Other by Karen Kincy

Other is a book about a half-pooka girl who finds herself being hunted by a killer. In this world, it’s the modern world with a “what if” twist; what if otherworldly creatures existed? What if the rest of the world didn’t like them? (Which would certainly be the case.)

This book was interesting on a few levels. It reminds me of something I would write, in terms of dialogue and unflowery descriptions. That part was a plus. Some of the characters were interesting; Randall was the most interesting to me. But a lot of things in this book irritated me.

The main character is, of course, a red-haired girl who feels different. I have a vendetta against red-headed girls in fiction as it is (although there are a select few I do like) because authors seem to go “Ooh, redhead! How exotic!” The idea of golden eyes with red hair was a little iffy for me, but that’s just aesthetics, so who cares? The thing that bothered me the most was that I didn’t really connect with or especially like the main character. Even now, I can’t define any super outstanding personality traits. She was a bit too bland for me. I suppose realistic, but I recall reading that a character in fiction should be a little above ordinary so that they stand out a little more. If nobody’s said that and I just made it up, I still like it better than just having a bland main character.

Even more annoying was the way the boyfriend was handled. I knew instantly when Tavian was introduced (even when he was just the Asian boy who draws anime) that he was going to be the real love interest and for some reason, that irked me. Maybe because it was transparent, maybe because I’m tired of seeing this story hashed out a thousand times. I mean, seriously, go check out some stories on fiction.press and you’ll see what I mean. Especially the YA or Manga sections. Red-haired girls falling for Japanese boys everywhere. I kid you not. Plus, I knew he’d be kitsune the moment I knew he was Japanese and drew anime. It just sort of screamed obvious.

Now, the boyfriend bit. I felt like the break up was contrived. It didn’t feel real to me. Maybe because I knew it was a plot convention to get Tavian and the main girl hooked up or something. Whatever the case, it’s like watching a movie and seeing the strings. I don’t want to see the strings. I want to be transported wholly into your world! Rawr! Even worse, near the end, when we find out who the real killer is, the boyfriend’s reactions are completely stupid and unreasonable. Nobody chooses the girl they dated for a year over their brother. Just… nobody. What bullshit.

Other than all those glaring problems, a few things were likable. Tavian turned out to be likable, though my favorite character was Randall. The writing style was quite enjoyable, too. Very fresh and easy to digest. If only the main character was more, I don’t know, main character material? Give her some interesting attributes please! She bored me and I couldn’t help thinking the romance moved much too quickly. Yuck. In the writer’s defense, though, it’s hard to write a good, believable romance when you’re trying to write a mystery, too.

That’s another thing. I bought the book because I thought it was a mystery, but it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. It just felt like a paranormal romance in a mystery disguise. Like the mystery was on the side. All in all, I’m curious to see what else this author has to offer, despite a few hiccups in Other.

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Rachel Aseltine

R.A. Aseltine is an author and roleplayer living in California with her husband, guinea pig, and five cats.

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