In Peters’ first installment of a planned fantasy series, a newly turned shape-shifter strives to maintain his humanity while satisfying the demands of his creator and lover.
Growing up in small-town Pennsylvania, Jackson, aka Jacks, often felt lonely. Coming out as gay to his parents only made matters worse, and while he finds friends in college, his sense of loneliness never quite fades. During spring break of his senior year, he meets a man who fills the void—but at a heavy price. Benoit is handsome, mysterious and secretive. The attraction is instant, and the two begin an intense affair steamy enough to satisfy romance-genre die-hards. When the possessive Benoit reveals that he’s a werecat and claims Jacks as his own by turning him, Jacks’ fate is sealed. The novella follows Jacks as he accepts and navigates his new life. In this slim, fast-paced tale, Peters builds interest by seamlessly moving the narrative from past to present. The flashbacks fill in the missing pieces while putting readers right in the middle of Jacks’ current struggles. It’s fantasy fiction certainly, but the emotion-driven narrative is achingly human. Adrift, Jacks finds a home in Benoit, but instead of feeling complete, he struggles with Benoit’s urge to dominate him. Jacks’ struggle with identity and independence make him a sympathetic, nuanced character. Although engaging and balanced, the storyline could use more development. The climax arrives quickly, and though it’s the first in a series, more time spent on developing other characters and extending the plot would improve this installment. Nevertheless, readers will be left wanting more.
An innovative take on the shape-shifter genre; this first offering in a gay fantasy series should garner a large following.