Genres: Young Adult, Paranormal, YA Paranormal | Release Date: 13 January 2017* | Series: Other | Series Book: #1 | Pages: 319 | Indie Author | Review
I’m late to the world of Other, a secret shapeshifting YA paranormal story by Karen Kincy. But I’m so glad that I finally found it! ‘Others’ (aka: shapeshifters) have a terrible reputation, and Gwen tries to hide her pooka side as much as possible. But sometimes it’s hard to hide in plain sight, and murders targeting Others have started occurring… It’s now up to Gwen to search for the truth, even as the prejudice of the town continues to escalate.
Other is the first book in the trilogy of the same name, and when I first started this book I underestimated how powerful the messages would be within it. I don’t know why I foolishly believed that it would be entertaining and gripping (which it is), but not also have an incredibly gritty realism (which it actually has in spades). Karen tackles some very intense themes, including just how devastating hatred and prejudice can be when someone fears what’s ‘different’. The shapeshifters are losing their lives, not because they’re ‘bad’, but purely because they’re Other instead of human. How Gwen faces the pivotal moment of either continuing to hide or being ‘seen’ for exactly who she is, is both heartwarming and inspiring.
Okay, so you can probably tell I really enjoyed Other. But let me break down some of the biggest reasons why…
Firstly, Karen has made sure Gwen goes through a process, in accepting the visibility of Others (including herself) in this rather small-minded town. She didn’t make it a simple matter, or sweep the implications of this struggle under the rug. What we witness is that even if you’re Other, it can be hard to break the cycle of mistrust and hatred the world shoves down your throat. I think that would resonate for a *lot* of us.
We get different shapeshifters!! It’s SO refreshing to see something other (heh) than just werewolves and vampires, and in Other we get paranormal entities like a pooka, a kitsune, water sprites… Inside I was doing a happy dance when I kept coming across more! Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good werewolf and/or vampire story. But this was so much fun.
I always try to tell myself that I like completely standalone books. But clearly I’m both a liar and a sucker for series, because I was ecstatic that Other wasn’t the end of the adventure. In fact I can tell you that I already have the next two books (Bloodborn and Foxfire) in the trilogy ready to go on my Kindle app! There’s no way I’m ready to let go of the characters any time soon.
I’ll admit, the interesting thing for me (so maybe not a downside, but it did put me in a quandary for a minute so I have to say it) was Gwen’s ideas about two of the factions of Others. Gwen *really* did not trust werewolves. Things progress throughout the story and she changes that perception for the better… BUT, and this is the interesting thing, she completely accepted straight away that whether vampires are “angsty” or “blood-sucking criminals” would depend “entirely on the vampire.”
Gwen, please explain yourself, young lady. I’m going to guess that this is a very, very clever demonstration on Karen’s part of how complicated teenagers can be. And it worked!
This is a great read. You need more? Okay… Other doesn’t give you the run of the mill paranormal story. It is wonderfully unique, and gives us a murder mystery that had me constantly guessing (wrongly) as to who the murderer of Others could be. I love that! I don’t want to know the murderer at the beginning. I don’t want to guess midway through the book. The end reveal was a ta-da moment that I completely savoured. I’m a very, very happy bookworm for stumbling across Karen Kincy’s fabulous writing.
You can order via my Amazon link: Other
Not ready to say goodbye to this world just yet? You can also order the other two books below:
* Release Date was originally in 2010, but the version I have read is from 2017.