Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Turning: What Curiosity Kills by Helen Ellis

The Turning: What Curiosity Kills by Helen Ellis
Publication Date/Version: May 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Publicist (Thanks!)

Mary Richards is a normal sixteen-year-old girl living in Manhattan. Well, almost normal. She goes to private school on the Upper East Side, having been saved from a life of squalor by an adoptive family. But she’s also slowly transforming into a cat.

Struggling to hide her physical metamorphosis, Mary discovers that she isn’t alone. A whole race of cat people prowls the streets of Manhattan at night, including Mary’s long-time crush, Nick.

Aside from heightened feline senses, hanging out with Nick is the best thing about discovering her inner kitty. But Mary’s transformation is special and could decide the outcome of a citywide turf war. She must decide whether to embrace her powerful feline side and become a pack leader or go back to being a normal teenage girl. Can she land on her feet or will curiosity be her downfall?

Mary's been through a lot in her life. She was adopted at a fairly young age, is bullied by the class diva, and now she's turning into a cat. That's right - a cat. Luckily for her, she's not alone. Many other turn cats, as they're called, roam the streets and some even attend her school. After talking to these other turn cats, Mary learns that she's in the middle of a turf war between the domestics and the strays. She, however, is special and set apart from the rest of the cats. Will she sacrifice all that's important to her in order to stop this war?

Sourcebooks Fire is a bit of a new imprint, and I've found that while some books are hits, others are misses. Luckily, this one was a hit for me! I've yet to read Ellis' previous novel, but now I'll be sure to pick it up.

We are first introduced to Mary, along with some strange occurrences. Mary is your average girl and that makes her easy to relate to. Because she's fairly run-of-the-mill, it's easy to imagine her situation as being real. The pace in the beginning is slow, but yet I never found myself bored. I didn't mind the uneven pacing this time.

At such a short length, only 120 pages, it was hard to fully connect with all of the characters. I would have loved to know more about the other cats, as well as Mary's friends. The book's concept was an interesting one, but, like the characters, I wish I was told more about it. I hope to see the mythology of the turning drawn out more in the later installments.

The largest part that irked me about this story was how quickly Mary formed a relationship with Nick. One minute he has a girlfriend, the next he's making out with Mary while she's naked under a blanket. Uh, what? His overall possessiveness of her felt a bit skewed because there wasn't enough time for true emotions to develop.

While this story did have a few flaws, I immensely enjoyed the concept! How cool would it be to be able to transform into a cat? That seems like a pretty good choice of animal. The process was described well, and the powers that came along with it were quite interesting. I look forward to learning more in the sequel.

Overall: Great concept. Too short. Would like to know more history. Look forward to the sequel.

My Advice: I would borrow this, then buy it if you like it. I know it's a bit hit or miss for most people, so I recommend borrowing it first.

Cover: Gorgeous! I love it. The circles of light and those eyes! And look, no whitewashing. I commend Sourcebooks on that. The colors of this cover are mesmerizing. I could look at it all day. It's even prettier in person.

*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge

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