Other by Karen Kincy is a strange book to try and review. Because, while I did genuinely enjoy this book, there isn't a lot to be said about it. It was enjoyable, but didn't evoke any particularly strong emotions, positive or negative. However, there were some definitely pluses and minuses to the story.
I loved the world Kincy created. Mythological/Paranormal/Fantastical creatures are real, (the politically correct term if 'Other') and while society is supposed to be open and accepting of them, there is still a lot of prejudices, especially in small towns. Gee... Who'da thunk it?
Gwen doesn't feel like she fits in. She's half Pooka (super lame name for a really neat mythos) but because her father was a short-term fling, no one else in her family is anything paranormal. Her mom and step-dad don't really understand her, and her half-sister is annoyingly brainy and perfect and couldn't possibly relate to Gwen, trying to struggle with the two halves of herself. It definitely doesn't help that she lives in a small town that just plain isn't open or accepting of these paranormal creatures. And really, life like that would kinda suck. Normal paranormal teens can't be open about who they are, because the world doesn't know they exist, and they'd really rather like to keep it that way. But in this world, paranormals are 'out' but kids like Gwen can't be all the way open about it because of prejudices and cruelty. Personally, I think the second situation would be way worse to face.
And then, a serial killer starts killing Others in her town. And the police aren't terribly interested in proper follow through. This adds much drama. As does the fact that Gwen has a long time boyfriend who still doesn't know she's Other and she just met IRL a blogger she's been communicating with for a long time online (although she doesn't tell him who she is...) . Oh, and this blogger is a hot guy... So, drama. Drama, drama,
I'd like to just kind of bullet list the things that kinda bothered me about this book. I didn't like that the number one enemy of Others were Christians. In this book, to be Christian is to automatically mean that you hate all things Other and that you believe they are curses on God's people. Is it just me, or is anyone else sick of seeing Christianity or religion in general used as an easy scapegoat, and easy out?! Oh, you say we need a whole huge group of moderate baddies that can easily become psycho baddies? Oh, but easily without quite to much time or writing... Hmm. Oh, GOT IT! Let's just make 'em Christian and go home!
I also thought that much of the character interaction was... awkward and stilted. And I'm not talking that awkward teenage thing, where you just watch them stumble all over and embarrass themselves. On more than one occasion, I had to reread the sentence and just kind of think... Has this author actually had conversations before? Because I have never met anyone who talks like that. Also, what is with teenage girls in books hitting people they are conversing with as punctuation? Sometimes it works, like HEY! STOP THAT! — whack. But most of the time it's just weird to read about.
There were also moments where the writing was inconsistent, as was Gwen's character. Like being deeply, deeply prejudiced against werewolves, but finding werepuppies to be cute and cuddly. Any other examples I could give would either be too long or too spoilery, but they were there.
So, they writing could do with a little tightening up, a little cleaning out and a touch more authenticity in character interactions.
But overall, it's still a book I would recommend. It's a book I enjoyed reading, and if you are looking for something a little different from the normal paranormal vamps and werewolves, this is a great book to pick up. Although the more common paranormal creatures are included in the story, all of the central characters, all of the characters that get the most attention are much more uncommon and it was awesome to get a closer look into some of that paranormal awesomeness.