Guest Reviewed by Ami
Author: Susanna Hays
Heroes: Yori Tanaka/Bryce Green
Genre: MM Paranormal
Length: 156 Pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Available at: Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Yori Tanaka lives with crippling anxiety, knowing he carries the “Beast Syndrome” gene yet still unsure what activates it. Thankfully, his boyfriend, Bryce Green, is down to earth and has been more than patient and supportive for the last five years.
But their lives are about to change. When Lance Haney, an old friend, rolls into town, Yori is excited to see him at first—until Yori learns Lance’s motives. Full of malice and bad intentions, Lance plans to activate Yori’s “Beast Syndrome” gene, and Yori’s greatest fear is about to become a reality.
Review: ** SPOILERS ALERT **
The bad guy’s name is in the blurb, but I figure I’d better put SPOILERS ALERT as well, just in case.
At first, I was interested with the blurb – the idea of beast syndrome, as well as a promise of thriller aspect (as written by the author herself), intrigued me the most. I always enjoy urban fantasy series (mainly non M/M) and anything with thriller/suspense or murder mystery increases my interest.
But this? This doesn’t meet my standard of a good urban fantasy/mystery. At one point when I was reading this, I actually muttered, “this is not good” *shakes head*.
My main issue with this story is the lack of focus. The story has several plot lines and the flow is choppy. Let’s see, it opens with Yori during his first week of college, feeling the anxiety of majoring engineering, when he stumbled into Bryce when he ran out of class. Suddenly, it was five years later, they have been together all the time, apparently Yori graduated from graphic design (huh?) and is working at thrift store while Bryce is pushing for marriage (what?). Yori is worried about his Beast Syndrome because of his Dad (okay, that talk was so sudden), and someone is killing Asian-looking boys (which prompts Yori’s fear).
Not long after that, we have Lance, who comes out of nowhere (he never is mentioned before), saying that he wants to kill Yori to activate the Beast gene, and along the way there is this other character who befriends Yori and seems to copy his look and everything (I have no idea what the significance of his character, at all!).
I mean, what is this? What does it want to say actually?
The only way I managed to make it to the end was by way of skimming. I never think of myself as a critique; I know that it’s hard to write something, and I’m not going to pretend like I know what’s best to write. I do have notes in which why this story doesn’t work for me (aside from the confusing summary I wrote above)
– The ‘jump’ from prologue to present time, in which suddenly Yori and Bryce are already together for five years robbed the experience of reading about them coming together. Especially since I sensed that Yori and Bryce have opposite characteristics. If this story is not meant as a romance about them, why start the prologue with that? Why not instead introduce readers to the idea of Beast Syndrome and what happens in the world because of it?
– On that note, the whole Beast Syndrome part is weak and blurry. I would like more world-building, as well as a good introduction into the idea, rather than just referring to it here and there.
– Then the murders … seriously, I didn’t find it suspenseful or thrilling. I would like to read more about the investigations, more tension, rather than reading how Bryce wanted to get married and told Yori to quit his job so Bryce could take care of him. Really, Bryce? What is this, the 1950’s? The murders feel like a scattered afterthought at best.
– Introducing the villain’s identity within 40% (yes, he was in the blurb) by way of him approaching Yori and saying “I want to kill you”… *head desk* … really, don’t do that. As a mystery lover, that just takes the carpet out from under my feet. I also found him to be appearing out of nowhere with absurd motives.
– Apart from this, there is a sudden switch of perspectives (twice) from Yori (as main narrator) to other people, along with flashbacks between Yori and Lance – which disrupted the flow of the story.
I dislike writing unfavorable reviews for new authors; it is not a fun task to do. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t feeling this. Of course, other readers might enjoy it more than I. Your mileage may vary and everything.
Overall Impression: I wasn’t feeling it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*