That mini-blow-up in the beginning...Yeah, I get it. The reader needed info. But come on. Think about it. It came off unrealistic and histrionic. I dunno. Maybe I'm just too hard on people. I'd think it'd be histrionic to start spouting off to a stranger, though.
I know someone named Lijia. I keep seeing that every time I see Lilja and then visualizing her. It's very weird.
The marriage thing...I don't get it. Unless there's some magical whatever associated with this magical marriage ceremony that makes magic happen and causes shifters to not go animal full time. I don't even know if this is actually a spoiler. They bring it up kind of early on. I'm not staring at the blurb right now so I have no idea if it's mentioned there or not.
Actually, the rest of it is kind of weird, too. Dude, these people talk a damn lot. It makes it seem like they're performing to the audience instead of just living their lives. Even the narration feels like the lines of a chorus.
I sat and stared at the word "toyboy" for a moment. A long moment.
Eh. The premise is good. It could have been interesting. The author didn't sell it though. Xe couldn't make it believable. It's like reading a play in which the characters are aware they're part of a play but trying to pretend they're not actors playing a part.
It made it annoying to read. I could see where the author wanted to take it, but it wasn't there, and the actors weren't comfortable with their roles and were too aware of the fourth wall, which made me extra aware of the fourth wall, and that made it even more uncomfortable.
There was a point towards the middle where I mourned its short length. By about 80%, I was glad I was almost through.
The lines also aren't quite there. Some of them are almost ruthless in their word economy and bluntness. They're not quite ingenuous enough to come off as organic. Certain plot points don't make much sense, such as when Ari turned into that large cat. I mean, I like kitty-loving, so normally I wouldn't object to some kitty-cuddling and whatnot, but what purpose was there for it? I didn't realize Ari had issues with impulse control (that's what the author's trying to say, right?). Gah. It's like that scene in The Dark Knight Rises
. The world (Gotham, world, whatever; technicalities) is about to get blown up by this nuke. We have the chance to save it if we hurry. Let's waste many precious seconds making out for no discernable reason when there was no sexual tension between us at all. aka the story of Anne Hathaway and Christian-Wayne.
The last 20% was so cringe-worthy I almost DNF'ed.
I almost sighed audibly with relief when I reached the About Author page.
In short, good idea. Execution didn't quite pan out. Overall, I'm rather disappointed. Rather nice cover, though.
I'd say it's worth reading for the world-building, but the actual story was pretty bad.