Review: Other by Karen Kincy

Karen Kincy's website here // $9.95 from {amazon}
Publisher: Flux (July 1, 2010)
Paperback: 336 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
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.
Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts: Other is a thrilling debut by Karen Kincy. It’s chock-full of sweet romance, unrelenting danger, nail-biting action, and a certain kickass half-pooka, a refreshing change from the common vampire/werewolf theme. Other’s main detraction is its cumbersome beginning, but if you’re willing to hold through to the end, you’ll find a fast-paced, action-packed adventure that will likely prove impossible to put down.

The first half was difficult and frustrating to read for two reasons: 1) the awkward introduction and 2) Gwen’s prejudice against werewolves. Karen Kincy makes a decent attempt at developing Gwen’s teenage voice but it came across as contrived and, frankly, unauthentic. The liberal use of sarcasm and, er, kind of lame jokes sadly only serve to drag out the beginning. Fortunately, the writing quickly picks up and becomes smoother and more believable. But despite the better writing, Gwen’s perception of all werewolves as horrifying criminals continued to irk me for what felt like an extremely long time. I can understand a bit of prejudice, but Gwen constantly preaches how Others should be treated fairly – she even has a blog endorsing equal treatment – then turns around and is an exact example of why people continue to hold stereotypes against Others. Gah, it’s so hypocritical I could barely stand it. Luckily, Gwen’s hypocrisy only comes up a few times (the few pages I skipped) though I still felt she was occasionally shallow and never fully connected with her. Overall, my relationship was Gwen was both ying-and-yang; she’s not a detraction nor is she very annoying, if a bit dramatic. When she finally overcame her paranoia, I could finally and completely enjoy the book in all its glory. And it certainly does have its glory in a certain fox-spirit boy...

Getting past the rocky beginning, the end was gripping. Karen Kincy weaves an intriguing mystery with nail-biting action, but what really cinched the deal for me was Tavian. I would willingly go against Gwen’s insane pooka skills if I had a chance with Tavian, no joke. He’s only a couple inches over five feet but “don’t mess with me or my girl” fierce when he’s protective. He makes an adorable fox and is unbelievably sweet, sensitive, dorky, and funny. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Japanese Johnny Depp look-a-like? Right. I can’t say to what extent Tavian has made me biased in my opinions of Other, though I can say he’s topped my list of swoon-worthy nice guys. Setting Tavian aside, Karen Kincy definitely knows how to make a climactic ending with guns, blood, and the unexpected twist and how to keep the reader hooked as the clues fall into place.

Romance: A little kissing and sex. Nothing detailed but clothes comes off. AND I <3333 TAVIAN. :D
Cover: 4.5 -- It's very mysterious and matches the story perfectly. The cover makes red hair, golden eyes, and freckles look gorgeous; I can't say how happy I am that the publishers didn't just slap on a generic pretty face.
Writing: 3.0
Characters: 3.5
Plot: 4.0

Bottom Line: Other is a fairly solid debut that starts off rough but evens out and shines at the end. I love the mystery, love interest, and interesting setting (ie. paranormal creatures) much more than the characters or writing, but if you're looking for a fast-paced, unique paranormal read, I would recommend trying Other.

Source: Sent by the publisher for review.