from Chapter 1, “The Gate”
Every mimic she knew described it differently. Yeril said it was like falling asleep and waking up as a different person. Lew – a mimic who managed a large cabal of thieves and called himself wealthy – laughed when he changed, as it apparently sent a tickling sensation across every inch of his skin. Eyri, another occupant of Issa’s room, shuddered with the change as if she were being struck by lightning.
For Issa, she felt as if she were dissolving into water, becoming a fluid, formless thing that could flow into any shape she wanted. When she was younger, she used to think she could become something other than a human. A bird, a fish, maybe even a river of rushing water. It was almost in reach, if she could just push herself a little farther –
But those were the dreams of a fool. Mimics were human, and no transformation, however extravagant, could free them from that prison.
She grew, taller and lither, giving herself the powerful muscles and reflexes of a skilled wall-climber and the dark hair and skin tones that would further conceal her form. Her clothing rearranged itself around her shifting shape, once baggy and now close-fitted. One of the worst ironies of being a mimic, she had often reflected, was being able to look well-fed while actually on the verge of starvation.