Title: The Shift
Author: Kate Sherwood
Cover Artist: Kanaxa
Publisher: Self Published
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Gay alternate words (per publisher)/ fantasy/scifi (per myself)
Length: 93 pages
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: I enjoyed this action flick mixed with the beginning of great love story and scary monsters very much.
Two men, too many monsters.
Raised off the grid, Cash has trained all his life to protect humanity from The Shift—a mysterious force that creates monsters capable of unspeakable destruction. For Cash and his warrior family, risks are just part of the job and death is an ever-present possibility.
When his daredevil tendencies defeat a monster but leave him over his head in a puddle of green goo, Cash figures his number is up…until he’s plucked to safety by a devastatingly handsome stranger.
Toby needs no weapons to fight The Shift, that’s why he’s perfected the art of laying low. Sudden moves draw unwanted attention, but he can’t stand by and watch Cash drown. Big mistake—it isn’t long before Cash is returning the favor, rescuing him from kidnappers intent on harnessing his genetic enhancements.
On the run with danger nipping at their heels, romantic sparks fly between them. But there’s no trust without truth, and things get complicated when Toby reveals everything Cash has fought against is a lie. The time has come to decide who’s the real monster—and whose side he’s on.
Product Warnings: Super-romance, Super-sex, Super-heroism. Super-hot. Moments of Super-cute.
Based on what I have read of her past works, something which I now think of in my head as “Superman meets GhostBusters” is the last type of story I would have expected to read by Kate Sherwood, but I think it is awesome when an author tries new plots and new characters instead of repeating the same thing in every book. I was also very intrigued by the blurb, so here I am.
I really enjoyed myself reading this action flick-type tale about everyday Heroes and sometimes Superheroes fighting a special brand of monsters, and I was glued to the pages during the action scenes. I also really liked how the author did not make many changes to “our” world, but by introducing The Shift into it, made her future world to be quite distinct without adding a lot of new details to it. I thought that for the length of the story (not very long), it worked perfectly.
I liked Cash, his siblings and his father Jack, and I thought the writer managed to portray them as heroic without making them caricatures of comic heroes, but still managed to invoke some familiar associations with the comics. I also liked how she changed some tropes just a little bit, giving the story if not a unique, then definitely a quite distinct flavor.
Now, I think that for the short length of the story, the writer paced the romance very well — or I should say the beginning of romance, which worked perfectly for me. In several of my latest reviews I complained about a too-fast connection between the characters, and I also mentioned that despite disliking this trope in general, I may sometimes enjoy it if written believably and I think that this is one of those rare circumstances. Yes, the guys feel attraction towards each other pretty much right away, but I thought that under the circumstances of they met they are bound to have at least friendly feelings towards each other. Plus, even though they feel attraction, we do not hear a declaration of everlasting love and desire to be with each other forever and ever within minutes after they met. I think Insta!Lust is quite believable, and here when I say Insta!Lust, I do not mean that they proceeded to have sex within minutes of meeting each other, just that they felt attraction (although they do act upon it soon enough).
I would not call the story the full blown romance, though. I think we witness the beginning of a relationship in between all the action adventure and as I said, I thought it was perfectly paced. I was quite impressed that in such shortish novella the author managed to show some character growth for both Cash and Toby, especially for Cash. I thought they had a great chemistry and I really liked that while we can see and feel their happy ending, they are not showing signs that this is the end of their journey when the story ends. I was just pleased that they did not move super fast because it would have annoyed me. They are happy together, but to me it felt that their relationship has plenty of room to grow and develop.
Available from Samhain on May 22.