Book review: Touch, by Claire North

This was the book that I should have read before The Sudden Appearance of Hope, but by some wrong calculation, I end up reading this after the said book. On hindsight, it was actually a favourable mistake; whilst I do enjoy The Sudden Appearance of Hope, I have to say that it still doesn’t hold a candle against The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, while this one right here do come quite close on par. No, seriously, this book is so good! Everything about it is amazing! I have no complaint whatsoever.

Book cover from Goodreads

Okay, I lied! I do have one small tiny wee bit of complaint, the cover. Honestly! Surely they can come up with a better and much more eye-catching cover than this one, right? I mean, actually they do, I just have the misfortune of having this copy right here. Honestly, if it were not for the bold print name of Claire North, I would have passed on this book on any given day. Okay, I like grey, like a lot, but a dominant grey for a book cover really is not attention-grabbing enough. Not to mention the half-faced of a bearded man? Yeah, it really is not jam. But, thank God I did noticed the name Claire North in the cover, and thank God that I wasn’t repulsed enough by the cover that I would have not bought it. Seriously, I need to get a better copy of this book.

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. Goodreads.

Oh my, where do I start? Where do I even begin? Clearly I should not be given this much liberty in telling other people about this book. I mean, surely there ought to be other people more apt in voicing their opinion about this book, than having me butchered my way around trying to sound comprehensive whilst I praised the wonder that is this book. Alas, this is my blog, and so just let me butchered my way around. Here goes nothing.

Whilst I am not a big fan of action movies (because I am old and I don’t take being surprised lightly, the same reason goes for why I don’t like horror movies), I have to admit I enjoy an action-packed book, and obviously this was most definitely an action-packed book if ever I read one. I think NPR Books did a good job in summarising this book as fast-paced and thrilling because those are definitely the emotions that I am feeling as I flip the pages. And, obviously it wouldn’t be a Claire North book if it is not adventurous, all the way from Turkey, Germany, Slovakia, and the US, I was travelling and running together with Kepler.

The story is just unique, much like the other two novels from Claire North that I’ve read, but it’s not just unique, it is also thought-provoking. Where The Sudden Appearance of Hope pose the question about perfection, Touch pose questions on feeling content of your life, and the what ifs of other people’s lives. I’m quite sure that there are lots of other questions that might arise after you’re done with the book, but the very idea of being content of your life and the what ifs stuck with me the most.

This was not just a science fiction that are both thrilling and fast-paced, but this is also a book you can choose for your next book club and spend countless of hours discussing about the many probabilities of life offered to you if you were like Kepler, Janus, Galileo, Aurangzeb, and Kuanyin; or if you’re just regular Nathan, Will, or Johannes.

Oh gosh, I suck at this book review thing.

Here’s what I’m going to tell you, the moment I caught the flow of the story and the characters, I really can’t put this book down. This book gave me back my reading mojo, I was out of my reading slump because of this book. This book reminded me a lot of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, there was something about this book that drew you in, into the characters, into the storyline, into the world of Kepler, you name it. This book made you invest your own emotion for all the characters. It was so hard saying goodbye to all the characters as I finished the book, but it was harder not to keep on reading.

I think this book and its story deserves a round of applause. It was just that good and amazing.

Oh. Dear. God. How do I do this? How do I explain the characters? This is an impossible task for me. For someone as incoherent as me.

Let’s start with Kepler which is obviously my favourite character. I think Kepler is that confusing character with questionable motives but along the way you sort of fell for them and root for them and your heart ache when they’re in pain. Kepler is amazing because Kepler is just like you and me, minus the unique ability factor, selfish but caring, tactless but sensitive, well you get what I mean. I honestly a huge supporter of Kepler throughout the book.

Next off on my list is Nathan Coyle, who I instantly hate the moment he emerge in the story. He’s a typical foot soldier, follow orders all the time, never think for himself; honestly he’s your textbook annoying character. But, wait, it gets better. After losing him somewhere along the story, he shows up and revamped himself and yes he broke my heart into tiny pieces by the end of the book.

Hmm, who’s next? Ah maybe Janus? Janus is a character that when your first met in the book, you knew that it would be important, but then it never showed up again. Janus came of as a vain character but I ended up loving Janus, because Janus was brave, the same sentiment goes for Johannes and Will.

Now, as for Galileo, I’m a bit torn. You were lead to hate the character but as the story end you sort of understood Galileo and you feel pity for the character but you’re still angry but you’re also glad. I still suck at this book review.

Point is, in all three books from Claire North that I’ve read, I have no complaint for her characters, it was amazingly written, and you feel a certain connection for them. Amazing. I am out of words.


Also, why do I keep thinking that Rami Malek would make a good Nathan Coyle if there ever was a movie adaptation of this book. I mean, physically he doesn’t look like a perfect fit for Nathan Coyle, but Nathan’s personality and his character’s development would have been portrayed perfectly through Rami Malek. Just a thought. Just. A. Random. Thought.

Title: Touch

Author: Claire North

Genre: Fantasy, Science fiction, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery


Goodreads link


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