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Book Review - The Pain Merchants

 Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Egads methinks I might have to rethink my target of reviewing half of the books I read cos I am seriously behind now. I am not gonna review Fallen Grace fully but if people want to know my general thoughts then I can do a mini-review.

 Title: The Pain Merchants
Author: Janice Hardy
Date: 4/2/2011 PM
Source: Bought
Description: Fifteen-year-old Nya survives on odd jobs and optimism, finding both in short supply in a city crippled by war. Then a bungled egg theft and a stupid act of compassion exposes her secret to two powerful groups - the pain merchants and the Healers' League. 
They discover Nya is a Taker, a healer who can pull pain and injury from others. Unlike the League apprentices, she can't dump that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it from person to person, which is useless and has never once paid for her breakfast. But when a new disaster strikes, Nya finds that her talent is suddenly in great demand - but at what cost? (Description taken from GoodReads)

My Review
It's been a while since I read a high fantasy book that had a truly fascinating and original magic system and this book was simply chock-full of interesting ideas with a fab group of characters to follow through the action. I really loved how we were simply dropped into this world that has been through a great upheaval and now Nya's fellow countrymen are made to feel like second-class citizens in their own city. One thing that would have improved my understanding of the world and the shenanigans going on inside it would have been a map- y'know cos all fantasy books need a cool map right?

I really liked Nya, she was funny and savvy having to live by her wits and earning enough money to keep herself in decent rooms. She's fiercely loyal to her sister and even cares about the welfare of complete strangers especially if she has the power to affect or change it. She's not infallible and does make some morally questionable choices even though she does try her damnedest to rectify her mistakes. Her power is really cool although I'll admit to getting slightly confused at times as to how it was different to the normal healing that her sister does.

The whole idea of being able to magically draw pain from the body and store it like energy is so brilliant although I really wanna know where the heck the name Pynvium came from cos it's totally bananas! But really fun to say at the same time. Also the ability to use little blocks of pynvium like weapons by "flashing" them is super bad-ass and I really want to know more about the dynamics between the League of Healers and the Pain Merchants (who really don't feature quite as much in the story as the title might lead you to think).

There is loads of stuff that can be explored further in the next books; the political shenangians that led to Nya's country being conquered by the oft-curst Duke, the ramifications of Nya's actions in the climax with regards to the League of Healers, and the general relationships between certain characters which were mercifully unhurried in this first book (nothing more irksome than rushed romances).

Overall a wonderfully fresh fantasy read and I am excited to read more from this world and see what Nya is up to next in the second book Blue Fire which should be out at the end of March 2011. 

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Eeek I really cannot afford to let myself get so far behind as to be reviewing books 10 days after I finish them :S 



Lit Addicted Brit 15 February 2011 at 13:16  

Ooh, this sounds brilliant! I will totally be searching this out soon! Thanks :)

Janice Hardy 15 February 2011 at 14:34  

Thanks for the wonderful review! Pynvium actually comes from the Afrikaan's word "pyn" which means pain. I used Lake Victoria in Africa as a base for my setting, so I used a lot of Afrikaans words. Geveg means struggle, Baseer means hurt (though I changed the spelling a bit for the book).

Blueicegal ♥ 20 February 2011 at 21:10  

I quite enjoyed it to! Great review missy!

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