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Touch (2015)

by Claire North

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4464239,212 (3.68)54
He tried to take my life. Instead I took his. It was a long time ago. I remember it was dark, and I didn't see my killer until it was too late. As I died, my hand touched his. That's when the first switch took place. Suddenly, I was looking through the eyes of my killer, and I was watching myself die. Now switching is easy. I can jump from body to body, have any life, be anyone. Some people touch lives. Others take them. I do both.… (more)
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» See also 54 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
I'm a huge fan or North's -- ambitious, challenging stories that no one else will attempt, interesting, complex characters, beautiful writing... but with all of the shape shifting here, I lost track and ultimately became disconnected with the emotional core of the book. I couldn't follow who was who, especially the emotional attachments Kepler seemed to develop very late in the game. ( )
  MaximusStripus | Jul 7, 2020 |
I think I've found my next go-to artist for must have reading material.

"Do you like what you see?"

This is like an ultramodern retelling of a vain girl's obsession with appearance versus what belongs solidly beneath the veneer. Of course, how else could you see life when you're without a real body, except those that you steal on contact and flit from norm to norm?

Kepler was truly devoted to doing right by her hosts and loved them in her best way, but she (or he) was always superficial. Janus, on the other hand, eventually moved away from his (or her) obsession with outward beauty to dive right into what really matters deep within, but still failed to get it right.

Galileo, on the other hand, never desired or understood the journey, and made a pure mockery of the outward form, eventually becoming northing more than a child that throws away people (in murder) as a spoiled child would mutilate her dolls, with as much care.

The characters are deep and change throughout the novel, and I love them all, but especially our heaviest soul, Kepler. I simultaneously enjoyed the repetition of the need for revenge and got very tired of it. The feel of the novel needed the reminder every once in a while, certainly, because it might have been lost in the everyday progression of survival in the middle of running, but even if I believe it could have been handled better, I damn well don't have a better suggestion beyond what was already done. I still liked every aspect of this tale.

Cole really grew on me, as did the Aquarius group, even if the group was never particularly likeable. The snippets of past and history made me believe, from my deepest heart of hearts, that our dear author is a great student of history.

I fell into the flashbacks as if I were in the ocean, made to ride the waves of time like the gentlest susurrations of water and motion. I really enjoyed the way I was pushed back and forth, and that's high praise because I never really enjoy flashbacks at all.

This novel is a success. If you come into it wanting to have a F/SF tale of love as can only be told by separate embodiments of a mind/body dichotomy, then you're going to get a real treat.

There are no real similarities in plot and historical exploration in regard to The Fifteen Lives of Harry August, but a bit deeper below the surface, it's easy to tell that she's in the same zone. Relationships with others are super important, even when the sense of alienation is paramount. These are damn full of non-repeating discussions of it, and I am left in awe at the damn polished prose.

So, "Do you like what you see?" Oh, yes. Absofuckinglutely.
( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
The first time that Kepler discovered that he could jump from one body to another was when he was first murdered. As he was viciously beaten by the killer, he reached out and grabbed him and was suddenly looking at his own broken body in the dark alleyway. Kepler has not died, instead, he has become a ghost with the ability to flit between people at the slightest touch. There he lives their lives, experiences their feelings, sometimes for a few moments, sometimes for a whole lifetime. He values them as hosts and ensures that his experiences from others are shared with them to leave them something after he moves on.

He is not the only one who has this ability, as he discovers by accident one day as he tries to jump to another person. His own existence is threatened as his host is assassinated and it is only by jumping fast that he is able to save himself; once again he ends up seeing through the eyes of the person who has just killed him. This time though he is seeking vengeance for the murder, and his search for the answers will force him to find out who Aquila are and to once again face his nemesis, Galileo.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was a book that turned your concept of time travel inside out and with this North has done it again with the ghosts that travel the world in their hosts. On top of that, there is a reasonably plotted thriller with fast pacing and good twists. I particularly liked the way that she used the concept of amnesia to explain how the hosts couldn’t always explain what had happened when the presence departed. It can get a little confusing as they flit between each body so very quickly and I didn’t really get why there were parts of the story that took us back in time to past experiences, it was enough to keep up with the regular characters. Dramatic ending too. Looking forward to reading more of her books. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
I had to read about a quarter of the book before I started to enjoy it, then, wow, so very different a really good read ( )
  karenshann | Dec 31, 2019 |
I really like Claire North as an author and, as the one other of her books that I've read, I found this one to be imaginative and inventive, Imagine if you had the ability to move from body to body with just a mere touch. Our protagonist...Kepler, is a being that is able to occupy the body of any person simply by touching them and jumping into their skin. As a result, Kepler...we never learn if the character is male or female... has been able to survive for many lifetimes as a variety of hosts. Unfortunately not everyone is thrilled that there are beings with this ability and Kepler finds that he is hunted constantly and jumping bodies is something that "It" must do often. As a result the body is not always that of a law abiding citizen. Kepler must continue with whatever path the now occupied body chooses to take until he jumps again. The entire idea made this a page turner and well worth the time to read. ( )
  Carol420 | Dec 18, 2019 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Claire Northprimary authorall editionscalculated
Burdess, SophieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Josephine Cebula was dying, and it should have been me.
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