Posted in: willaful reviews
Tags:Ann Somerville, m/m, romance, science fiction
Police Constable Nick Guthrie is a vampire — or as he prefers, a “vee” — in a world in which that doesn’t mean a whole lot. No superhuman strength or supernatural powers– just embarrassing fangs that most vees have capped, the need for a liquid diet, and immunity from disease. For him, it’s just one more reason to throw himself into work and give up on having a social life. Even the delightful and persistent biologist Dr. Anton Marber finds it hard to tempt him into anything more than one nighters.
But of course the outside world reacts unpredictably to real life vampires in their midst, even though their condition is a medical one, induced in hospitals to save people who would otherwise die. Some bizarrely worship them, some fear them. And when the vampires happen to be gay, as Nick is, that fear and hatred can be exponential.
This compact novella combines mystery, science fiction and romance in one tightly written package. I liked how the world building came organically, without info dumping; the mystery is not as developed as it might be in a longer story, but strongly intersects with the other themes of the book.
Of course for me the romance was the most important aspect, and I loved seeing the formation of Nick and Anton’s relationship, from comfortable banter to tenderness. This was my favorite scene, after a harrowing experience for Nick:
‘No. It was him. All him.’
‘I’m not apologising. I’m sorry you’re hurting.’ He kissed my forehead. ‘What can I do? Or not do?’
‘Hold me. And don’t be evil.’
I felt like I’d lived that scene with my own love, with those very words, when the ugliness of the world was too much for me to bear.
I give Unnatural Selection four stars, and am very much looking forward to the next books in the series, which also feature Nick and Anton. You can buy it in ebook format only, from Amazon here, from Barnes and Noble here or at Smashwords. The ebook had some font-changing issues, of the kind you tend to see from Smashwords, but is otherwise free from obvious errors.
Review copy won from an author giveaway. I know the author of this book on Twitter.