Review for Impostor (Variants #1) by Susanne Winnacker

Impostor by Susanne Winnacker

TITLE: Impostor
SERIES: Variants #1
AUTHOR: Susanne Winnacker
PUBLISHER: Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books
PAGES: 320 pages
FORMAT: E-ARC / Audiobook
SOURCE: NetGalley / Borrowed
RATING: 3 bows

Tessa has a variant ability that is deemed top-notch, the ability to shift physical forms. She can shapeshift into anyone whos DNA she has been ability to absorb. She’s spent her life training with the FEA, a secret division of the FBI that uses variants abilities to help solve crimes, and now they say she’s ready for her first mission: impersonate high school student Madison to assist in finding a small town serial killer. But once she assumes the role, she becomes way too content to play through Madison’s life as a normal teenager. This role has afforded her things she has never had before: caring parents, friends, and a overprotective brother. With everything riding on her role, can she pull herself out of the fantasy long enough to find the killer?

Okay, so when I saw this up on NetGalley, I got all grabby hands. I really enjoyed Susanne Winnacker’s previous dystopian, The Other Life, and this promises X-Men like epic-ness, so I was all for it. I was overjoyed to get approved and started it rather quickly, but it really failed to captivate my full attention. I make no secret of the fact that I read multiple books at once, usually the most interesting one is what I pick up most and this kept falling by the wayside. I kept ignoring it for anything else I was reading. It took me over a month to get through it, which doesn’t bode well. I cannot pinpoint exactly what was wrong except that it was a bit boring. The tag line on NetGalley promises X-Men meets Veronica Mars, which is probably too much pressure to live up to.

For once, the heroine wasn’t my problem. Tessa is strong and brave, if a little scared and entirely too easy to sympathize with, with that unrequited love and terrible parents aspect going. Her mother doesn’t really give a shit about her and she has never met her father. After she moved in with Madison’s family, she has a difficult time separating herself from the job and comes to genuinely care for all of them, making her job that much more difficult. Her obsession with fellow Variant Alec was both endearing and annoying.

Alec, well, I’m on the fence about him. It’s obvious he has feelings for Tessa, but he hides behind a bitchy girlfriend and claims he can never be more than friends with Tessa, but the protectiveness and sidelong glances speak volumes. I hate the cheating thing. I hate the “justified” cheating thing even more. They don’t do more than kiss, but he is still with his girlfriend the first time they kiss and I can’t stand that. I understand destiny or fate or whatever you wish to label it as, but seriously, dude, if you like her that much, treat her with some fucking respect.

The entire murder mystery was interesting, but I couldn’t bring myself to really care too deeply about it. I will say that the true killer was an entire surprise to me, so kudos for that. This novel almost felt like the author was trying to fit a bit too much into a measly 300 or so pages. You’ve got the killer to find, the lovefest with Alec to ponder, the idea that maybe the FEA is hiding something, the realization of imminent danger, Tessa’s interactions (or lack thereof) with her family, Tessa’s (and Alec’s) history, and so much more. Maybe if it had been a bit longer and spent more on each segment, things would have worked out better. Also, I hated how it skirted love triangle territory. ****SPOILER****Though Tessa will never admit it outright, she is attracted to Devon, Madison’s brother. Nothing happens between the two here, obviously since she’s impersonating his sister, but you can feel the love triangle coming, especially since it turns out Devon is a variant and he joins the FEA. Alec had better enjoy his time with Tess while he can because soon, she’ll be falling all over herself to be closer to Devon.****END SPOILER****

Though the concept for this is great, the reality is mediocre. The characters are interesting, but none of them really connected with me. The writing is great, if a bit dull. The plot was completely twist-y and I didn’t see most of the twists coming, but somehow that doesn’t raise my opinion any. Bottom line? It’s an interesting read that has room for improvement.

****Thank you to Hodder Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Children’s Books, for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Tabitha's signature

Review for The Weepers (The Other Life #1) by Susanne Winnacker

The Weepers by Susanne Winnacker

TITLE: The Weepers
SERIES: The Other Life #1
AUTHOR: Susanne Winnacker
PUBLISHER: Marshall Cavendish
PAGES: 261 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars


First off, I must say that I liked the original cover of this much better than the new one. I mean look at it!

Anyway, I really enjoyed this novel. It’s one of the few books I can name that I read in one day. I was hooked from the moment I started reading. Sherry’s habit of counting the days since her last normal experiences fascinated me. Watching this family try to deal with the fact that they are supposed to stay in this bombshelter even now when they are completely out of food had my full attention. What happened in the outside world? How would they deal with the loss of food? Would they decide that the best chance of survival was to become cannibals and eat Grandpa who died a few months prior and was in the freezer? Would they decide it was worth the risk to venture out and find food? Ding ding ding We have a winner. Daddy dearest and Sherry leave the shelter in search of food, but instead of finding it, they find a deserted Walmart where they are promptly attacked. Sherry is saved by Joshua, one of the few survivors who happened to be nearby, but Daddy isn’t so lucky. He has vanished and Sherry is beyond upset. Joshua takes Sherry to his home and introduces her to the other survivors. They go collect the rest of Sherry’s family from the bunker then Sherry & Joshua scamper off to try to find and rescue Daddy.

The more I learned about this world, the more intrigued I became. This post apocalyptic world was brought on by a mutated strain of rabies that infected the population. Not an act of nature, but a genetically altered version made by the government for who knows what purpose. It reminded me a lot of the tv show Firefly (or the movie Serenity). The government fucks up and while the disease merely kills the majority of the population, some have a more severe reaction and become cannibalistic monsters.

Then at the end to learn that not only is the government responsible, but they actually aren’t living in a post apocalyptic world. Oh no. It’s much worse in some ways. The area they live in is indeed deserted area, but it’s only because the government’s solution to the rabies infestation is to fence off the contaminated areas (California, Nevada, Oregon, and Arizona) and allow the rest of the world to continue living as if nothing has changed. They offer no assistance to anyone who may still be human, instead they heavily patrol the border of the fence and anyone or anything caught near it is turned into the scientists guinea pigs. The story ends right after this tidbit of information is revealed along with the rumor of a cure.

I found it to be a very exciting and enjoyable read. I loved that Sherry didn’t relish killing something but at the same time, when it came down to the monster or her she did shoot it. I also loved that she wasn’t a great shot. She’s human and fallible and it’s great. I can’t wait for the next novel.

****Thank you to Marshall Cavendish for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****