Other by Karen Kincy

by Karen Kincy
ISBN-13: 9-780738-719191
Rating: 4 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it

Gwen Williams has been hiding a strange and fantastic secret: she’s a shapeshifter. Although society may tolerate vampires, centaurs and “Others” like Gwen, there are plenty of folks in her small Washington town who don’t care for her kind.

When a new werewolf pack moves into the area, tensions rise – and Others start showing up dead, including someone close to Gwen. Despite the methodical murders. the police are ignoring evidence that suggests a serial killer. In the midst of terrible loss and danger, Gwen – along with a mysterious and sexy guy who happens to be a Japanese fox spirit – risks her life to find the murderer. But Gwen is already the killer’s next target…

Other is an intriguing paranormal mystery. Gwen is a pooka – a shapeshifter. In a world where Others are common knowledge, but still looked down upon, Gwen is hiding who she is. When Others in her town start turning up murdered and the police show no signs of starting an in-depth investigation, Gwen, and friend Tavian, take matters into their own hands. Because Gwen begins to receive letters – letters showing that she’s next on the killer’s list.

I have to admit, I wasn’t Gwen’s biggest fan in the beginning. She hides who she is to an extreme, refusing to shift forms until it has her in pain. I can understand the fact that she doesn’t want anyone outside of her family to know she’s an Other (she wants to be normal), but there are many ways that she could shapeshift and not be seen – which she does a few times. Gwen is also a little prejudiced. She may be Other, but she looks down on werewolves and vampires because they aren’t born Other. She sees them all as criminals and murderers, refusing to believe that they can just be normal people, or even a normal Other. You’d think for someone who faces discrimination herself, she would be a bit more open minded. But this is in the beginning. Karen Kincy shows her talent with characterization in the fact that Gwen grows and matures as the story progresses. By the end, she’s much more open about who she is and proud of the fact that she is Other. She’s still leery of werewolves and vampires but she no longer paints them all with the same brush and is much more open minded. I credit much of her change to Tavian, an Other who manages to get passed all of Gwen’s barriers. Tavian is kind, gentle, (cute) and wonderfully mischievous.

While the plot did revolve around the paranormal aspect of the Others, and Gwen’s romances, the main overall driving force was the mystery. Who is murdering Others? It starts off fairly innocent, with a seemingly random instance of death. It quickly escalates to people Gwen knows personally. Karen provides the obvious suspects – werewolves. Gwen is already prejudiced against them, and it’s a huge coincidence that they arrive when the murders start. But then there are the other suspects. The ones you, as the reader, aren’t even sure if they’re suspects or not! There’s the small inkling in the back of your mind that something is not adding up, or too convenient. I had my suspicions as the book went on, but was definitely surprised at the end. In hind sight, I probably shouldn’t have been, but I was. Mark of good writing right there!

Other is definitely a debut to pick up, especially if you like some mystery with your paranormal =)

Other is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge