...I don't think I quite understand the universe. There are these people and they do stuff, and clearly there are more of them if there's an Institute, but they can't use them and have to rely on Alex? ...is this like they're really rare so they get assigned to special jurisdictions and apparently there's no way to request the services of these special people from a local jurisdiction or something? Or was this not considered high enough priority for that to be possible? It just sounds like it's not possible at all. Do these people become tied to a certain location, then?
It's still early so who knows. It just seems weird, though.
^that was so incredibly vague
Okay: why is Alex the only one capable of taking on this case? Clearly there are other warrior pairs; they're government-sanctioned and there's an Institute and everything. Is each pair assigned to a jurisdiction and that's it? They're not allowed to borrow personnel from neighboring departments? Or maybe these pairs are tied to a specific land place and after they become tied to it, they're ineffective elsewhere? Why do I even need to speculate so wildly about such a pivotal plot point?
And gah the concept is interesting-ish but the presentation is kind of bland. A lot of it is very exposition-y. Ryan is the typical ditzy sidekick archetype, although the author did slightly subvert it with the throwaway line about checking to see if he's got some sort of inner ear problem.
...Do you get ditzy idiot-types on police forces? How did they pass training and whatnot?
I like that the author expanded the universe so it really was a universe thing, with different countries having different takes on this one phenomenon. Makes it seem actually AU-ish. Again, though, it was presented blandly and exposition-y-ly.
What's with these characters and having asshole parents? Why couldn't they have been from well-adjusted families? They don't have to have tragic family backstories to be relatable, you know.
Marcus is a wangsty teenager. Woe is he, woe is he.
The Webbers are a single unit, I get it. They do not come in separate pieces. There is no John Webber and Samantha Webber. It's John-and-Samantha-Webber. Thank you.
"Marcus had to fend off the flirtations of several girls and two boys, and he did it by being the hardest badass Handler they ever met."
^Congratulations. You just made your LI into a Mary Sue.
Something something bullshit about this minor character.
Congratulations. You just, in a few short words, made Samantha into a coordinating Mary Sue.
Wow, young humans when shifter into dogs act like young dogs (puppies). That is revolutionary.
"John and Samantha were expert Guardsmen and fantastic instructors who had won many international awards in their field."
^I get it. They're supporting, they're bland, they're possibly author self-inserts.
Eh. Who gives a fuck. (someone probably does, but that person ain't me)
What I'm more interested in is the cultural semantics of "Protector"/"Handler." There's something inherently repressive about the language of it, especially when juxtaposed with the "warrior pair" term apparently used elsewhere. I think that, above anything that happens, is probs the most interesting feature of this story/the 'verse right now.
Dear lord everyone is fucking legendary this or amazingly masterful that.
Things happen, but there's this sort of...emptiness about it. Things happen, but not necessarily for a reason, and everyone is kind of just going through the motions. The shell of the 'verse and characters are there, but the soul is not. It's not even that the soul is surpressed as a defense mechanism, or whatever. It's just...not there. The story is devoid of life.
Makes it especially difficult because a pivotal part is supposed to be Alex's feelings in relation to Marcus(?)'s death and how he deals with that, and then getting bonded again though he resent that.
I have no sympathy for LI. The author actually took the time to take an aside about him and still did not establish any sort of soul. And I get it. It's difficult to instill a soul into writing if you don't feel it. It just feels like the author is in over xyr head, and xe makes a valiant effort, but it's still not enough.
"Goldstein smiled as she talked about her wife, who was as Irish as Goldstein was Israeli."
I fail to see the relevance of race except maybe a bad attempt at making some sort of social commentary based humor. It fell flat, at least for me, and came off as possibly offensive, but definitely out of place and patently odd, instead.
I don't understand Alex's resistance to the possibility of a new partner. He says all the right lines, but it doesn't feel like the author knew how to make it feel like he really means it.
D: it tries so hard, but it's still not good enough. It tries so hard that you can feel it trying very hard and it's not quite completely strained, but it's empty.
Who the fuck is Taylor?
...Oh. Alex Taylor? I didn't know that was his name.
Why are they blowing up at each other? What sense does that make? None at all. Or rather, slight sense for Alex, none for Marcus. (Oh, wait. Marcus isn't the dead one. Who's the dead guy, then?) It just makes him a bigger insufferable brat.
"The mature part of him felt sorry for Taylor..."
^What mature part of Marcus?
It's weird because Alex's side does have some emotion in it, but Marcus' is about as passionate as a Nolan romance.
The problem is it tries for free indirect discourse, but then lapses back into third limited. A lot of the narration is also described pretty dispassionately. It's weird; it fucks with your head to have it be all in-the-head descriptive and then dispassionate and enumerative.
Oookay the placement of the sex is weird and creepy and you just went from dog to human and that's just odd. My comfort level is probably about the same as it was when I was watching Up and Doug is all "You are my master. I love you master." aka I was - and am - very, very uncomfortable.
And also, the author hasn't made Marcus likeable yet.
Aaaand he's still in asshole. *sigh
Yech, geez, I can't do this. The foundation wasn't set well, at least not for me, and the rest of it can only go downhill from here. Plus, the main plot point introduced in the blurb already happened and the foundation to the emotions was whacked, and the emotions for that part were whacked, and it can only be painful and stupid and definitely dub-con, if not non-con. It would take a yaoi-esque miracle for these two to be together "happily" from this point.