Nya is an orphan who lives in Gevey. She has a special power; she is a Taker- meaning she can take someone's pain away. But she's different from other Takers, while most can put the pain into pynvium, a metal that can hold the pain she is only able to put the pain into other people. No one but her sister knows her secret; Nya would be used as a weapon otherwise. But one day the wrong person sees her shift pain. The pain merchant tries to force Nya to shift pain into others so he can make quick money. Can she stop working for him, save her newfound friends, and stop an evil plot using the Takers?
I have also read the second book in this series, "Blue Fire". "The Shifter" was just as quick-paced and exciting as the its sequel. I especially liked reading about Nya meeting her friends that will play an important role in the following book. Anyone who enjoys Janice Hardy's other books or reads books with lots of action and evil plots will want to read "The Shifter".
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?