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Body Master by C.J. Barry
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Sep 12, 2010

it was ok

Review by Deborah Hastings for Romance Novel News

The newest twist on the extremely popular genre of shape-shifting novels comes in the form of aliens from outer space. Oh yeah, they landed from outer space after going from planet to planet. Not entirely explained, but stay with us.

These shape-shifters don't turn into wolves, or coyotes, as do the excellent protagonists of Laurell K. Hamilton and Patricia Briggs. They simply are. And we don't know what they are.

Here, Barry falls flat. Her shifters have "a ghostly glow" and are "shaped like a giant demon." They don't shift into anything, they simply emote.

Barry's hero is Seneca Thomas, an agent with EXCEL, a secret government task force dedicated to eliminating these dangerous shape-shifters (if only we knew what they were). She is partnered with Max Dempsey, a shape-shifter who has somehow made his way into EXCEL.

Seneca has Native-American powers, learned from her grandmother, but what those powers are, and how she has them, is a long, drawn-out affair with no real answers.

There is an interesting plot line after this. The shifters are draining the homeless people of New York City, and tracking them down in subway tunnels to harvest their DNA and replicate themselves into an army ... to do what is not explained.

Barry can write, but she has no power for plotting a novel. She can introduce detail, and conversation, which is no small feat. But there is no real subtext here, or any plot line to make us care.

This is the first of a series touted by Barry, and we can only hope it gets better from here.
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