posted by Ruth

The Turning:  What Curiosity Kills by Helen Ellis

Meet Mary Richards, a teenager living in Manhattan and coming of age in the excitement and drama of 21st-century New York City.  As she begins to emerge as a young woman, her physical changes take on a pretty scary dimension of genuine metamorphosis:  she finds herself “turning.”  She discovers that a destiny beyond her control is transforming her into a creature of the night, with new abilities, tastes, desires, and vulnerabilities that she must hide from her friends and family.

But wait!  This new series is not another in a line of “teenager becoming a vampire” book.  Mary is slowly transforming into. . . a cat (!) , with all the exciting powers of her new feline race of cat people that prowl the streets of Manhattan by night.  She is sought out by two very different boys who share her secret and help her discover her “inner kitty.” They introduce her to her heightened feline senses, and the complex society and hierarchy of the century-old culture that is currently raging a city-wide turf war and help her manage (sometimes not too well)  and she navigates her two worlds.

The premise itself is a good draw for readers who loved The Twilight Saga, Blue Bloods, and other series that feature teen-age girls, romance, and a walk on the dark side through metamorphosis.  But turning into a cat and celebrating the world through feline power will also attract a new audience who is looking for something a little different.

I have to admit, a good vampire read is just my cup of tea, but I actually liked this new series better than any of the previous series that have become my guilty pleasure. Helen Ellis is a fine writer with a delicious sense of humor–and irony.  She builds a realistic world for her characters,  setting out the premise for “the turning” and a complex set of magical rules that the race of cat people must live by.   There’s danger, suspense, intrigue, and of course, romance in this brand new series.   Highly recommended for those of us with slightly off-beat tastes who like to lose themselves in a good read. I’ll be eagerly waiting for the next installment!



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