Book review: “Otherkin” by Nina Berry

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Release Date: July 31st, 2012
Publisher: KTeen
Pages: 320 Goodreads

I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.

Dez is a good girl who does as she’s told and tries not to be noticed.

Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself.

Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change — and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them are prepared for what Dez will unleash.

Dez has always felt like an outsider. Early on we learn that she was adopted as an infant. However that’s not why she feels like an outsider, at least not in the beginning. She’s always felt aloof and untouchable because of a back brace that she’s been forced to wear 23 hours a day. About two years ago she was diagnosed with idiotic scoliosis. In order to prevent her spine from curving, she’s been forced to endure the tension and pain that comes with walking, sitting, and sleeping with a brace firmly hooked around her. She’s always felt like a freak because of this brace.  Not only does it cause her discomfort, it also forces her to wear very baggy clothes to accommodate the extra inches. I really felt for Dez. Because of her sense of being “different” she’s shut herself off from the good and normal experiences that come with being a teenager such as meeting, interacting, and connecting with the opposite gender. As Dez says

Boys don’t want to literally knock first before you let them in.

So then comes Caleb. The first time Dez meets him they are both locked within cages. After some quick thinking on Dez’s part the two break free from the cages, commandeer a SUV, and hightail it into the California desert to get away from the crazy group that captured Dez and caged Caleb. You can tell from the beginning that Dez and Caleb have a connection. There’s definitely instant-sparkage. Dez is having a rough time dealing with that fact that she a. recalls shifting into an animal (tiger to be precise) b. was shot with a tranquilzer c. wound up in a cage and d. learnt that she’s connected to a form of beings that have the ability to shapeshift into a specific animal depending on which tribe they belong to. Luckily though, Caleb himself posesses some unique abilities and is there to help her sort out the details. For instance, like there are only a few shifting tribes left, tiger shapeshifters are rare, and the tribunal (crazy group) which now knows Dez’s family’s location, believes shifters and all other forms of Otherkin are evil, and therefore work towards eradicating them.

Otherkin is an amazing book. The storyline is so unique and interesting. Berry does a fabulous job creating such a multi-faceted, fictional world. There’s a lot of deeply drawn out themes throughout Otherkin. Prejudice for instance, plays a big part along with the age-old good vs. evil. I found that those particular lines get blurred quite a bit throughout the story. Although The Tribunal makes it their mission to wipe out and cleanse the world of the “Otherkin” the Otherkin aren’t exactly making the Tribunal’s job any harder. The remaining Otherkin segregate amongst the different shifters, rats, bears, raptors, etc. believing that each is better than the other. They basically only look out for their own, willing to sacrifice another if it works to their own advantage. I loved the interaction and history between the shifter tribes. I thought it was well thought-out and thought provoking. I eagerly ate up every bit of information we we’re thrown.

There was a wide selection of characters. Which I loved! Dez is shy and meek in the beginning, but later on we discover that deep down she’s incredibly strong and brave. Caleb is extremely charming, yet also fiercely protective. I won’t go too much into detail as to spoiler the plot, but the other group of secondary characters were just as awesome. Each one was extremely unique with their own tastes and personalities. I found that they really balanced the story out nicely.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good paranormal young adult book with shifters, adventure, romance, and action.

Checkout my other reviews at The Book Slayer.