Shifter (The Healer Chronicles Book 2)
Michael J. Bowler
Independently Published (2022)
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views Kids (06/2022)
“Shifter” is the second book in the Healer Chronicles, an exciting YA coming of age fantasy trilogy by Michael J. Bowler.
Twins Alex and Andy possess supernatural powers that enable them to heal and shift illness from one person to another. On their own, the boys hold tremendous power. Together, they have the capacity to control life and death. In “Shifter” we find the boys and their friends still reeling from their narrow escape of Mrs. G., their former teacher, who is actually an evil paranormal being set on destroying humanity.
When the brothers are subsequently kidnapped by the U.S. military, (also after their powers), they don’t know who to trust, especially when they discover a secret hangar housing unnatural experimental procedures being performed under the guise of national security. Alex fears Andy’s enthusiasm and willingness to take part in these procedures, as he witnesses just how enticing the allure of power becomes for his younger twin. In this all-out war against humanity, who can be trusted and who will emerge victorious?
Having just finished “Spinner,” the first book in the series, I was eager to dive into “Shifter” to see what challenges and adventures the young heroes encounter after their initial brush with the supernatural world. These special kids come back full force, growing into themselves through some tough lessons, self-awareness, and their natural curiosities about the world. These kids have overcome things most teens will never experience, things which have, for the most part, made them stronger—individually, and as a team. Or, as they devotedly refer to themselves now, “family.”
“Shifter” takes the Healer Chronicles to another level as the kids are tested to their limits. Once again Bowler drives well-drawn characters through an exciting story full of epic battles with enemies, terrifying experimental procedures, and betrayal at the deepest level. There are a few twists readers might suspect, but Bowler expertly uses these devices to take us down completely different paths you won’t see coming. The introduction of William and his “cousins” add an element of magic that I would love to see on the screen. Think a “Stranger Things” vibe with some eccentric creatures and kick it up a notch–can you even imagine?
As with the first book in the Healer Chronicles, it should be noted that “Shifter” also contains graphic gore, violence directed toward young characters, and use of profanity throughout, making this read best for teens aged 16+. And though readers will no doubt enjoy “Shifter” as an exciting standalone story, I highly recommend picking up “Spinner” first to get the full effect of this amazing series. The writing is phenomenal, the story intense and the characters expertly crafted. I eagerly anticipate the final book in the Healer Chronicles: “Spoiler.”