Pain dug into my temple and I thudded back to the ground. Heclar floated in the silver flecks dancing around my eyes, a blue-black pynvium club in his hand.
He Sneered and pointed the club at me. "Stinking thieves, both of ya."
Without thinking, I grabbed the night guard's shin and drew, knitting bone and yanking every hurt, every sting from his ankle. His pain ran down my arm, seared my leg, and chewed around my own ankle.
I seized Heclar's leg with my free hand and pushed. The agony the night guard hadn't revealed raced up my other side and poured out my tingling fingers into Heclar. Heclar screamed loud enough to wake the Saints. To be truthful, it was worse than he deserved, but sending me to prison for eggs I hadn't yet stolen was worse than I deserved too.
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?
Another winner! The great thing about the book is the bond that the main characters form, and how strong that bond continues to grow throughout the book. Nya and Tali are orphans. Their parents had both died in the last war that had swept through their city. I believe there are going to be more books in this series, hopefully opening up to different "territories", but for now we have Sorille, Verlatta, Geveg (where this story takes place), and Baseer, where many of the authoritative figures in Geveg came from.
Tali, had lived in the League dorms, while Nya, who was living in a boarding home in the beginning of the book, was left to fend for herself for the most part. Tali was a Healer, which meant she had a special ability to "take" people's pain from them and heal them, whether it be bruises, broken bones, or whatever pain that person had suffered. She then had to take that pain and shift it to the pynvium, which was this metal that absorbed the pain from the takers. A useful process. Nya, had a very unique situation. She was able to "take" like Tali, but could not shift the pain to pynvium, instead, she was able to shift the pain into other people. Later on in the book, Nya discovers even more unique abilities that she possesses that we won't give away. Let me just mention, that regarding the pynvium, there are also enchanters that can take pynvium with pain and create weapons with it, in turn flashing that pain out of the pynvium to be inflicted unto others.
Nya has kept her ability a secret for a long time, afraid that if she let on that she could transfer pain to others, she might be kidnapped and used as a weapon herself. At the League, apprentice healers including Tali had been disappearing. The "story" was that after a huge boat accident, and the healers did their thing on the injured, they developed some disease and were all being cared for in a separate wing of the League. I will say that this is not true, that they did not have a disease, but I can't tell you what is really going on, as it would be a big spoiler. I will give you a hint though. All of a sudden, pynvium in Geveg, which has always been around was disappearing. Supposedly there was none left. With no pynvium, the healers had nowhere to release their pain that they collected from those injured in the boat wreck. If you have been paying attention you probably have come to a conclusion about what is wrong with the healers.
In the mean time, Nya, who finds her sister and knows that the Luminary, the head of the League, is up to something. She, along with a few close friends, Danello (who I have a feeling in book 2 will be more than a friend), Aylin, Kione (a guard at the league), and Soek, another healer like Tali, realize exactly what the Luminary is doing with the healers as well as why there is supposed to be a shortage of pynvium.
Along the way, Tali has some contact with Zertanik and a man who works for him named Jeatar (who later on proves that he was really not the bad person Nya thought he was, not Zertanik's real partner). Zertanik was a pain merchant, one who would pay people to take their pain, and in turn sell it on the black market to have it made into weapons. He discovered Nya's talent, the ability to "shift" pain from one person to another. For example, in the boat wreck, a family's young daughter was injured badly. He basically made Nya take the pain from her, and transfer it to a fisherman, who had been paid a hefty sum to take this pain from the little girl. Zertanik used Nya to do this. While he collected hefty sums from the rich, Nya got close to nothing for her services.
There is a Duke who rules over all of the lands. Without giving much away, Nya and her friends discover that Zertanik and the Luminary are working together in a master plan that involves amassing as much pynvium as possible, and traveling the different lands making a tremendous amount of money selling the pain within it as well as healing people to "re-fill" it with pain. The Duke is unaware of their little scam. Let's just say that Nya and her friends find out what had happened to all of the "sick" healers, uncovered Zertanek and the Luminary's plan, and decided they needed to fix all of this or perhaps another war like the one that wiped out their parents would start.
It is hard for me to really say more about the story without giving anything away. I always try to give as much info as I can to excite you to read the book, but don't want to give you enough info that you don't need to read it. I did enjoy this book very much. At 370 pages, it was a very easy, flowing read. I definitely would suggest that you read it. My suspicions tell me that there is much more to come in the rest of the series. As I stated, there are more unique things that Nya can do that involve taking, healing, pynvium, and flashing. My guess is that in the next book, where the group decides that the Duke is up to no good himself and are on a mission to stop him, we see a few different things. I am desperately hoping that we get to see more of Nya's abilities utilized, other healers with unique abilities (and I will give this away.... there are other healers that have unique abilities like Nya, and are not the typical "draw the pain from people and push it into pynvium", as well as hopefully different, new powers or abilities of the healers or from other people in different lands that we have not yet discovered. I am also hoping that the author brings us to different territories. Hopefully, the group will leave Geveg, and either go to Sorille, Verlatta, Baseer, or even territories we do not know about currently. At one point near the end of the book, Nya does give what could possibly b considered foreshadowing, telling of possibly traveling to a land South, over the mountains, where her "grannyma" as she calls her, (who was a Luminary herself and got killed along with her parents in the last war) describes a place where different people live.
What I will tell you that I suppose won't really hurt you to know is that besides what the Luminary was doing with the "disappearing" healers, the Duke had someone named Vinnot overseeing the hurt healers, taking constant note of their symptoms, the changes in their symptoms, and constantly collecting and analyzing that data. Lets just say the Duke has an inkling that there are others out there similar to Nya, and for some reason that is not known to us yet, he is doing everything in his power to find them and find what is unique about them. So, the Luminary is utilizing the healers for a secret reason and on top of that, the Duke is utilizing the same subjects for his own secret, selfish reasons. It sure would be a good thing if Nya and her pals were able to save all of those healers ;o)
READ BELOW, IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING COMMENTING ON THIS AND FUTURE POSTS:
Sometimes, especially in a fantasy book like this, it is difficult to explain certain events that have occurred without really giving something away you feel would ruin that excitement the reader will get from reading it themselves. What I want to talk about briefly is a bit of a different format I would like you guys as well as myself to take within the comments section of these posts. I want them to be more interactive. Let me briefly explain...I would like the comments sections to become more interactive meaning that f you have read the book, or even if you haven't and you choose to participate, I would like to discuss the book in the comments section. I know that many of you comment on the posts simply because it gets you an extra entry into the account, and that is fine. Going forward, I might have to modify the "extra" entries to reward those who take to the new "interactive discussion" format. I will of course honor all of the +1's for commenting, but I really would appreciate it if we can all make these comment sections more fun. Does that make sense to anyone?? I know that sometimes it will be hard to discuss a book without giving some important spoiler details away, but that is ok. If you have NOT read the book yet, and you want to get your +1, feel free to comment. If you have not read it, but wish to participate in the interactive part, pleas understand that you will probably hear things regarding the story that give a ton more away than in my review. The more I've been thinking about it, a lot of energy, time, and dedication goes into our as well as anyone else's review site. It would make us feel so much better and more rewarding to us about what we are doing if we actually engaged you guys, got into discussion. Well, this was obviously just an idea. I guess all that purple on the site is getting to my head, and the "creative" side is flaring. As you know, honest feedback is always welcome and appreciated.