Published by Hachette Audio, Orbit Books on February 24, 2015
Genres: Adult SFF, Thriller
Length: 12 hours 43 minutes
Narrator: Peter Kenny
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*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
Kepler had never meant to die this way — viciously beaten to death by a stinking vagrant in a dark back alley. But when reaching out to the murderer for salvation in those last dying moments, a sudden switch takes place.
Now Kepler is looking out through the eyes of the killer himself, staring down at a broken and ruined body lying in the dirt of the alley.
Instead of dying, Kepler has gained the ability to roam from one body to another, to jump into another person’s skin and see through their eyes, live their life -- be it for a few minutes, a few months or a lifetime.
Kepler means these host bodies no harm — and even comes to cherish them intimately like lovers. But when one host, Josephine Cebula, is brutally assassinated, Kepler embarks on a mission to seek the truth — and avenge Josephine’s death.
Touch falls outside of my normally preferred genre of fantasy. Even with it’s strong paranormal / supernatural type element in that the main character’s soul can body jump it is still in my opinion very much a contemporary thriller book. But I am really glad that I decided to give it a try because it was a great read.
The tale of the body thief
This is in my opinion one of the creepiest possibilities – someone else being able to steal possession of my body and do whatever they want with it. I think all people at one time or another wonders about such a scenario and Touch really hammers home just how damaging someone else taking over your body could be. Even worse, you’ll remember nothing from the time your body was taken over! For that reason I found it fascinating the direction the author decided to go with the story, by making the main character not creepy and evil but more of a philanthropist to the people’s bodies he inhabits. Of course not all the bodies because he still does a fair amount of using for personal ends. But I liked that his main intention wasn’t to do the hosts harm. He ultimately comes to love the hosts he spends time in. Here is where I had a few “hmmm I don’t know” moments. I know I say “he” but I’m really not even sure if the main character Kepler was male or female originally before becoming a body jumper.
Just who is Kepler?
I still really don’t know… but then I do. I learned about the character, thoughts, motivations, a core of substance but not other typical things I would normally learn about a character. You do get a strong essence of the personality but in very unconventional ways. You have to throw out some of the normal ways you would identity with a character and I liked that aspect of this story very much. The more important thing to note about the story is that Kepler is not the only entity that has this particular ability to body jump. There are others and they are not benign the way Kepler mostly is. Be afraid I’m telling you, I know I am.
What a ride
This book was a mind trip. There were times I thought it moved slow but then I realized it really wasn’t because I devoured it in a day. There is a lot of jumping around between bodies, some flashbacks and some pretty sweet action. Imagine what you could do with hundreds of years of experience body jumping and all you need to do to switch bodies is just a simple touch!? Heck I’d love to see this made into a film to visualize just how the big screen would show how these action sequences played out.
Thoughts on the audio narration
More and more lately I find myself drawn to audio books. They are such a different experience compared to reading the book in print. However I frequently find that I enjoy the book most when I can switch back and forth between the print and the audio. Some things I just absorb better in one format versus the other. With Touch I definitely think the style of storytelling will make a huge difference in which format the reader should go with. There is a lot of jumping from one body to another and it can get confusing very quickly. There were times while listening if I were doing some task around the house I might miss that quick jump. I would recommend to readers that if they are unsure of how they might like the audio to listen to the audio sample as well as read the book sampler online before deciding which way to go. I can say that the narration was excellent and voice acting was really great. I really felt the tense moments come through in the narrator Peter Kenny’s voice and it put me that much more in tune with the atmosphere of the book. His voice is probably why I say “he” when thinking of the main character. He definitely had great skill at making me feel the tension and action in those scenes and I couldn’t help get excited each time there was a body jump. I highly recommend the audio version.