Review: Imposter by Susanne Winnacker

Pub. Date: May 28, 2013
Publisher: Razorbill
274 pages

Tessa can change her appearance to that of anyone she comes in contact with. She is a Variant – a person with an otherworldly ability. Two years ago, Tessa was offered the chance to leave her not so happy home to join the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities (FEA), a subset of the FBI. She along with the other Variants work at the FEA to hone their abilities, from becoming invisible, to reading minds, influencing emotions, and having super strength. It’s hard not to compare the Variants series to the X-Men, and the FEA to Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. While a comparison to such a beloved series (franchise?) can be the kiss of death, at this point in the series I would say the comparison is warranted and deserved. 

Once a Variants training is complete, the FBI can use them to assist during special assignments. But, even though Tessa’s training isn’t done, her specific Variant is needed now. She is assigned to take over the body and the life of Madison, a high school senior, and the fourth victim of a small town serial killer. Tessa is not only unsure if she can maintain her Variant for days or weeks at a time, but she is also unsure how to integrate herself into a family and a group of friends that
she knows little about, quickly learning that looking like someone is very different from becoming someone. Acting like Madison is supposed to help Tessa uncover who murdered Madison and the three other victims. But, the more comfortable Tessa becomes with the people in Madison’s life, the harder it becomes to be objective about their potential involvement in the murders, and the harder it is to leave Madison’s happy family, to return to her family-less life at the FEA. The killer is definitely real, and Tessa learns the hard way that she is in much more danger as Madison, and as herself, than she guessed.

From the first to the last chapter, Imposter is never stagnant. The novel moves at a fairly quick pace, but never throws too much information at the reader at one time. For those who like mysteries, this is an especially a great read because with Tessa’s first person narration, and the focus that she has on fitting into Madison’s life, not a huge amount of clues are given about who the killer is. But, once the killer’s identity is revealed, as a reader you wonder how you didn’t figure it from the beginning. Hopefully a little more flushing out of the characters, especially Tessa’s will become a focus within the next novels in the series, as for the most part the focus on characters in Imposter was understandably on the people from Madison’s life. There is a romance side to the novel, and a hint at a future love triangle, but considering romance is not the main focus of the story, just enough of the romance plot is included without it becoming too overwhelming. Overall Imposter is a really entertaining, quick read. The end of the novel definitely hints at where the series will go, especially in terms of what kind of ‘big bad’ the FEA are going to be fighting. I am definitely looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Rating 7.5/10

** I received a copy of this book from the publisher to read and honestly review. I was in no way compensated. 

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