The Healing Wars: Book One
Balzer + Bray, 2009
Middle Grade Fantasy
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.
~excerpt from chapter one, also quoted on the back cover
Aside from having some of the best cover art I've ever seen, Janice Hardy's Healing Wars series is a definite must-read for children and adults alike... and I'm saying that after only reading the first book.
Nya is a Taker with a rare gift -- she can also Shift. She has the ability to draw pain from someone, hold it, and then push it into someone else. Nya's younger sister, Tali, is an apprentice in the Healer's League. They had been orphaned during a previous war, and while Tali spends her days at "school", Nya wanders the streets in search of odd jobs to afford food in their bellies.
Nya's mother had warned her to keep her talents secret, but when life or death necessity forces her to Shift, more and more people -- both good and bad -- learn of her abilities, and she discovers just how much danger she is in. But it's too late. Once the events are set in motion, she cannot turn back. Around every corner, something new thrusts her into making tough decisions... I mean, really tough decisions that even I, as an adult, would not want to be faced with.
Apprentices at the Healer's League are disappearing, and when Tali is among the missing, Nya does what she feels she must to find her, even if it means using her gift to hurt instead of heal. But when she learns of a conspiracy among League authorities and an undercover connection with the nefarious pain merchants, her simple rescue mission turns into an all-out war.
This book has everything I crave in a good spec fic story. World building without boring infodumps or getting lost in lengthy descriptions. A strong-yet-conflicted viewpoint character. A plot that keeps you guessing. High concept and high stakes, and a pace that, at times, literally leaves you breathless. Highly recommended.
Book Two in The Healing Wars series, Blue Fire, RELEASED TODAY! I just picked up my copy and can't wait to dive in.
Like, right now. See ya!
About the author:
A longtime fantasy reader, Janice Hardy has always wondered about the darker side of healing. She tapped into her own dark side to create a world where healing could be dangerous, and those with the best intentions often made the worst choices. She lives in Georgia with her husband, four cats, and one nervous freshwater eel. Janice offers helpful writing tips and advice through her blog, The Other Side of the Story.