This is, hands down, one of the best Alternate Universe stories I have ever read.
The world is full of shifters, people who can change their bodies beThis is, hands down, one of the best Alternate Universe stories I have ever read.
The world is full of shifters, people who can change their bodies between genders at will, though they are a minority within a populations of "statics", or people whose bodies cannot change. It should be noted that in the case of the main shifter character, Alex, that his mind shifts as well--he's mentally male around half the time, female the other half--and he shifts his body to match his mind, not the other way around. This is not true of every shifter in the universe. Statics are mostly very shifterphobic and often treat them with contempt and disgust, as non-human, though it is mentioned that shifters have historically been exploited for the masses whenever it suited the world's need (in times of war, for example). In the modern world, shifters are slowly gaining rights, much as the LGBT movement is slowly gaining rights in today's world. The parallels are unmistakeable.
This story covers the life of one couple, Damon, who is static but shifter-friendly, and Alex, who is a shifter. They have been seriously dating for 2 years, but Damon didn't know Alex is a shifter and only knows her in her female form, though she was born male. The story begins in Damon's POV as he walks in on Alex in his male form for the first time.
Alex has a very strained relationship with his mother and step-father, who are both exceptionally shifterphobic. They've been trying for years to get Alex to get an implant to prevent his "unnatural" shifting so he can lead a "normal" life. At the beginning of the story, we find out on his most recent visit that they drugged and illegally forced a black market implant into him, and now he is stuck in his male form (because he never goes to see his parents in his female form, so he was male at the time they gave him the implant).
Damon and Alex run through the gamut of emotions over this, wondering how their relationship will survive since Damon has never been attracted to men. Wondering what life will be like if Alex can't get the implant out, or even if he does get it out, wondering if he'll be paralyzed or remain static anyway. Wondering if they can ever be as happy again as they once were as male and female.
Without giving away the ending, it does work out for them in the end. Watching how Damon overcomes his own mental blocks and finally comes together with Alex in his male form is the most beautiful part of this story, and his actions and reactions felt completely natural all the way through. And because you're in their heads and completely invested in their emotions, those sex scenes are, by far and large, some of the most incredible scenes that I have ever read.
And in addition to their relationship, we also get to see the world through Alex's eyes and heart. We see the shifterphobia around him when he has to go to his day job for the first time as a male (when only one of his colleagues previously knew about his shifter status). We feel his pain at making the decision to prosecute his parents for their crime, which will leave his little sister (whom he fears is completely brainwashed to hate him) in the lurch. And then there's reliving his depressed, suicidal past during the trial (though we see that part through Damon's eyes).
I cannot speak highly enough about this book. It is fabulous in all the right ways and an absolute must read. Consider me a fan, Ms. Witt. =)...more
I think I liked the first story better than the second, just for the angst in it, but this was a good follow-up to it. I don't feel like the characterI think I liked the first story better than the second, just for the angst in it, but this was a good follow-up to it. I don't feel like the characters grew as much this time around, and I don't know why, but the problem at the end seemed to come out of left field to me. I don't doubt it was there, but we were just sort of jumped into it after some time had passed. I don't remember feeling that way when reading Bareback. Still enjoyed reading this a lot....more
It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. Very PWP. I would NOT call it shounen-ai. The definition between shounen-ai and yaoi is a fine line, but generallyIt wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. Very PWP. I would NOT call it shounen-ai. The definition between shounen-ai and yaoi is a fine line, but generally sex is implied in shounen-ai at the most, if it even happens at all. Not the case in this story - it's definitely explicit. And the characters are very stereotypical seme/uke types. It's most definitely yaoi in my opinion. Still, meh....more
PWP at its best. Good thing I was mostly in the mood for that and the sex was hot. (What can I say? I really enjoy bondage, even the basic version shoPWP at its best. Good thing I was mostly in the mood for that and the sex was hot. (What can I say? I really enjoy bondage, even the basic version shown here.) The 'angst' of James not being sure he's ready for a real relationship based on his family issues felt weak at best, a token protest for the sake of having one. I didn't really consider it angst.
I also figured that Bram might have connections to get James's design looked at for that original project mentioned, but that didn't happen either. Maybe that will show up in the next book. I'll probably read it later on, but not immediately.
Also, the typos were absolutely horrendous throughout. 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3....more
Loved the story, but it felt like 'Part 1' - it didn't feel like a complete story on its own. Yeah, I know it's part of a series, but I like individuaLoved the story, but it felt like 'Part 1' - it didn't feel like a complete story on its own. Yeah, I know it's part of a series, but I like individual books to feel like individual books - to actually have closure on something before opening another chapter later. So maybe the closure was Phan, maybe not, but it didn't feel finished. It felt like a random break to the story. I'll still give it 4.5 stars, rounded down to 4 (even though it probably has the re-readability that I require before I'll give a book 5 stars). If it had felt complete, I'd have given it 5....more
I enjoyed this one as much or more than I enjoyed the last one. This one felt like it had a proper ending, and I don't feel like I have to move on toI enjoyed this one as much or more than I enjoyed the last one. This one felt like it had a proper ending, and I don't feel like I have to move on to the next story immediately, even though there are plenty of events that have been mentioned that are left to cover. This one definitely earned all 5 stars from me....more
I really enjoyed this story, even though some of what they go through isn't the nicest thing you'll ever read. It is VERY honest though, and there wasI really enjoyed this story, even though some of what they go through isn't the nicest thing you'll ever read. It is VERY honest though, and there was a lot of true pain written down. I even a few tears shed over it. But it was worth it in the end. And wow, lots of hot sex.
Not sure why I'm not giving it 5 stars. (4.5) - I'll have to see if it has the re-readability to go up to 5....more
Not sure how to explain it. I liked the idea, but the overall felt mediocre in the end. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary sex in the middle--Not sure how to explain it. I liked the idea, but the overall felt mediocre in the end. I felt like there was a lot of unnecessary sex in the middle--hot, but unnecessary. The middle felt very PWP, but it was better toward the end when there was more going on in their lives. Time passage was difficult to tell. POV switches weren't all that great in some cases. The typos really started annoying me as well because after a while they drag me out of the story. The end also felt very abrupt even though the story dragged at times (because the beginning and middle setups took a bit long), and thus I wouldn't have wanted the ending to go too much further. (Catch 22, I know.)
That said, I liked the characters. They each had their own personality and issues, and those were dealt with pretty well. They fit together, and their situations were handled well. Just not enough to overcome my other issues with the story....more