Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kinfolk, But Not By Blood...

Published: July 31st, 2012
Otherkin (Otherkin # 1)
By: Nina Berry
ISBN-13: 9780758276919

I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.

Dez is a good girl who does as she’s told and tries not to be noticed.
Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself.
Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change -- and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them are prepared for what Dez will unleash.


   Desdemona (better known as Dez by her friends and family) has a loving Mom and Step-Dad, great friends and a safe home.  Plus the boy that she's been crushing on has just noticed her, although her back brace makes it kind of humiliating on top of the excitement she feels.  Then Dez shapeshifts into a tiger for the first time and all Hell breaks loose.  She's shot, kidnapped and stuck inside a cage by an organization called the Tribunal who wants to eliminate all shifters.  But she manages to escape, rescuing Caleb the boy in the cage next to hers on the way out.  It turns out that Dez is Otherkin and is able to tap into her shifter form due to an alternate dimension known as the Othersphere.  Forced to go into hiding at a special school for Otherkin teenagers, Dez and Caleb (who is actually able to call up the shadow in other objects and control it, but not shift himself) slowly begin to make ties with the other shifters, even though their clans are very stand-offish and self-serving.  But when the Tribunal attacks the school itself and the school's leader, Morfael, is wounded and other students captured it will be up to Dez, Caleb and the others that are left to face the Tribunal head on for a change.  Can they work together in time to save the clans from starting a war on each other?  And what explosive secrets is Caleb hiding that will change everything?

     I have been trying to steer clear of shifter/vampire/werewolf/fairy/angel, etc. fiction as of late because it always seems to disappoint my expectations.  This book pleasantly surprised me!  I liked Dez from the start, even if she is a little bit whiny about the back brace.  But the book got into the action right away pretty much, with Dez being forced to deal with a supernatural world underneath her own.  And yes, she's pissed off and bewildered.  But she's also strong, kick-ass and take names which lends to my liking of her.  She rolls with punches very well, especially with a tradition of wishy-washy YA heroines trailing behind her.  I liked that this book had some major set-up for the rest of the series, but also had a lot of action sequences to break up the monotony.  The tentative friendships between the kids from each Clan, who had been pre-conditioned to dislike and distrust each other their whole lives, very realistic.  When the shit hits the fan, those beginning steps almost get thrown from the window until Dez steps up and decides to take on the Tribunal.  It had a Percy Jackson vibe, but with shapeshifters.  The one thing I could have done without was the unnecessary romance between Dez and Caleb.  But it was easily ignored and for that I was grateful.  I just hope the next book bypasses the usual Supe love triangle.  Here's hoping! :)

VERDICT:  4/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book was published July 31st, 2012.*

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