Touch, Claire North
Hmm, I think I’ll be pondering on this one for a while now. Like The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, it takes a classic idea — in that case a kind of immortality, in this a body-hopping entity — and explores it almost to destruction. It doesn’t always work 100% for me, here, but it works better for me than Harry August, and the pace is a lot more thrilling. There is something about the narrator that seemed similar, though; I kinda hope I don’t find that same tone when I go back to Mirror Dreams, Claire North’s first book back when she was Catherine Webb. I remember loving the tone of those books, the personality of the narrator; it’d be a little sad to me if that’s more about the author’s style than about the specific character.
Nonetheless, this is fun, and the bit that works the best is the love Kepler has for the bodies he inhabits. The way you come to understand his absolutely genuine love, which at first seems impossible, then perhaps monstrous. It makes you care about him because, okay, going for the pun here — he gets into your skin. And it’d be a little intoxicating to be loved by Kepler, to have him make the best of you and give you a wonderful life because he loves you. That concept is scary and attractive at the same time, and that’s why it works.
It might be a 400 page book, but it didn’t feel like it. The short chapters help (and, don’t worry, are appropriate to the body-jumping nature of the main character — that slightly disjointed sense is perfect).