Title: The Blister Effect
Author: Lynn Townsend
Length: 11,000 words (36 pdf pages)
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: m/m steampunk paranormal
The gwr. Shape-shifters. They are Beasts of legend. Inflamed by the moon and contained by silver. Known and shunned by good society for their blood-thirsty longings and uncontrollable emotions. Loving one is easy. Living with one is a different matter.
Poindexter Fitzhughes, renowned hero and scientist, learns just how much trouble a full-blooded gwr can be when he attempts to cure his lover, Lord Seth Maitland, of the disease. But when their backs are against the wall, the two learn to trust in each other, and more importantly, in their true natures, to prevail.
I am quite prone to read books without reading the blurb as I’ve said before, but in this case I suggest you definitely read the blurb first, because much of the backstory is located there. Including who, or what, the gwr are and who Dex is. And word of advice to publishers: Please, please, please indicate when a story is a follow-up to another, even if it’s in an anthology (Shifting Steam). Very annoying.
Set in the steampunk world, you are tossed right in with Dex trying to convince his lover to enter a silver cage before he turns to protect himself and others. However he waited too late and the tables are turned, with Dex in the cage and Seth trashing his lab where Dex has been trying to find a cure. Following an evening out, they are captured by what appear to be a band of other gwr. They threaten Dex and rip his mechanical eye out. (That’s why you should never have mechanical body implants – wince.)
Seth’s maker wants him back, in part for breeding, and they are angry with Dex for trying to “cure” Seth. A large alpha male battle ensues with Dex managing to help his lover win. I enjoyed some elements of the story, there’s a lot of steampunk gadgets and descriptions that fans of the genre will enjoy combined with that Victorian feel. The language is perhaps a bit flowerier then we are used to reading contemporaries, but I think it added quite nicely to the feel of the piece. However if reading this story as a stand-alone, you are going to have a lot of questions that are likely explained in the first story, as I did.
All my confusion concerning how Seth was turned, why his maker was so angry at Dex, and how Dex had come by his prosthetic eye and scars is more than likely in the first story. As a stand-alone, you are left to infer a few things and others are left dangling with little explanation.
So while I enjoyed the concept well enough, and the author included a lot of steampunk details, not having read the first story, I was unable to enjoy it as much as fans of the first story will. Fans of steampunk will enjoy the author’s style and descriptive prose, but again, please read the other one first, as this was difficult for me to rate, given that I was feeling a bit lost for portions of the story because it was not made clear it was a sequel and I have received the book on the assumption it was a stand-alone, which it clearly is not.