When this book opens Nya is stealing a chicken. On the scale of awesome thefts, this isn’t too high up there, amirite? Imrite. She’s living hand to mouth, and lately it’s been taking rather a lot to get anything IN that hand that’s going to her mouth. (Okay, that was a painful turn of phrase, but I’ve been putting off reviewing this book, so just go with it. Times are hard, okay? Okay.)
Times are hard, and not just for penniless orphans. Her land was on the losing side of a war a couple of years ago- that’s what happened to her parents- and the Duke has taken it upon himself to make sure the people know who is in charge now, and they are NOT first class citizens any more. Tensions would be high, if morale wasn’t so low.
Anyhow, that’s what going on while Nya is stealing a chicken to get by. But in escaping, she let a secret of hers escape too.
(Wow, I’m sorry for the way my mind is stringing words together today. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.)
You see, in this world there are Healers, also know as shifters, who can shift pain. They take it from the sick or injured person, and put it in a special ore, pynvium. While they’re in there taking pain they are able to fix what is actually making the person ill, and everyone is happy and pain-free. Nya’s sister is a healer, and she’s in training, getting fed and clothed and taken care of for her skills. Nya would be a healer to, but she can’t put the pain into pynvium. She can, however, put it into other people. As a peniless orphan who would be a second class citizen to begin with, that’s not something you want powerful and moral-light people to hear about. But now this little piece of information is starting to circulate, and Nya is soon being pursued by two groups with motivation she really doesn’t want to hear more about, thank you very much.
Also, cute and responsible boys in uniform. SQUEEEE! *cough*
This book dealt with a lot of moral issues, which is something I am really a fan of in YA literature. How far do you go for the people you love? How far do you have to go to correct things you’ve done wrong? When do you decide that someone is an enemy, and how should you treat your enemies?
(I do wish there was a mainstream story that dealt with spiritualtiy in a positive way- when the “gods” are not walking around eating people or sending purple-eyed kittens, for example- but so far I haven’t found one. Agnostic and bitter teens ftw? *sigh*)
I really liked the plot, and the climatic scene was immensely satisfying. *pleased smile* I want the next book when it comes out. HOWEVER, I never really felt like I connected with the characters. That’s probably a personal thing, though, so I gave it three stars out of five.