Review: Other by Karen Kincy

(Other, #1)
By: Karen Kincy
Publisher: Flux
Published: July 8, 2010
Genre: YA Fantasy

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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.


1thoughtsGwen lives in a world where the public knows that “Others” exist but it’s not something that’s flaunted in her neighborhood. Gwen has always hidden what she is [half-pooka] from everyone, including her boyfriend of over a year. However, someone in her town is targeting Others and killing them. Not wanting to sit by and watch friends and neighbors being killed, she decides to discover who the killer is and have them stopped before they can kill anyone else, including herself.

For those wondering what a pooka is, like I was, a pooka is a shapeshifter originating from Ireland. Her primary form is a black horse. The stories about them were that they stalked travelers, inviting them on wild rides, and then would throw them into bogs or over cliffs, trampling them. I honestly can’t say I’ve ever read a book that had a pooka in it. So I was pretty excited to read some new mythology.

The story itself is a pretty quick read. Since Gwen has taken it upon herself to find the killer, she finds herself in some hairy situations. The one thing that frustrated me though was the fact that the author left so many clues as to who the killer was, yet meanwhile Gwen was off convicting someone else of the crimes. A Nancy Drew, she is not. I mean, from the second she latched onto who she thought the killer was I was thinking to myself, “Wait. What?! No. My goodness. What makes you think it’s them?! Ugh.” She was like a dog with a bone though. Right up until the very end she was still set on who she thought was the killer instead of actually paying attention to what was going on around her. Not to mention that knowing there was a killer out there she would put herself in situations to have her head lobbed off. That REALLY irritated me. Plus she had this huge prejudice against werewolves. You’d think, she of all people would understand that not all the bedtime stories of monsters are true. Ya know, considering she’s supposed to be the mischievous malevolent being based off of folklore.

Aside from my issues with Gwen’s lack of intelligence, I really enjoyed this story. The author didn’t just incorporate your typical vampire and werewolf into the story, she also added water spirits, fae, pookas, kitsune, and leprechauns. There may have been others that I’m forgetting about. Point is, the author sort of took folklore from multiple cultures and mushed them together into one story. Which I found really cool and entertaining.

This is a great YA story that mixes a lot of mythological beings into it. If you are looking for a quick YA fantasy novel, this is it. It’s got mystery, mythical creatures, and a sprinkling of young love. I look forward to reading the next book in the series that focuses on a character that we briefly met in this story. He’s definitely not a nice person, so I look forward to seeing what the author does with his character.



“He looks sexy in a black army jacket – brass buttons and braids – over a white shirt.
I have to admit, he’s got style. I can only hope it’s not gay style.”


3 Thoughts on “Review: Other by Karen Kincy

  1. I’ve never even heard of a pooka – sounds very interesting! Glad you enjoyed this one so much!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  2. Thanks for clearing up what a pooka because when I read the opening paragraph in your review, that’s the first thought that came to mind. Shapeshifters though, now you’re talking my language! I don’t like it when authors complicate things with weird terminology, I realize that they are trying to be original, but I wish they’d just call a tomato a tomato. Ya know? Still, werewolves, I like!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  3. Hmm, this one hasn’t been on my radar but the pooka/shapeshifter deal does spark my interest.

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