Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review: Other

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Gwen hides a dangerous secret: she’s Other. Half-pooka, to be exact, thanks to the father she never met. Most Americans don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat for Others, especially not the small-town folks of Klikamuks, Washington. As if this isn’t bad enough, Gwen’s on the brink of revealing her true identity to her long-time boyfriend, Zack, but she’s scared he’ll lump her with the likes of bloodthirsty vampires and feral werewolves.  When a pack of werewolves chooses the national forest behind Gwen’s home as their new territory, the tensions in Klikamuks escalate-into murder. It soon becomes clear a serial killer is methodically slaying Others. The police turn a blind eye, leaving Gwen to find the killer before the killer finds her. As she hunts for clues, she uncovers more Others living nearby than she ever expected. Like Tavian, a sexy Japanese fox-spirit who rivals Zack and challenges her to embrace her Otherness. Gwen must struggle with her own conflicted identity, learn who she can trust, and-most importantly-stay alive. 

My Review:I have been wanting to sink my claws into this book for a very long time.  I mean months.  It was a long wait, but it was so worth it.  I first came across this book when I was looking for gorgeous covers for an old meme I did.  I instantly fell in love with the cover and have been wanting to read it ever since.  It took a good many months and more than a few two hour trips to get to a B&N, but I FINALLY found it.   Needless to say I devoured it in a few hours.  It was THAT fantastical.  
In the alternate present day, “Others” such as vampires, werewolves, and fae are all out in society.  The world knows about their existence, but that doesn’t mean they have to accept them.  Others face constant prejudice for who and what they are.  Gwen is half pooka (look it up) and is more than a bit hesitant to reveal her true nature to the small minded residents of her home town and her boyfriend.  While Gwen isn’t ashamed of her heritage, she still hasn’t come to full terms with it.  She feels like she has to hide her Other lineage, and resists who she really is.  While Other is a great portrayal of a social group trying to gain equality from the rest of society, it is also a wonderful story of being comfortable in your own skin.  This quest for social equality occurs way too frequently throughout history and the present.  People will always be afraid of what they don’t understand, whether that be the color of their skin, religion, or sexual preference.  Tolerance for people different from ourselves is not something humanity is famous for.  While it is naïve to think that there will ever be a time when prejudice will cease to exist, the only way to combat it is through open-mindedness.  That’s one of the reason I loved Other so much.  While Gwen is a victim of this intolerance, she is also a culprit as well.  Even Gwen is guilty of stereotyping those she doesn’t fully understand.  Bloodborn Others such as vampires and werewolves are thought of as criminals with a glorified disease.  While you would think Gwen would be the last person to judge another, she judges Bloodborns without ever having met one.  I loved this flaw in her character, because, well frankly, it made her more relatable.  Everyone is guilty of judging others, myself included.  It just really added to her character and shows that no one is perfect. 
I found Gwen to be a very likeable character.  She full of attitude and wit and was just a blast to read about.  She’s even a blogger like myself.  ^.^  I really liked her POV and she was just really relatable.  I loved that she was half pooka too.  I’m a fae nut as you all know but the closest thing to a pooka I know about is a kelpie.  Not similar in the slightest btw.  So it was nice to get a fresh taste of some new creatures.  Speaking of new creatures I loved all the different types of Others as well.  There were driads, centaurs, sprites, and kitsune (fox spirits) the list goes on.  I found it all wonderfully creative and enjoyed all the different types.  Speaking of kitsune… time to rave!  I think I found my literature soul mate. 
Tavian, Tavian, Tavian.  Hmmm, mmm, mmm, hmmm.  Japanese with the kickass bones structure and amazing hair to accompany it.  He’s a blogger, draws manga, and works at a bookstore.  Can you say soul mate?!  I need to move to a more diverse community.  Even though we have foreign exchange students out the wazoo around here.  Too bad they’re all in college and barely speak English… darn my luck.  He was funny and honest and just a refreshing character.  Did I mention he was a kitsune?  Foxes are just plain adorable!  Sorry I’m gushing.  I just can’t help myself. 
Okay so I’m showing restraint here or else I could be raving about a fictional character for the rest of the afternoon.  So I’m choosing to rave about something else instead.  As the synopsis reveals, there is a killer of Others on the loose.  I thought I knew who the killer was as soon as he was introduced in the story.  I was like “Ope he be the one!” God I felt so dumb at the end!  Karen had me going throughout the whole novel!  Then just WHAM! Surprise!  Not who I thought it was.  I was very pleasantly surprised.  I thought I had it all figured out, but no.  Major props!  Loved the twist at the end.  Speaking of the end, god I was at the edge of my seat the whole time!  Talk about intense! I was freaking out!  Just plain awesome. 
To say I loved it is a bit of an understatement.  I can’t wait for the second one!  I feel like jumping up and down in anticipation.  Just plain awesome, definitely added to my top favorite books pile.  Gotta read it amigos! 


My Life With Books - Jennifer K Jovus said...

I didn't realize there was a book two - thanks for the news. I felt like Tavian was the strongest character and carried the story. Gwen is just coming to terms with who she is and needs Tavian. They make a great couple don't they?

Ky said...

Well there are 3 planned. Not sure when Bloodborn will be published though. Definately loved Tavian XD and they are adorable together!