Source: Media Masters Publicity for review
Can Tessa pose as Madison . . . and stop a killer before it’s too late?My thoughts:
Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she’s spent the last two years training with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again.
Tessa hates everything about being an impostor—the stress, the danger, the deceit—but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she’d do anything to keep. Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.
This is a variation on the theme of kids finding out they have incredible powers and solving crimes. I usually love those kind of stories and this was no exception.
Tessa is a sensitive young girl who has had a life that was anything less than perfect. Rejected by her parents she finds a sort of home in the government program who identifies and then exploits their talents to solve federal crime, often those with other "variant" powers. Tessa is sent on a mission before she is mentally mature enough to handle the consequences, but decides that catching the killer is more important than her issues with posing as a dead girl. This is where I think the author shines. She does not shy away from Tessa's sensitivity but embraces it and shows how vulnerable this can make her. How this would affect someone who hasn't yet fully developed their own personality first.
As for the rest of it... what happens... you'll just have to read it to find out. *evil laugh*
I do have one niggle that bothered me from a sci-fi POV: How did she absorb scars and environmental "defects" when absorbing the DNA for the shift to another person? This wasn't addressed and I'm quite curious to the explanation. Perhaps I will get it as the series progresses. I hope so!
I give this book 4 stars. I think the mystery was done well, but what shined to me was the characterization. I liked the vulnerability of Tessa and the way she learned to do what was right for herself in the end. I'm so leery of her "handlers" and that is a great thread to have open for the next books in the series. Are the good guys really the good guys? ;) The main mystery is wrapped up so there are no cliffies, only threads that you would expect in a series that can go in several directions. Sign me up for that! :) I recommend it to those that enjoy a fun adventure reminiscent of the X-men.
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