Author: Nina Berry
Publisher: K Teen
Released: July 31, 2012
Buy: The Book Depository
Shifters are some of my favourite paranormal creatures to read about. Needless to say, I was greatly looking forward to this book. I wish I could say it lived up to my expectations, but, unfortunately, Otherkin turned out to be nothing more than mediocre at best.
There were very few aspects of this book that I truly enjoyed. The start of the book was an explosive one and it all looked very promising a couple of chapters in. We start off with a boy in a cage and Dez, our tiger shifter, in the cage adjoining his. Soon after, they are on the run together from the Tribunal, a group dedicated to eradicating the world of otherkin. We find out about the Othersphere – a world to which the otherkin are connected when in shifter form – almost as instantly as we get to know Caleb and Dez. It was a fascinating glimpse into this different take on shifter abilities. I warmed to the unique concept with interest, hoping a greater explanation would be served as the story progressed.
It was not. I felt there were grey areas concerning the Othersphere and the use of shadow to allow shifters to transform into their animal forms. I had many questions – whether that was my fault or the lack of detailed world-building, I can’t tell. I only wish the author had dug deeper, presented more. It felt like a very distant idea by the time the plot had got in full swing.
The plot itself was unexceptional for most of the book. I enjoyed the start and the last third or so, but everything else that came between was forgettable. Caleb and Dez end up at Morfael’s school for otherkin and this is where they begin learning how to best use their abilities. There is something about a school for paranormal creatures that always ticks a box for me, but it didn’t work here. It felt more like an after-school club that a proper school – which would have been fine if the students hadn’t been talking about graduating from the place. Including Dez and Caleb, there were six students in total. It just felt incredibly forced to me.
The characters I have mixed feelings on. Funnily enough, it was the secondary characters that I appreciated the most. Lazar, one of the bad guys, was very interesting to read about and Morfael also managed to grab my attention, even if he was at times the typical ‘wise guy’. Dez and Caleb I hardly felt anything for, not even hatred. Dez did manage to draw some confusion from me at the beginning, but not any positive kind. I’m mystified as to how anyone can be so collected after shifting into a tiger when they hadn’t even known it was possible. Dez is too quick to accept it. Caleb I was mostly uninterested in, which isn’t what I expect when it comes to the love interest.
Which brings me onto the romance. My feelings for this aspect of the book are somewhat divided. It’s difficult to appreciate the chemistry between two characters if you don’t particularly care for them, which is what I experienced for most of the story. However, things did turn around towards the climax as the two shared more intimate moments together. I actually started to appreciate their feelings towards each other then.
Otherkin turned out to be not for me. I doubt I will be continuing with the series, but think this may still be a hit with some people (it already seems to be, actually). I can’t fault the writing, and did think it was a decent read at times, I just wish it had been better.
Rating: 2.5 stars
Rating: 2.5 stars