Author: G.L. Carriger
Publisher: Gail Carriger LLC
Rating: 4 stars
Buy Links: Amazon
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?
NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly.
Max fails everything – magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.
Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.
This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The San Andreas Shifter stories contain blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (mouth/tongue/etc.).
Review: Max is a Placer for DURPS. It’s an absolutely necessary yet detested job. He also processes paperwork. Bryan’s pack wants to move to the San Francisco area and needs DURPS approval. He did not expect to like the guy processing their paperwork at DURPS. Especially since he’s not really out. To anyone. But, Max and Bryan go on a date. A very good date. Then Bryan learns the hard way that dissipating all that magic leaves its mark on a Placer’s body. The good news is after that neither Max nor Bryan really have any secrets from anyone. Max and Bryan soon find themselves happily ensconced in a relationship, then a skeevy guy tries to break into Max’s dad’s enchanted house. There are no good memories in that house for Max. His dad wasn’t the warm and fuzzy type. Max’s father was perpetually disappointed by his only son. When Max realizes things are not always as they seem he has to accept whether or not he wants to be his father’s creation.
This book is straight up cute. If I had to sum it up in one sentence I’d call it a partially internal hero’s journey. Max’s big triumph is over his own personal drama. I guess that means I view this as Max’s story, more than Max and Bryan’s story. I’m good with that. Some people have less to go through to get themselves where they need to be. As a Beta wolf Bryan very much is a guy there to support someone else. He supports his Alpha. He supports the man he loves, Max. It’s what he does and who he is. The drama comes from everyone else.
Max had it pretty easy when he was an absolute disappointment to his father. When you can happily be the opposite of what someone wants you to be you don’t have to make any real decisions for yourself. Max finds out that isn’t the case. He’s a (spoiler redacted.) He was bred for this. Suddenly, as an adult, Max actually has to think about what he wants to do with his life. It’s easy to hide when you’re not exceptional. It’s easy to not think about anything when your only options are being not exceptional or not exceptional. I frequently roll my eyes at whatever drama pulls couples apart in a book. I think because a lot of times it feels forced. This was good. Max’s life changed drastically. He had some thinking to do. Yeah, I was pissed and mad at him for hurting Bryan, but that was the point.
So, Bryan. He’s not human. As a Beta he’s supposed to support and help his pack mates. I can’t shake this feels co-dependent. I’m wrestling with applying real world, human mental health standards to a werewolf in a paranormal fictional universe. Even I can see this is a me problem. Especially since he’s not disregarding himself in the process of taking care of others, nor is he excusing or ignoring any problems they may have. Mostly it’s Max who has problems. Bryan is just there while Max deals. Like I said, me problem.
This book is fairly long. I read it in as close to one session as is humanly possible. I only took parenting and sleeping breaks. And I did my best to keep the sleeping short. This book is fun and funny, sweet, romantic, and an excellent start to a new series. I am happily anticipating the next.