Static. LA Witt
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
So – I saw this one, fascinating concept I thought, and added to the fact the author is one of my favourites and I had to request it. Shifters – we think of them in terms of human/animal usually, but this time it’s gender shifters, people born with the ability to be either sex at will. Or at least will it as their natures’ desire. Its not a choice issue but a biological one, but as with anything different from the norm others regard it with varying degrees of tolerance. That pretty much sums up modern day humanity doesn’t it – there’s those who take a live and let live approach ( I try to be that), and others who are rigidly convinced everyone must fit some arbitrary idea of Normal. Those extremists are not only fervent and vocal about their ideas, but will stop at nothing to make them fit everyone. No sacrifice is too great – especially when its the other person doing the sacrificing! There’s no such thing as personal choice, only this idea that conformity to their idea is required. So this idea of gender shifting isn’t as off the wall as it seems, and certainly the reactions L.A. writes about are sadly too realistic 😦 Being disabled I’ve experience of how anything other than “norm” gets seen by some sections of the population. “Are you sure you’re OK to be here? I don’t know the policy on allowing wheelchairs in. Please don’t let my granddaughter see you, it might upset her.”….Yep – all those comments are genuine, and have been said to me 😦
Anyway, Alex, home for a visit to her bigoted, anti shifter, church going parents. She is drugged and given an unlicensed implant to force him to stay as male, the son they want. Back home he’s feeling very ill from after effects, and confused. Not only from the drugs, but how on earth is he going to explain this to his boyfriend who’s expecting the female Alex as he’s never been told Alex is a shifter. The reactions they both go through are really well written, made me very tearful in parts. Alex wants Damon to stay but fears he won’t, and doesn’t think it fair to pressure him, and Damon wants to stay and be the “good” guy he feels he should be, but doesn’t think he can face life with a male partner. Incredibly L.A. introduces other characters and events that slowly make Damon look at things again, and show us how to be more open minded ourselves.
As the side effects of the implant are revealed. it becomes clear that removing it is both costly and dangerous. and may not give Alex back his female side. They are both forced into looking at what’s realistic, what can be done v what they’d like to happen, if the risks are worth the benefits, what they need from a relationship and what they are prepared to give up. The reactions of others too, Alex’ sexist boss, his colleagues who treat him like a side show, and then the open and much needed support from colleagues and customers at his bar job, show just how a situation like this gets viewed by different people. I could imagine everything happening in real life, its so well written.
The whole gender shifter trope was new to me, I can’t ever recall seeing books about it before but when one considers how close some males are in a chromosome level to female and vice versa, and its not so far a shift in imagination as the human/animal shifters are that we accept as commonplace in fiction. Its something I found really interesting, the reactions of not only Alex and Damon but others, and comparing them to how I thought people would react in real life. I think L.A. got that response spot on. The way the romance slowly changed too was perfect, where Damon thought about what was really important and what was worth losing or not.
Stars: a fabulous read, well deserved five stars.
ARC supplied by Netgalley