Tuesday, February 27, 2018

G. L. Carriger - The Sumage Solution

Max fails at magic, relationships, and life. So he works 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 irresistible about the sexy muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.
Bryan 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.
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.
The San Andreas Shifter books stand alone and do not have to be read in any particular order.
Delicate Sensibilities?
This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The San Andreas Shifter stories include blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart/mouth/tongue…

Comment: I got very curious about this title when I realized it was by Gail Carriger, even if she chose a different pseudonym. I was used to her historical "voice" but got very interested in seeing how she would approach a contemporary sort of tale. I'm very glad I went for it.

In this story we meet a new pack of werewolves, in a world where there are all kinds of species and beings among the humans. The new pack decided to move to California because it's a place close to the water - and the alpha's mate is a merman - but also because it's distant enough from the prejudice of their past. However, to establish itself, the new pack must be registered officially and for that, the Beta Bryan goes to the office where those situations are dealt with and he meets a sumage, a mage who doesn't have much magic of his own. 
Max is a man used to loss and feeling down and he especially doesn't care about welcoming a bunch of wolves but he starts to change his mind when he meets Bryan and something about him makes perfect sense...

I'm really amazed by the way the author created this paranormal world. I particularly appreciate how she developed her werewolves into a group of people who care for one another and aren't only moved by rules or the mating instinct. Often, in shifter para normals, the attention isn't properly given to the pack rules, the pack dynamics and focuses on the elements and their need to find a mate. Although this is a fact here as well, I loved how each detail was seen to, how each decision made sense not only for each individual but also for the sake of the pack.

The story didn't start that amazing and I couldn't help but compare it to the author's other work, where her sarcastic voice is so obvious. It seemed this would be more alike the comedies she writes historically and somehow I felt that wouldn't be the way to go but thankfully, the characters started to become more and more alive and fleshed out and things developed steadily and so compellingly!
I think I was dazzled by the way the story developed in such a captivating manner.

All the paranormal details were good for me. I liked the notion of the world, I liked how many types of creatures/beings were mentioned, I liked how complex society felt like but not to a point I wouldn't enjoy reading. I think the author showed a great capacity to be organized and present a world very different from the usual but still showcasing her writing talent.

The romance is obviously one of the best details all around. I liked Bryan and Max as a couple, I liked how balanced their relationship was (at all levels) and how they got to know each other and trust each other slowly. Even the intimacy between them didn't feel rushed or a drive, it was simply an extension of their feelings. There were some situations where they acted rather silly but it just felt like a natural step in the process of falling in love, so....
Individually I liked them both, Max especially because he had a personality I could empathize with so I wanted him to succeed in embracing happiness and Bryan because he is a sweetheart who one can't help but wish all the best for.

All in all, I loved this book. The start wasn't as brilliant and there was one or two little details I'd change but for the most part I was amazed, in love with the characters and everyone's interactions and I'll definitely read more on this world, probably even the prequel to this story. Bring them on, mrs Carriger!
Grade: 9/10

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