, fun novel with an original fantasy that incorporates well both the light and dark sides of the magic. Personally, I'm always a fan of original fantasies that are done well. Specifically, that means that the fantasy itself ...
There is no question that this is a fast-paced, fun novel with an original fantasy that incorporates well both the light and dark sides of the magic. Personally, I'm always a fan of original fantasies that are done well. Specifically, that means that the fantasy itself has never been done before, the world itself is unique, and the magic must be explained properly with the proper guidance and rules. Like anything in nature, magic will also follow a set of organic guidelines or it won't really make sense to the reader.

Hardy has given us all the necessary elements for a good original fantasy. The rules are clear, the characters themselves must choose between the evil and good sides of what the magic is capable of, and the world itself is unique to the type of fantasy she's exploring. However, although I did enjoy it, I have a few qualms about the story overall. First, there is a lot of willing suspension of disbelief in regards to what the characters are able to accomplish.

Also, Hardy sets us up for a second book, but the set up is a bit trite and cheesy. I'm not sure we really needed the set up to be so obvious. Nya is going to take on the Duke all alone, which is unfortunate that she has such a clear vendetta. I think it would be more interesting if we were to find Nya and Tali in hiding at the beginning of the next book and watch as they have to navigate a myriad of difficult circumstances as they continue to explore the original world that Hardy has created.

Lastly, and this is my biggest gripe, it's difficult to figure out what the world looks like, not just the specific scenes that Nya finds herself in, but the world as a whole. I have a hard time picturing the landscape, the geography and layout of the land. I can't seem to imagine how the buildings appear or the relative size of the city. Also, would it be so hard to hire an artist to recreate the world on a map? That seems like a pretty standard thing to do with original fantasy worlds and stories.

However, despite some of the flaws, I really enjoyed this new fantasy that delves into the prospect of using healing powers for evil or good. I recommend this book to all readers 11+.

This is the first in the series, so far, and I look forward to the rest of the books.

-Lindsey Miller, www.lindseyslibrary.com

posted by Lindsey_Miller on October 5, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Lightweight reading with a weighty moral message: an unusual and unique piece of middle grade fiction that, while corny, is sure to please its target audience

Originally reviewed and published at www.readerviewskids.com
http://maggiesbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/11/shifter.html

War is never kind to the losing side: So fifteen-year-old orphan Nya has discovered since the Baseeri invaded and occupied her homeland, the tropic...
Originally reviewed and published at www.readerviewskids.com
http://maggiesbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/11/shifter.html

War is never kind to the losing side: So fifteen-year-old orphan Nya has discovered since the Baseeri invaded and occupied her homeland, the tropical island of Geveg, forcing her people out of their homes and livelihoods and into the streets. And while her sister Tali's abilities have granted her a comfortable life training as a Healer in the League, Nya's own talents have a darker side to them: instead of transferring pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal use to store it, she can only shift it from person to person. She has vowed never to use her sinister abilities due to their sometimes lethal side effects. But now with her secret exposed Nya is forced to choose between saving the life of her sister and only family and destroying the resistance efforts of her own people forever.

Despite weighty themes such as racism, poverty and government corruption, "The Shifter" is a surprisingly easygoing read; from its inventive, mild street slang ("sure as spit" and "Sweet Saea" being two examples) to characters that, while somewhat likeable, aren't exactly original. Because of this, it's thought-provoking without being overwhelming, an excellent combination for middle grade fantasy. And Hardy's non-traditional views on healing will probably spark a bit of "I wish I could do that" in its target audience.

Unfortunately, though, older teens aren't likely to be as impressed. Its breezy style gets grating after awhile, and the one-liner dialogue is corny and the characters downright annoying as the book goes on. Nya's views on boys were particularly immature, making her seem more like a twelve-year-old than a fifteen-year-old. The setup for sequels is obvious, especially towards the end, and the foreshadowing feels heavy-handed and confusing. I also had a hard time keeping the political factions of Geveg and Baseeri straight, and Hardy would have done well to tone the diplomatic intrigue down a little.

Despite all that, it is hard not to admire the messages that the author has set out to tell, and mostly succeeded in doing so. "The Shifter" is immensely readable and refreshingly original, and it drives home the point that no matter your writing ability, concept will always be king in fantasy and science fiction (try reading "Twilight" if you aren't convinced). While it probably won't be the next "it" series, "The Healing Wars" is definitely one to watch.

posted by Mdesmondobrien on November 16, 2009

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  • Posted November 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Lightweight reading with a weighty moral message: an unusual and unique piece of middle grade fiction that, while corny, is sure to please its target audience

    Originally reviewed and published at www.readerviewskids.com
    http://maggiesbookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/11/shifter.html

    War is never kind to the losing side: So fifteen-year-old orphan Nya has discovered since the Baseeri invaded and occupied her homeland, the tropical island of Geveg, forcing her people out of their homes and livelihoods and into the streets. And while her sister Tali's abilities have granted her a comfortable life training as a Healer in the League, Nya's own talents have a darker side to them: instead of transferring pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal use to store it, she can only shift it from person to person. She has vowed never to use her sinister abilities due to their sometimes lethal side effects. But now with her secret exposed Nya is forced to choose between saving the life of her sister and only family and destroying the resistance efforts of her own people forever.

    Despite weighty themes such as racism, poverty and government corruption, "The Shifter" is a surprisingly easygoing read; from its inventive, mild street slang ("sure as spit" and "Sweet Saea" being two examples) to characters that, while somewhat likeable, aren't exactly original. Because of this, it's thought-provoking without being overwhelming, an excellent combination for middle grade fantasy. And Hardy's non-traditional views on healing will probably spark a bit of "I wish I could do that" in its target audience.

    Unfortunately, though, older teens aren't likely to be as impressed. Its breezy style gets grating after awhile, and the one-liner dialogue is corny and the characters downright annoying as the book goes on. Nya's views on boys were particularly immature, making her seem more like a twelve-year-old than a fifteen-year-old. The setup for sequels is obvious, especially towards the end, and the foreshadowing feels heavy-handed and confusing. I also had a hard time keeping the political factions of Geveg and Baseeri straight, and Hardy would have done well to tone the diplomatic intrigue down a little.

    Despite all that, it is hard not to admire the messages that the author has set out to tell, and mostly succeeded in doing so. "The Shifter" is immensely readable and refreshingly original, and it drives home the point that no matter your writing ability, concept will always be king in fantasy and science fiction (try reading "Twilight" if you aren't convinced). While it probably won't be the next "it" series, "The Healing Wars" is definitely one to watch.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    Anonous awser

    Looks lika good book. I sould read it.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2011

    ok

    it wasnt the best book ive ever read, and it was a little childish, but the idea and story line was ok, the idea better then the story. but it left off, in my opinion, on a cliff hanger.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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