Reading level: Young Adult
ARC: 294 pages
Publisher: K Teen
Release date: July 31, 2012
Series: Otherkin #1
Reviewed by: Lili
I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.
Dez is a good girl who does as she’s told and tries not to be noticed.
Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself.
Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.
Everything is about to change — and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them are prepared for what Dez will unleash.
I was really looking forward to this book, so it’s really unfortunate that I have to admit that this book was rather disappointing. While it did tell the tale of a female shifter trying to come to terms with her powers, I felt as if I drifted through Dez’s story in a bubble—immune to feeling anything. I didn’t find myself connecting with any characters, and instead I was just along for the ride. I was immersed in a story full of characters with names that made me cringe, but I was somehow detached from the story all the same.
This story literally just jumps right into things. Within the first two pages, Dez shifts for the very first time. Similar to Of Poseidon by Anna Banks, you hop right into the action from page one, no back-story to the character(s). While I know that some readers like to immediately get down to business, I am a reader that likes to know a little about the characters so that I can feel for them. Because I literally knew nothing about Dez besides the fact that she believed herself to be a good girl within the first two pages, I felt very removed from her character through the remainder of the book. I often found my eyebrows knitting together when the tiger in her awakened dangerous thoughts about killing or maiming people. Even more surprising, such a good girl accepted this dark world so easily. But then I realized that this was a reoccurring theme throughout the novel. It seems like every time something should have freaked a character out, they just accepted it and moved on, no questions asked. It was slightly frustrating because it seemed so unrealistic.
The romance in the novel seemed incredibly forced as well. Unfortunately, I have to diagnose OTHERKIN with an extensive case of insta-love. Caleb—one of the few normal names!—was a very hot and cold character, but he was attracted to Dez from their very first meeting. He has a lot of secrets, which made him separate from her for a while, only to steal her away for kisses against his better judgment before he retreated back into his make-believe world where he did everything in his power to ignore her. It felt like they skipped the whole flirting phase then he was talking about Dez naked half the time. And, of course, when their lives are in the utmost danger he tells her that he loves her. Needless to say, I think I liked the supporting cast of shifters—Siku, November, Laurentia, and Arnoldo—more than the main characters because they were not surrounded by cliches.
There was one line in this book that I found to be very irksome as well. Taken off of page 110, it reads: “Shifting heals everything—tattoos, piercing holes, scars where losers like London like to cut themselves just to feel alive.” After reading this line, my mood soured for the remainder of the book. I find this line to be very offensive, but it hit home more because someone I know did struggle with cutting before, and it truly hurts to know that you can’t help. I thank the heavens everyday that she’s so much happier now, but she wasn’t a loser, she was just somebody who was temporarily lost in life. The character mentioned did it all because she had a persona of self-hate complete with a bad dye job and fake piercings. The context that this was used in the book almost seemed like it’s okay to do such a thing because the cuts disappear when you shift. Well, in the real world, the cuts will never heal and this is a growing problem among my generation. I support the education of the seriousness of such a thing, but I do not appreciate when such a serious topic is used in such a non-serious manner.
Aside from my lack of connection to the characters and my personal problem stated above, I didn’t mind this book. Once the action picked up and I settled into this unique plot, I did find myself flipping pages and easily finished it in one sitting. The end of the book is incredibly suspenseful. It was an okay read. Didn’t blow me away, but it had a decent enough plot. The writing is great and I can easily see this book being a hit with a lot of people. In fact, I already know a lot of people liked it, but this is one of those books that just wasn’t for me despite how much I looked forward to it.