A Unique Twist on Shape-Shifters with Fast-Paced Action, Thrilling Adventure, Mystery, and a Bit of Romance
Flo lives an eccentric life—she travels with a popular circus in which the main acts star orphaned children with secret shape-shifting abilities. Once Flo turns sixteen, she must perform, but she’s not ready. While practicing jumping a flaming hurdle in a clearing beside the circus, she spots a dark figure in the trees and fears he saw her shift. The news sends the circus into a panic.
In Flo’s world, shifters are unknown to humans with the exception of a secret organization—the EOS, referred to as “hunters.” Hunters capture and kill. They send some shifters to labs for observation and testing—testing they don’t often survive—and deem others useless, a danger to society, and eliminate them. To avoid discovery, shifters travel in packs, constantly moving and keeping themselves hidden. Up until now, the circus was the perfect disguise.
Believing she has brought attention to the group, Flo feels dread and anxiety, causing her to make a mistake during her performance in front of the audience—a mistake that triggers a violent attack from the hunters.
Flo manages to flee the torched circus grounds with Jett, the bear shifter who loves her; the annoying elephant triplets; and a bratty tiger named Pru. Together they begin a new journey, alone in a world they don’t understand and don’t know how to navigate. On the run, they unravel secrets and lies that surround the circus and their lives—secrets and lies that all point to the unthinkable: Have they been betrayed by the people they trusted most?
The Wanderersby Kate Ormand
With a mysterious and alluring premise, Kate Ormand's young adult novel, The Wanderers, entreats readers who are fond of fantastical elements set within the current day. Ormand is able to pony up a novel that shows potential, especially for those who enjoy the supernatural with shape shifting concepts, a la mode Alma Alexander's The Were Chronicles.
Most likely traveling within the English countryside, teen female protagonist Flo is part of a carnival caravan of shape shifters. Just as Flo knows that all that glitters is not gold, all is not what it seems under the big tent; sordid secrets abound and dangers lurk--all creating a three-ringed circus of mayhem when a practiced performance goes terribly wrong.
Tinged with scanty moments of excitement, readers must wait for the real action to begin as a back story that seems unnecessary and inconsequential to the outcome takes its sweet time developing. More than halfway through the novel events begin to fast track themselves; new characters are revealed, and then just as suddenly taken away, creating some confusion. Why even introduce readers to a character with a name if there is no development or purpose for said character?
There was a lot of possibility within the basis, but the interesting elements seemed to be skimmed and then rushed over, rather than advancing into something truly spectacular.
Is there hope? Absolutely! Although it had a slow beginning, the conclusion was interesting, and opened up a possibility for a sequel that could be an opportunity for the author to truly connect with and delight readers.
Review of Advance Reader Copy
Profanity/Language: 5 mild obscenities; 4 scatological words.
Violence/Gore: Report of species being hunted and killed; report of animal attack resulting in death, blood mentioned; character shows another character a scar and reveals violent manner in which he/she obtained it; implication the character's parents were taken and killed in a violent manner; character remembers burn injury; news report of animal attack; siblings playfully punch one another; character is burned severely in accident; destruction of property by fire, implications of injuries; mention of blood coming from an injury; characters find dead bodies, injuries on bodies imply violent death; character hits and scratches another character; mention of injuries, burns, cuts, broken bones; extended scene (about 2 pages) car with passengers inside is deliberately hit, mention of blood and injuries, characters taken against will; characters are burnt, melting flesh and causing pain (few times); character kicks another character; report of a kill order against another character; extended scene (about 1 page) character is shot type of tranquilizer, character is burned and kicks out, character is kicked; character is injured, broken bloody nose; character slaps and scratches another character, blood mentioned; character admits to being responsible for character(s) parent(s) death; report of character succumbing to death from earlier injuries; character is smacked, blood mentioned; report of people being captured and/or killed; character(s) face is bruised, implying he/she'd been hit (2x); extended scene (about 1 page) character cuts another character to remove object embedded under skin, bloody but not gory; character strikes another character and uses a knife in self-defense, blood mentioned; character is slapped; implication that characters will be killed; extended scene (about 1 page) gun fire and physical altercation between characters, injuries mentioned; character is shot dead; report of character biting another character; characters are shot at, injury and blood; character is shot dead; extended bloody/gory scene (about 2 pages) characters engage in physical violence with one another, guns involved, descriptive death; character witnesses characters fight, character is stabbed; characters engage in physical confrontation, stabbing and slicing with knife, character dies in a violent non-descriptive manner; report of deaths and injuries.
Sex/Nudity: Several (10+) mentions of character(s) being nude (non-sexual) or in various states of undress in public and private; many (21+) brief incidents of characters embracing, holding hands and/or kissing; extended scene (about 1 paragraph) descriptive kiss; few (less than 5) incidents in which underage male and female character share a bed or room for sleeping, nothing more than cuddling; female character thinks about sharing a bed with male character when they are older, implication of sex; character witnesses adult characters kissing and touching one another; female character mentions that she dated another female character.
Mature Subject Matter:
Orphan, death/murder, parent(s) death (most likely murder), secret government sect with unethical practices.
Alcohol / Drug Use:
Mention of beer bottles and ale.
Reviewed By MaryLou