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3.52  ·  Rating details ·  266 Ratings  ·  28 Reviews
Lee can change her gender and ethnicity at will, allowing her to slip freely through New York society. She thought she was the only "polymorph"... until a chance encounter with another of her kind. Now it's up to Lee to stop the renegade shapeshifter who is plotting to control the information technology in a postindustrial world, where illusion wear the face of reality, an ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 276 pages
Published December 1st 1997 by Roc
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Rating details
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Elizabeth Wallace
I would've given this one four stars, except it suffers from some INCREDIBLY bad pacing about halfway through. I mean the first half you're following the main character around as she uses her shape-shifting talent to worm her way into all the right clubs and hook up with all the right people, and then we get SO BOGGED DOWN with the search for the bad guy. Pages and PAGES and pages of ...tracking them through the computer. And looking at their finances. And logging into the main library to find t ...more
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
TRIGGER WARNINGS FOR EVERYTHING: hamfisted handling of LGBT, gender, dis/ability, and race issues - I mean, you can see he's generally decent and has thought carefully about things for at least five minutes or so - probably a lot more, I am not giving him enough credit as I am writing this review at 3AM having just finished the book - but his overwhelming straight white dude-ness nevertheless manifests somewhat unpleasantly every so often. Also, sexual assault.

This book outshines everything else
Emily Buehler
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was really hard to find, but worth the search, in my opinion. I really liked it. The setting of the book reminded me a lot of William Gibson's work, which helped to sell it for me. The central premise of the book (the polymorphing) was handled in a very interesting way, and the main character of the book was quite complex.

I would have liked to learn more of the back story on the big bad, since the end of the story came a bit quickly, but overall quite a good first novel.

May 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Another early Westerfeld novel. Lots of sex, plenty of violence, and an examination of how the way we look affects everything else about who we are. Plus, more sex and violence.
Chandler Atkinson
Oct 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Scott Westerfeld is one of my all-time favorite authors, so I was very excited to finally get my hands on a copy of his first book. While the story is interesting, it leans too much into heavy descriptions which take you out of the reading. I also found the gender essentialism/transphobia pretty hard to swallow,

Also a heads up - theres quite a violent rape scene near the end that I was not prepared for.
Oct 16, 2009 rated it did not like it
Shelves: science-fiction
Gifted with the ability to change her gender and ethnicity at will, a young woman moves anonymously through a futuristic New York City society. She thinks she's unique...until she happens upon another of her kind, one who is all-too willing to use his abilities for his own sinister ends. Now she must stop this renegade shape-shifter out to seize control of the entire post-industrial world where illusion wears the face of reality and the ultimate prize is absolute power!

That is the synopsis to th
Jan 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was Westerfeld's first book, and I enjoyed it every bit as much as his more recent ones. The protagonist can change her physical body at will, including gender and ethnicity. When she meets another polymorph, things get very complicated and dangerous. Lee, Freddie, & Sam were rich characters, and I liked watching Lee's assumptions about herself change over the course of the book. I found Bonito a bit too one dimensional, simply evil. And I was dissatisfied with a few threads the author ...more
Aug 18, 2012 rated it did not like it
Read this book because it was Westerfeld, but really didn't like it compared to his other works. There wasn't enough background information for me. I wanted to know more of the main character's life story (though I understand how he may be making a point of not giving her a backstory to emphasize her lack of identity and her feelings that identity aren't important).
I also wanted to understand better the setting; it seemed like it was a futuristic NYC, but what happened to get to that point and w
Adam  McPhee
Jan 31, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
It’s a sci-fi novel about a slacker shapeshifter who only uses her/his power to find one night stands and commit welfare fraud. If I could shapeshift I think I’d be a little bit more inventive. Massive identity theft carried out against my enemies. At the very least, I’d rob a bank or something. Or slander famous people by turning into them and doing something awful. I don’t know. It sort of backs away from the implications of what it would be like to change gender and ethnicity at will. Also th ...more
Soobie can't sleep at night
Since I really liked Westerfeld's more recent works I decided to give a read also to his first novel.

I didn't like the first part of the novel in which the author is describing Lee/Milica lifestyle among parties and casual sexual encounters. But then, when Lee/Milica, Freddye and Sam, started looking for Bonito it became more interesting. Still I'm not sure that Bonito was a real threat to Lee's life, apart from the fact that it obviously made her felt way less special.
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Audrey Lee
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
I am a fan of Scott Westerfeld's work. Especially the Leviathan and Uglies series. You can tell this was his first book. I agree with some other reviews. The writing was chunky and slow in some parts and okay in others. The sex scenes were graphic. The danger didn't seem big enough. In the end Lee didn't find what she wanted. I struggled with parts of it and was almost glad to leave the world behind. It had some interesting concepts though.
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-again
Interesting conceptually but lost me when it became a chase novel. I really would have enjoyed if the author had instead spent more time exploring the main characters navigation through morphing and maintaining a relationship. I felt this could have been a bit more psychological and sociologically meaningful. The ending was well done and thought provoking.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
I really like Westerfeld's writing style and it's clear it was firmly in place right out of the gate. The story itself was a little uneven - most of the other reviewers have described why more succinctly than I can.
Apr 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Clever, well-written, and imaginative... but the book lost me a bit, especially at the end. It seemed like it couldn't decide whether to be a fast-paced adventure or a gritty, depressingly noir bit of cyberpunk. I like both, but indecision is a turn-off.
Feb 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
Bizarre... I liked it when I read it.. but a week or so later when I went saw it on my kindle I couldn't really remember it at all.. so read the last few pages and then went .. "ahh yeah... that thing"... so for that reason I give it 2 stars.. not because it was bad.. but because it was ok
Apr 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, male-author, scifi
Eh. You could kind of see the roots of the Uglies series in this, but it wasn't nearly as good. I didn't really care for the main character, and the ending was a bit of a turn-off, even though I probably should have expected it.
Leif Anderson
Mar 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
When I read this book, I had never heard of Scott Westerfield, and I had no idea what to expect. It was very good.
Peter Okeafor
Feb 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A really enjoyed this book. It has a very unique take on shapeshifters.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
More aimed towards adults than teens like his other books. Wasn't what I was expecting after having read some of his other teen books, but I really enjoyed it.
Jan 10, 2008 added it
Shelves: 2006
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I liked the concept of this book, but it really wasn't for me. The story did improve as it went along, though.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Genderfuck yay!
Dec 09, 2010 rated it it was ok
Not as enjoyable as some of his other books.
Tessa in Mid-Michigan
Also grotesque and violent, but not as much. Finished it for the interesting story--serial killer.
S.K. Allen
rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2013
rated it it was amazing
Mar 02, 2008
Ben-man Phillips
rated it liked it
Jan 04, 2015
C.I. DeMann
rated it liked it
Oct 22, 2013
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Scott Westerfeld is a New York Times bestselling author of YA. He was born in the Texas and now lives in Sydney and New York City. In 2001, Westerfeld married fellow author Justine Larbalestier.

He is best know for the Uglies and Leviathan series, and his next book, Afterworlds, comes out September 23, 2014.

His book Evolution's Darling was a New York Times Notable Book, and won a Special Citation f
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