Sunday, December 16, 2012

Otherkin by Nina Berry Review!

Author: Nina Berry
ISBN: 0758276915 (ISBN13: 9780758276919)
Release Date: July 31st 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal,
Romance, Fantasy

Otherkin #1

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.

I’ve wanted this novel for a long time now, ever since I first saw the cover. The tiger caught my attention right away and I knew I would like it. So I finally bought Otherkin and you know what, I really did love this novel. Everything was so different from what I’ve read before; because of the fact that she turns into a Tiger and the way she finds out about herself, not to mention Caleb's powers, I just couldn’t put this novel down.

Desdemona, or Dez as she commonly goes by, is the main character of this novel. She has a spinal disease called idiopathic scoliosis, which is a curvature of the spine. To treat this disease, she wears a special back brace to force her spine to stay straight. For me, this was a powerful plot idea. A girl who refuses to allow her disability to become a disability. She's shy around boys, and often feel angry about wearing the brace. I can understand this. Anyone who's worn a cast knows how much of a problem it can be, but to wear a brace to reduce your movement... It's something different to see in a book. We don't have the glorious perfect girl. Dez's anger towards her brace triggers a transformation that turns her into a tiger. While in this form, she's captured and brought to a strange place. She means another prisoner, Caleb, and learns they're being held by a group called the Tribunal. When the pair escape, Dez thinks that she can go back to her normal way of life. Hello girl, you just turned into a TIGER! That is in no way normal! I don't blame her for wanting to have a normal life, it would be a scary process, but there are things that 'normal' just doesn't belong in. And this includes Dez's life. An odd detail is that when she became a tiger, her back was magically cured. Yep, she has a disease that usually takes painful surgeries to correct, but becoming a tiger fixes it! It seems almost too easy of a solution. Maybe the transformation gave her the change to stretch out her spine and then go into proper alignment? I just think it was a fast way for the author to remove a rather large part of Dez's character, and remove it from being a problem down the road in the book.

The setting jumps a bit. It first takes place in Burbank, California, but then shifts to the Mojave desert, when the Tribunal captures her. Once she's with Caleb, it moves to the forest. Once in the forest Caleb takes her to a special school for people like her. I guess Google Maps missed this school... And how do you even find kids for this? Put up posters calling for kids who turn into animals? Not to mention Caleb is going on something his mother told him years ago. You do learn more about the school, but I can't really talk about it without giving away spoilers. I will say that Dez is given the chance to fit in and become more comfortable with herself and what she can do.

Dez's character grows throughout the book. At first, she desperately wants to fit in and just be normal. When she changes into a tiger, she's afraid of it. I would be too. Tiger's aren't really known for being friendly towards people. Anyways, she learns to trust this part of her, accepting it as a part of who she is. She's a strong woman, able to take on the challenges of her disease, and later on, the challenges of transforming.

Caleb on the other hand, he remains about the same. He does lie to Dez at first, but it's more out of fear and to keep her save then to harm her. He does open up to her, but the boy also worships the ground she walks on. He does have his own powers, where he can transform objects. For example, he can summon the power of the tree can can transform a part of a tree, like a branch into lightning. I'd say this is a pretty good power to have.

I mentioned them before, but the Tribunal are our villains book. They want to 'cure' Shifters of their powers. Shifters are individuals who can transform into animals. This includes Dez. Of course, this involves painful, and lethal, experimentations on the Shifters they do capture. Readers may see a similarity to them in the Death Eaters in Harry Potter. These dark villains play on our fear of ethnic cleansing, a too easy way to sell a book. I wish writers could come up with a different kind of monster then this. We already see it in real life.

The romance between this book is very sweet. Dez and Caleb are drawn to each other when they first see each other in their cages. Caleb is always checking on Dez, making sure she's safe. He always calls her beautiful, be her in human or tiger form. It's nice to see two characters not trying to get into each other's pants at first glance.

Overall, this book was amazing! It’s one of my favorite reads of 2012 and I’m excited to find out what happens in book two. I’m glad I don’t have to wait too long to find out.

5 out of 5 Howling Wolves

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