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Feral Dust Bunnies

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Feral Dust Bunnies (2017) Angel Martinez

I’m glad I purchased this book with the previous, because otherwise I might have ended the series there and that would have been a shame, because this story was great.

Alex Wolf is an officer in Precinct #77. Like the others, he’s strange. Weird. When he was little, he was cursed and changed from a wolf into a human. He eventually learned to talk, was adopted by two scientists who raised him and loved him as if he was their own, and (mostly) fits into human society. But he’s definitely odd, and often has problems.

He hated handshakes. They were just weird. But he’d long ago been dissuaded from sniffing other humans or nudging them with his nose.

She quite obviously put a lot of work into creating a character who has to work to fit into human society, and it’s adorable and marvelous.

(O)nce he got to the grocer’s, the sheer number of bins of apples confused him and he forgot which ones Mom had said. Mrs. Hui had to rescue him from apple purgatory, though he did remember the milk on his own. Twenty-five years as a human and sometimes simple human things still weren’t that simple for him.

I also like that his mother–although a scientist–obviously loves and accepts him as he is.

“Are you all right, sweetheart?” Mom stopped on her way past his room with a new book in hand.

“I can’t remember how to human,” Wolf said with a frustrated snarl.

“Oh? You’re still using your words. That’s good. What part of humaning is causing the problem?”

I also really liked Wolf’s partner, Krisk, who is a giant, intelligent, lizard. Since lizards lack vocal cords, Krisk communicates through gestures and texting.

And like Wolf, he is clearly not human, although he does try.

Dinner.

“Yeah, I’m almost done here.” Wolf stared at the message again, then realized he wasn’t sure what Krisk meant. He texted back—

You mean your place? Mom’s expecting me home.

Adopted matriarch is welcome. The dinner hour thrice following this one.

Got it. You know she doesn’t eat mealworms, right?

One is aware.

Okay.

Again, she did a very good job showing that Krisk wasn’t human. Like Wolf, his thought processes and ways of expression were not bog standard human, which makes both of them fascinating.

And I haven’t even talked about the story yet. The 77th is called in whenever someone thinks a problem is being caused by a supernatural agent or entity. So they get a lot of calls that are immediately referred to animal control.

Two such calls seem on the surface to be lost or feral dogs, but desiccated animal remains quickly point otherwise.

Which is how Wolf ends up with a kitten.

Probably the most adorable kitten in all of kitten-hood.

Kitten was crying, of course, and latched on to Mom’s jeans where she’d managed to claw halfway up one calf while Mom tried to finish dinner. The moment she heard Wolf’s voice, though, she let go and flumped in a kitten pile on the kitchen floor before she scrambled to her feet and baby-wobbled to him, still crying as if someone were pulling her tail off.

And Wolf quickly adopts her as part of his pack. Which means that he is suddenly seeing a lot more of Jason Shen, the Animal Control officer.

Although they aren’t especially offensive, I don’t like the covers of this series, and this one is particularly egregious, because it is definitely not Alex, who is described as very hirsute (unsurprisingly) nor is it Jason, who is Asian and described as having a little pot belly.

This is actually not a throw-away detail, since Alex has some food issues. Not an eating disorder, but because he spent time hungry as a wolf cub, he has issues. All of which comes back around to how awesome his mother is. She is delightful.

I hv her. Srry.

You took her to WORK?

“Damn it.”

I have all her stuff. It’s OK, Mom. She has peeps watching her.

Mom typed for a long time, then finally sent—

They better not be peeps. Marshmallow chicks should not watch kittens.

For the second time in fifteen minutes, Wolf sagged in relief. If Mom was making bad jokes, she wasn’t so mad anymore.

It’s that “Mom typed for a long time” bit that I really like there. Obviously she’s spent learning to be patient with Alex, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get mad and upset. I imagine her typing–taking a deep breath and deleting–then starting over. She’s not magically patient, which I really like. (Especially since Alex doesn’t easily pick up the human cues of exasperation and frustration, things from his POV tend to ignore them.)

And I still haven’t talked about Jason being complex and interesting. Which he is.

The point being, I really really enjoyed this story. The world building is fun and the characters were extremely well done, feeling alien while still being comprehensible.

Yay!

Publisher: Pride Publishing
Rating: 8.5/10

Categories: 8/10, Fantasy, LGBT, Mystery, Police, Romance, Sexual Content, Supernatural     Comments (0)    



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