Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Author: Karen Kincy
Release Date: July 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: YA Fiction
Publisher’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 14 yrs+
OUAR’s Age/Grade Recommendation: Ages 16 yrs+
Year/Setting: Present day, Klikamuks WA
Overall Rating: 5.0 (I’d give it a 10 if I could. : - )
Sexual Content Rating: Subtle/Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: Mild/Moderate
Violent Content Rating: Minimal/Moderate (Fantasy)
Karen's Website/Blog: www.karenkincy.com
Mystery, action, romance, fantasy, shape-shifting, serial killers, first love, first break-up…EVERYTHING is in this story! Now, I know I’ve – in the past – been a tiny-weeny bit sick and tired of fantasy novels, BUT this is one that has no vamps with retractable fangs and big hearts whining after the girl; this is an intricate fantastical story with real people that you actually like and would want to spend time with.
In the small town of Klikamus, Washington, it’s nightfall. A girl by the name of Gwen Williams is up in her bedroom shaking violently as she feels the magic begin to "flood her veins." She’s trying desperately not to shapeshift because she promised her parents she wouldn’t. But…what’s a shapeshifter (AKA "pooka") supposed to do when the "feeling" comes upon them? All of a sudden the black horse appears and stuffs her head out the window to smell the sweet grass outside in the field. Of course, a horse can’t get down from the second floor, so Gwen soon finds herself soaring out the window as a great horned owl, exploring the surrounding mountains. The one thing that sends her home quickly, however, is when the howl is released, and Gwen realizes that werewolves have come to town.
The Others try to play very well with the humans in the United States as it stands. The "bloodborn" – vampires, werewolves, and such, are still a little "off-putting," though, so Gwen’s shapeshifting is kept hidden because she isn’t quite sure if people will accept her. She is half-human; her father was the magical one, who her Mom met up with in Wales a long time ago. She’s now married to a wonderful man who owns a hardware store in town, who truly loves Gwen and her sister.
Gwen is not only loved by her family, but also by a wonderful boyfriend named Zack who has a penchant for the medieval world. His words come out as "Knights of the Round Table" lingo; he has a broadsword reproduction on his wall as well as tapestries of the King Arthur world. The one thing Gwen is petrified of, though, is telling him that she’s half of an Other, especially considering the fact that Zack's parents are extremely Christian, and Zack’s own brother had a run-in with a vamp years before.
Soon…bodies start appearing in town and the "Other"-world is being blamed for the deaths of the locals. Joining up with a young man over the internet who is a manga artist (not to mention a fox spirit), Gwen goes full force into solving the crimes that are happening all around. With her best friend Chloe (who is a tree spirit currently in love with a werewolf), and Tavian (her fellow blogger with a hidden tail), Gwen tries with all her might to figure out what is going on, and whether or not the next victim will be her. Are the moronic group of teenagers the killers? Or, are the werewolves taking out their enemies? Or, perhaps, a historical group called the White Knights has returned to wreak havoc on the small town.
Every chapter of this book is well-written, and I truly believe that this debut author should be the next "big find" for the YA world. The dialogue is funny and cool; the characters are completely "in-style" and up-to-date; and, the author has offered a "fresh" story instead of relying on the same-old, same-old vamp storyline that’s been circulating in the publishing and media world for years. I can’t wait for Book II!
Until next time, Amy
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