Impostor by Susanne Winnacker Review

Monday, December 9, 2013

Title: Impostor
Author: Susanne Winnacker (Twitter)
Publisher: Hodder Children's
Publish Date: January 2, 2014 (UK)
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi
Pages: 320
Source: Publisher

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she's spent the last two years with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. There she trains with other Variants, such as long-term crush Alec, who each have their own extraordinary ability.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. Tessa hates everything about being an impostor - the stress, the danger, the deceit - but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she'd do anything to keep.
Science fiction is a genre that I'm fairly certain I'll never grow tired of, especially when novels like Impostor make their way onto the market. This book moved at breakneck speed, sweeping us up into a fantastic, powerful and imaginative journey in which we are helpless but to become fully engrossed and invested in the story. Author, Susanne Winnacker, gives us a contemporary setting that is easy to understand and follow, which makes a science fiction novel work better for me. It makes the scene and the setting much more accessible, and as a reader, I can picture scenes playing out.

Impostor was unique to the science fiction genre though, in my opinion, in that there wasn't a hidden message that I could find in the story. It wasn't so much a political subplot or a masked agenda, which made the story more enjoyable for me. Rather than feeling like I was being preached to, as many dystopian and science fiction novels seem, Impostor's setup made it possible for me to enjoy the story and the characters for what they were at face-value, rather than asking me to delve into deep-rooted subplots that actually pertained to real life. Rather, it gave me action, adventure, drama and intrigue - all without asking me to sign up for a subliminal message.

Tessa was an incredible character, too, which is often a rarity in science fiction. Often we have to settle for either characters or plot, but Impostor managed to give readers both, and in Tessa, we find the girl next door kicked up a notch. I worried that her ability to become another person might leave her character feeling muddled, but Tessa was tangible from start to finish, even as she became Madison. Madison's characteristics became ingrained in her, too, but I never lost sight of Tessa or her power. And, yet, she felt entirely real to me despite it all, as well. Take away her powers and you just have a wonderful, rich teenage character.

The only slight qualm I had with Impostor was with Alex, the love interest. Tessa was a strong character, yet I felt like Alex's character almost tried to overshadow her with diminutive comments and an oft-times patronizing demeanor. He was meant to protect her, and I understood that, but when it was reiterated by him time and again, I could help but feel as though he was trying a bit too hard to be this alpha male who, in all honestly, paled in comparison to the power and persona that Tessa embodied.

Overall though, Impostor was a really, really good read, and it was such a welcome breath of fresh air after a string of so-so novels. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing where the series goes and progresses, and I'll definitely continue on. I give it a 4.5 out of 5, and I highly recommend it to all fans of YA, especially those who enjoy science fiction and X-Men-type stories.

I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.


  1. It's a shame the love interest could be so demeaning, but as a whole this book sounds incredible. I love sci-fi, especially with a strong heroine, so I'll definitely be checking this one out. Fantastic review, Melissa! :D

    1. Thanks, doll! I really liked this despite the singular flaw in Alex, and that could just be me ;)

  2. YAY!!!! So glad you loved this one too Melissa!! I agree on Tessa, I was on board with her from the first page and I just loved her from start to finish. Alex has me curious, there's clearly a lot happening there and with the other girl (her name escapes me at the moment) that we don't know about, so I'm excited to see where things go in the next book. Lovely review as always!

  3. Great review! I liked this book too, but indeed, Alex was so condescending and mean. The whole impostor concept was pretty interesting. I just read Pawn which reminded me a bit of this book (great book too:P)

  4. This was definitely intriguing. I worried a bit about Tessa getting too immersed in the people she was supposed to be but this was great! Loved Tessa as a character and interested to see what happens next with her and this world.

  5. I love SciFi and this sounds like a great premise...glad to hear that it was the full package..both a great plot and characters. I'm going to have to check it out!

  6. Whoa! I haven't heard much about this book, but it does sound really great. I like that you pointed out that it felt like a story to be engrossed in and not a story that tries to have a message, whether that was the intention or not.

  7. Wow, I haven't heard any reviews on this book yet and was hoping that it would be a good one - I'm glad it is! Thanks for your review Mel, you've really intrigued me to this book, now I'll be more eager to pick it up.

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence


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