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I want to say upfront that I read an ARC edition (maybe even a galley) and that means the finished product might be different.

Shifters begins clumsily as Lilburn tries to get across that her characters are special-special kids, in a special elite school with dangerous secrets. No wait, I jumped ahead of myself a bit. The Prologue is our first taste of the book and it’s a confusing mass of innuendos, veiled threats and references that make no sense at all. In truth, even with more background as the novel goes on, the Prologue made little sense to me.

Now back to the special-special characters. Lilburn makes the early mistake of telling the reader that her characters are gifted and are at a gifted school. We're not really shown any sort of giftedness--super-powered or otherwise--in the story. They do some interesting things, but nothing awe-inspiring or original enough to make me sit up and take notice.

And therein lays Shifters real problem. The story showed promise, as far as the conspiracy went, but Lilburn relied on convenience and hand-waving to explain a lot of the plot. For instance I found it rather suspect that a lot of Halina's close friends all ended up at the school with her--this elite, private school with limited admission. Some of this is explained away later, but it negated a chance for us to learn more about Halina organically. Her and her friends were by in large comfortable with each other, and anything mentioned felt forced and exposition filled since you know these kids have been together for a while.

As I said, this was an ARC (advanced reader's copy, or uncorrected proof) so the finished product (due out in March) may be tighter and edited in a way that it won't feel as if you are reading the author's outline. As far as I'm concerned though, Halina and her friends should have studied harder and looked for shadowy conspiracies less.

Book Blurb for Shifters

Reality shifting could destroy Lina's life—or help her overthrow a government conspiracy…

While coping with classes and crushes at an elite private school that has a 'big brother' approach to surveillance and implants strange I.D. tags under each student's skin, Lina Pawlak discovers that students are disappearing. A government agency, Special Force, is creating a superior race of humans by weeding out those with “corrupt” DNA.

Lina yearns to be a normal teenage girl, though she's anything but "normal." She's a shifter, and her realities are about to multiply. Shifting from one reality to the next, she clings to sanity, tries to prevent a mass genocide and deals with a reoccurring dilemma—she can’t save everyone in every reality.

Night Owl Reviews Jan, 2012 3.00