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.
This has been such a great year for debut novels and debut authors and yet it still amazes me when I come across a novel like Karen Kincy's Other. Kincy pulls you into her world, a very unique one at that, and refuses to let you go. Even after I read the last page I wanted to read more. She didn't leave me with a cliffhanger that had me crying because the sequel wasn't set to be released for another year or so, but at the same time I wasn't so content that I was ready to say goodbye to all the characters I came to love so much either. It was a happy medium for me and it was actually a nice change of pace.
Kincy introduces you to a world where the paranormal and folk lore creatures are out in the open and living among us in a modern day society. She gives us werewolves, vampires, pookas (which were new for me), kitsune (japanese fox spirits), water sprites, dryads, you name it and you're sure to find them in this book. It was great, not too overloaded but also didn't harp too much on a single creature either. Our main character Gwen is half-pooka and surprisingly narrow minded when it comes to her opinions of the rest of the "others" that exist in her society, which I found curious. I guess I just assumed that she would have wanted to band together with her fellow "others" but I was wrong. Her opinions go back and forth but in a lot of ways who can blame her. It's tough to reconcile what you see with your own eyes and what you read about and hear on the news. I can't say that I wouldn't feel the exact same way. Heck I change my mind on less important stuff on a daily basis, don't you?
Kincy also gives readers my favorite story element, or at least one of them. A romance! Not quite the gruesome love triangle I've grown used to reading in so many young adult novels (which I also love) but it touches on that a little too. Gwen deals with a human boyfriend Zach who doesn't react quite as Gwen hoped when she confides her secret paranormality to him, and also a developing interest in Tavian, who is something all together different. Readers get their romance, paranormal activity, murder mystery and a whole lot more. It was a lot of fun to read and I'm sure Kincy's future works will be just as great.
I gave Other (Other, #1) 4 shamrocks!!!!