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Turnskin Paperback – March 1, 2008

17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Turnskin deftly explores same sex relationships and questions of identity and gender and tells an interesting story of social relations and the politics of art. Spectrum Awards Committee

The unique aspect of the shifter transformation as well as the solid world building deliver a great story that is appealing and fun to read. Three Dollar Bill Reviews

The story is inventive with plenty of twists and turns, the characters are colorful and complex, and the mythology is well developed and intricate. Matthew, Rainbow Reviews

About the Author

Nicole Kimberling lives in Bellingham, Washington with her partner, Dawn Kimberling, 2 bad cats and approximately 100,000 bees.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Blind Eye Books; 1st edition (March 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978986121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978986124
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,554,605 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Inky on January 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was expecting something gothy, (werewolves or vampires),but what I got was a really well written urban fantasy. The story follows Tom as he leaves behind his small town roots--as well as a murder and a dangerous, sexy boyfriend-- to try and make it in the big city. Of course, neither the murder nor the boyfriend stay behind him for long.

The setting is exotic and realistic, the fantasy elements blending easily with the mundane -- rickshaw drivers compete with cars for the roads, tourists gawk at shape-shifting prostitutes and gossip about which film stars are Shifters. It feels like a real place, and the characters that inhabit it are subtle, diverse and fun. (I loved Tom's cousins and their run down theater with velvet seats and falling plaster).

Of course Cloud, the sexy, dangerous boyfriend steals the show, still it was Tom, with his blend of vulnerability and determination, who made me feel for him so much that by the end I was quietly cheering as he faced down crooked cops and theater critics alike. Go Tom!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R.Parklane on February 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have a wonderful time reading this. The setting is magical and enchanting, the writer's descriptions vivid. If this her debut, I am in awe of her talents.
The writer has created a fascinating world occupied by Shifters (shapeshifters who are not animals but they do have different coloured fur or hair and some with muzzles) and Skins (humans since they are practically hairless by comparison). The Skins are the higher order specie, most treating the Shifters with comtempt. But that does not prevent the Skins from hiring the Shifters as impersonators, a very original concept in the story indeed.

Both main and side characters are lively, refreshing and well flushed out, each one distinct and fun. Tom is a very likable hero, as this small town half breed (born of a shifter mother and a human father) conquers obstacles and fights for his dream and lover in the big city. You just want this vulnerable, decent but brave character to succeed. Cloud Coldmoon, a Shifter from a "Mafia" Shifter family, is the dangerous but sexy boyfriend, providing twists and turns throughout the story.

Then there are all those charming side characters. Tom's three delightful cousins who take the naive Tom under their wings, Tom's protective female friend, Angela, in the early chapters, Cloud's tough brother, Seven, and the Skins from the threatre world, just to name a few.

The plot is very original, well paced, with exciting and romantic moments as we follow young Tom's adventures. The writer's prose is most engrossing and charming. And you just have to be captivated by all the impersonations and shiftings.

This is the second release from the same publisher of "Wicked Gentlemen". Turnskin is unique and a real charmer. Excellent!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patrick John Graydon on March 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
There are other reviews for this work, so I will avoid telling you about the characters, their problems, and the story. Instead, I will tell you that the shifter theme is used here to good effect to explore problems of prejudice. In a world where a shifter can look like, or impersonate, anything he or she wants to be -- any sex, any gender, any class, any profession -- it makes no sense to judge anyone by other than the content of their character. Kimberling puts her characters in situations where others make speciesist remarks after mistaking them for one of their own and where famous people reveal that they weren't always what they now appear to be. This aspect of the book makes it part of a moral conversation that is still unfortunately necessary in this country.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By J. Coombs on May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful! The main characters are well developed and engaging, the dialogue is entertaining. There is a little bit of everything in here: racism, ghettoization, classism, elitism, lookism all portrayed in a seemingly alternative universe but the issues are all present day, real world. A great read, I didn't want to get to the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jem TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed every book I've purchased from Blind Eye Books, and Turnskin was no exception. I read it straight through. The main character is a shapeshifter. Not a wereanimal, but an actual shape changer. This was not only a very creative spin on a common paranormal trope, but it also tied into the plot. These shifters can change their appearance, and also impersonate people (which is illegal). Very clever indeed.

The writing is tight, especially for the world building. Kimberling masterfully uses small details to create a familiar, but also very different world. Tom can't go to the city without transportation papers. He's denied the papers because he has no "urban skills." These two facts speak volumes about this world without using a lot of words, and subsequently made for a fast-paced story. There is just enough description to bring everything to life without an awkward info dump. However, the characterization is not as strong as the world-building. Tom is a bit cliché (naïve country boy lost in the big city), and Cloud is never fully developed beyond the master-class impersonator/gangster. This was an issue since their romance underlies the entire story: the sex scenes are the fade-to-black variety, and Tom didn't spend enough time with Cloud otherwise to build the true love they are supposed to have. That is not to say I didn't like them. I did. They just needed a little more fleshing out to make them real. The supporting cast was livelier. Tom's cousins are interesting, and provide a good balance to the romance.

Overall, though I don't think this novel has the depth of Astrid Amara's The Archer's Heart, it was well-written and engaging. I would be very happy to return to this world for a sequel, or just another story. Highly recommended.
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