Monday, October 10, 2011
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins
The hardest reviews to write are the ones where you enjoyed a book, but not quite enough to rave about it or wax on poetically about its beauty (coughDaughterofSmokeandBonecough). Shifting is one of those books. I enjoyed it. It was a quick, fun read, but nothing out of this world. It just felt like something was missing...some “oomph”.
Maggie Mae has led a tough life. She’s been bounced from foster home to foster home since her family was killed by animals when she was young. Some homes were great and some...not so great. In the last two years though, it’s been even harder. On the night of a full moon, she discovered a secret about herself, that she’s a shape shifter. She’s unable to control it and so, every full moon, she ends up naked and found by police. Her current foster parents just can’t take it anymore and at the start of the book, Maggie is being moved to a new home out in the countryside of New Mexico. Despite all her efforts to fit in, she just can’t. She is terrorized by the local girls due to her friendship with the school hottie and a creepy man is hunting her. He may just be a member of a group out of Navajo legend, people who traded their souls for the power to turn into the animals whose skins they wear.
It’s hard to put a finger on it, but I think the “oomph” that was missing comes from the fact that we don’t get a lot of the history of our love interest or the mythology until the very end. Then it all comes at you rapid fire throughout the climax. I can understand the author wanted to build up a sense of mystery and also perhaps make the book more about the character, Maggie Mae, than the actual paranormal elements. I did really enjoy how flawed and real Maggie Mae was. I enjoyed her back story and her strength to stand up for herself. However, it just felt a bit underwhelming to suddenly have the mystery unraveled and to not get an opportunity to dive deeper into the mythology of shape shifters and Skinwalkers. I would almost have preferred to cut the paranormal elements all together and had the bad guy just been someone shady from her past.
Despite the lack of “oomph”, I did enjoy this book. It was a light read with paranormal elements that are different from the usual fare of faeries, angels, and vampires - oh my! If you’re a paranormal romance fan, you should definitely still check it out. I’m hoping there is more in store for Maggie Mae and her love. I want to know what happens to them after that ending!
Oh and on a totally random note - I hate the official cover. Where the heck did the snake come from (other than it looking cool)? Um, there are no snakes. Lots of furry animals, some feathered, no reptiles to my knowledge. Maybe I missed something? My edition has Maggie with a cheetah, definitely more plot appropriate and still pretty.
Shifting by Bethany Wiggins is published by Walker & Co (Bloomsbury) who sent me an ARC to review. It was published in September of this year.