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Duke: Alpha Rising Paperback – September 3, 2011
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Centred on creatures that shift into house pets or into the random wildlife forms it can and will not, at first, evoke the same sense of potential danger and wild sensuality that is what makes the best werewolf novels with their big, brawny and dangerously sexy characters so compelling.
Once accepted the unusual supernatural lore and a writing that is far from flawless because of typos, mistakes and a shaky syntax which makes whole paragraphs barely understandable, this work ends by being extremely enjoyable.
The supernatural element, relevant though it is, is just a frame for a complex net of human relationships that evolve in the most heart-warming way.
Duke is a great character: young, maybe naive but full of warmth, courage and good intentions, he manages to assemble an odd pack of bizarre individuals bound together by love. Mike, his companion, is well rounded as well and the same is valid for most of the other characters.
All the love that these individuals experience together is sorely needed as the shifter world in general is not a particularly nice one.
Plot is confused, patchy, with conflicts that are quickly introduced and easily solved, but it does not drag and it does not stand in the way of an enjoyment that begins with page one and goes on to the end.
This book, the first in a series of three, stands more or less on its own but ends with a moderate cliffhanger that prods the reader to read the second part.
There is a lot of graphic sex and some involves humans with partially shifted supernaturals. The shifters being as intelligent and aware as humans I find there is little to complain about this, but I suppose a warning might be in order for sensitive readers that might not like near-bestiality.
In this novel Duke who from meeting him you would think to be a decent young man can shift into a canine. And it's not just him - there is a whole society of people with this ability too. Of course if found out then there would be those who want to kill them, expoilt them, or just bar them from humanity because of what they are.
So this novel and the other two in the series follow the lives of these people and how they deal with every day to day existiance.. as well as having fun at being who they really are.
And what happens when one of them falls in love with a non-changer - how to then then introduce THAT aspect to their lover without causing the fur to fly (Literaly)
Enjoy.. I certainly did
Duke's affair with Rouke. Other than that a well written book I'd recommend this for anyone who is interested in the furry community or just a cute homosexual story