Monday, 27 May 2013

Review: 'Transformed' by Debbie Kump

Transformed, by Debbie Kump, 2011, World Castle Publishing, $9.99, softbound, 267 pages. Category/Genre: fantasy. Cover: not bad. Where we got it: author's relative. Where you can get it: Amazon.

Thirteen-year-old Jessica Davis has a dream that she's turned into a sea eagle and is trying to help someone. When the alarm wakes her, she realises she has, in fact, turned into a giant sea eagle. But she can talk, and has anthropomorphic motion. When her mother sees what's happened, she surprises Jessica by being happy for her. Transforming runs in the family, and Jessica's mum always wanted the gift herself. 

Jessica's Grandpa Theodore could also shape-shift into a sea eagle. He died in a battle because Jessica's mother couldn't shape-shift and fight for him. Now Jessica will be trained in the art of transformation so that she, too, can go to battle.

To that end, she travels (awkwardly -- she still doesn't know the intricacies of flying) to the island of Pokapu. This is where the base camp of the Alliance is. The Alliance is an organisation of shape-shifters (or 'morphers') who protect endangered species and their habitats. Here Jessica meets the eight other morpher students who, like her, will be taught how to control their shape-shifting abilities.

But strange things keep happening to Jessica. She knows, without being told, the translation of the island's name, and she finds her grandpa's sketch of the place she saw in her dream. Her social life is also complicated: two of her fellow students take an instant and inexplicable dislike to her, and she still doesn't know how to turn back into her human form.

Then, when Shredder, one of her classmates, takes her by the hand, Jessica sees a torrent of unfamiliar faces. These visions continue to assault her whenever she comes into physical contact with Shredder. Jessica is falling for Shredder, but her best friend likes him, too.

We thought this was a stronger story than Debbie Kump's 7G; Kump's style is more suited to the young adult audience, and she has an unusual take on shape-shifters in this book. There's humour in the book, and it's well thought-out. 

Note: mild language.

If you like this one, try: Suggestions?     

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