Rummanah Aasi
 Last week I had the pleasure in interviewing Karen Kincy, the author of the Other series on her birthday. If you missed my interview, you can read it here. As part of the Bloodborn tour, I am reviewing the first book in the Other series. Other is an interesting blend of paranormal romance along with a "who done it" murder mystery. 

Description (from author's website): 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.

Review: In Other, Karen Kincy has created an interesting world. Shape-shifters, vampires, werewolves, and various other creatures are called "Others," and humans are well aware of their existence. Gwen is an Other with a human mother and a Pooka father (a Welsh shape-shifter spirit). Gwen and her mother prefer she keep her otherness a secret in fears of receiving backlash from their small town where Others are not quite so welcome as in large urban areas.
  When Gwen and her boyfriend Zack are on a date, they stumble upon dead Others. Given the way they have been killed and their bodies displayed, Gwen has a strong feeling that Others are being targeted and murdered. As more Others are found dead, it wouldn't surprise her if a serial killer may be on the prowl. One death in particular is too close for comfort for Gwen and she can't shake the eerie feeling that someone is constantly watching her and knows who she really is. Knowing that the police isn't doing their best to search for the killer, Gwen searches for answers with an unexpected friend, all the while unsure of whom to trust and what exactly it means to be Other.
  Other was an enjoyable read, but I did have a few qualms about the book. While Gwen does seem to be an ordinary teen girl who faces common insecurities about her identity and has her share of boyfriend drama, she is very reckless and presumptuous.  She spends most of the book complaining how unfair Others are being mistreated and misidentified as criminals on her anonymous blog yet she applies the same generalizations and stereotypes to Bloodborns (those who are Others via being bitten by an Other creature such as a werewolf or a vampire). She clearly makes a distinction between these two types of Others and fails to realize that the plight of both groups are the same. Thankfully, her view of Bloodborns changes as she becomes more involved with the ongoing murder investigation and actually socializing with Bloodborn. I found her epiphany in a few pages a bit hard to believe and rushed.
  Unlike Gwen, I really liked Tavian, the sexy Johnny Deep lookalike Japanese foxfire. He was spunky, quirky, and just a pleasure to meet. I wish we got to learn more about him early on. He appears about halfway in the book as a marginal character but becomes a strong character towards the latter half of the book.
  As a paranormal romance, Other falls rather short. Half of the book is dedicated to Gwen and Zack's relationship. She is constantly debating on whether or not she should reveal her identity to her human boyfriend whose family is very religious and opinionated about Others. Gwen's fears are realized when she does in fact tell Zack the truth, but you can't blame his reaction. Zack didn't really do much for me. He definitely was a catalyst to the story, but he was just there. I was a bit surprised how quickly Gwen jumped into another relationship as her first one ends, especially when it seems she is so deeply hurt by Zack. Unlike the realistic relationship Gwen shared with Zack, her relationship with Tavian is just too perfect. Gwen and Tavian are connected by their secret otherness and instant attraction; however, I never really felt a spark in their relationship. I was a bit surprised how fast they both declared their love for one another.
  Other does, however, excel at a suspenseful mystery. The mystery of who is behind killing the Others and the specific victims are well played out. It's actually the mystery that kept my attention. While avid mystery readers can probably figure out the killer early on, I thought the clues were spread out and come together quite nicely. The short chapters and quick pacing should work well for reluctant readers. Other by Karen Kincy would be a good introduction to the urban fantasy genre. Kincy is a promising writer and I look forward to reading her other books. 

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, underage drinking, as well as a semi explicit sex scene in the book. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Blood and Chocolate by Annette Klause Curtis, Bloodborn (Other #2) by Karen Kincy, or the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs
7 Responses
  1. Very fair and honest on your blog today, too! This sounds like a great premise, and I like that they are using some different supes in the story. . . this sounds like a maybe to me. I do enjoy a good mystery, and I don't a romance is the other plotlines stand on their own.


  2. Jenny Says:

    Ooo a Johnny Depp look-alike? That's enough to make me want to read it on it's own. Too bad the romance itself leaves a little to be desired, but at least the mystery made it a fairly worthwhile read for you:) Awesome review Rummanah!

  3. Lauren M Says:

    Hmm. I'm glad some of the minor characters stand out, but it's a bummer that Gwen wasn't as likable as she could be. I do love suspense, though, so I might enjoy Other. I think I have it sitting on my shelf at home. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! :)

  4. Linds: Yep, I liked how it's different from your usual shape-shifter flair. I never heard of a Pooka or Foxfire spirit before until I read this book.

    Jenny: LOL, that description perked up my interest for sure. He's just too adorable and hard to not like.

    Lauren: There were moments when I wanted to shake Gwen, but she also had her good moments. You know she means well but doesn't go about it the right way.

  5. Well, I'm interested in this one because of the supernatural creatures. When that many are paired together a story, I like to know the whys and hows of it. I think I can understand Gwen's initial prejudices, even if they are unfair, so that aspect of the story also sounds interesting to me.

    But the romance sounds like a white, hot mess! hmm... now I'm on the fence. Are you planning on reading book 2?

  6. Missie: I am planning on reading #2 but it's not a direct sequel. It's more of a companion novel that focuses on a character that was briefly introduced in Other. It also has the same paranormal romance/thriller feel to it. You can find the description for book 2 here:

  7. Alison Says:

    This sounds pretty good, if not perfect. Tavian sounds very interesting.
    You know...if I was a paranormal creature, I would want to be called a "pooka." Just doesn't have the same cache as "vampire" or "werewolf." Makes me think of cuteness rather than screaming in terror.

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