David Book Cover David
The Unseen - book 3
Johnny Worthen
YA Paranormal Fantasy
Jolly Fish Press
August 16, 2016

Review by: Debby Foulkes

Reviewer for the Paranormal Romance Guild

Eleanor is on the run after a fire killed some of the family members of the boy she loved. The town presumes she is dead, but she knows she needs to return for unfinished business.  However, Eleanor is not just any teenager, she is a skinwalker. She can change into any animal or person that she’s able to imprint from and it’s a gift that not only caused the fire, but also saved her.

The start of the book goes to the night of the fire where you are introduced to Eleanor. Then the scene changes to one where of a cat is living at Conrad Sikring’s home. You soon understand the cat is Eleanor in hiding, and that is when you understand Eleanor’s gift. With the help of Sikring, she resumes her human form in the guise of Sikring’s assistant, Suzanne. She returns to Jamestown to face the ghosts of her past. Her teenage love, David, is also in Jamestown. She has to him that not only she’s alive, but she’s not a normal human. However, there’s someone who is hunting Eleanor and everything she holds dear is in danger again.

The perspective of Eleanor as a cat pulled me into the story quickly. There was something intriguing and interesting about the narrative that gripped me, then when I realized what Eleanor was, it fueled my interest more. One of the things that I really enjoyed was how Worthen wrote the change of a skinwalker. It’s not pretty or easy. In fact, there were occasions where the process for her to change turned my stomach, but that appealed to me, too. One of the things I love and what attracts me to a paranormal fantasy is the gritty realism within it, and Worthen does that well.

I connected instantly with Eleanor and wanted her to achieve her goal. I wanted the happy ending with David. Worthen created characters you can invest in. They are real and likable. His writing is dark and gritty with the depth of his descriptive narrative. If there were any negatives, they were just small things that niggled at me. An example of this is when Eleanor changed, the narrative took the name and sex of the persona she’d become. This caused me to get confused a few times and take just a moment to catch up. But it’s a very small negative and didn’t impede on what I loved about the story. I’ve just read the Stephen Lloyd Jones’ series about skinwalkers and I would put this on par with that. I know that it’s aimed at the YA market, but as a mature reader, I enjoyed it thoroughly and would definitely read the rest of the series.