Ok, here is the other book I was having a hard time getting through.
Kymera is like Frankenstein's Monster, patched together from parts of different animals while having a human head and mind. She awakens with only part of her human memories. She knows how to talk and basic vocabulary, but she remembers nothing about her life before she was remade. Her "father" tells her she used to be his daughter who was killed by an evil wizard. He has resurrected her in her part human, part animal form so that she will have the unusual powers she will need to rescue the other girls of their town who have been sickened and who are being taken by the Wizard, one by one, for his evil purposes. She embraces her role as savior of the girls with enthusiasm and nightly sneaks into the "wizard's dungeon" and "saves" a girl by bringing her back to her "father". You can see the problem here, right? And so can the reader, hundreds of pages before Kym figures it out. Even after Kym finds bones buried under her rose garden, body parts in freezers in her dad's laboratory, and even a whole dead girl, she is still in denial that she has, all along, been helping the very wizard she thought she was fighting.
Because of Kym's extreme naivete and the slow pace of the plot I almost stopped 1/3 of the way through, but I decided, as the fiction purchaser for the library, I better finish it to decide whether it needs to be moved into the YA section. It is very dark and very violent. It is not only the wizard who is killing and cutting up people. At times, when Kym's animal instincts take over, she rips apart battalions of soldiers with her bare claws and emerges from the battle covered with blood and panting. There is a high, bloody, body count, some of them little girls cut up in pieces. It is horrendous. And yet it has this cute little girl monster on the cover, clearly targeted at 10-12 year-olds. I still haven't decided whether to move it or not. I think I will try to (with my boss's approval). Nothing about the book warns an unsuspecting reader of what lies inside. (424p)