Shifting Silver by Brandon Witt (review)

Tagline: Vegetarian animal lover’s encounter with a narwhal forces him to choose between survival with his family and his own nature

Shifting Silver Book Cover Image

Title: Shifting Silver
Author: Brandon Witt
Genre:  Paranormal M/M Romance
Format:  Novella (15k words, 49 pages)

Series: Walk on Wild Side

Publisher: Dreamspinner (June 2016)

ISBN: 978-1-63477-498-7

Retail:  $3.99

Also available:  Walk on Wild Side Anthology

Rating:   star star star star  (I really liked it! )

Dreamspinner’s 2016 Daily Dose anthology includes 30 romantic male/male shifter stories released one a day during the month of June.

Synopsis: In 17th century Alaska, silver-eyed Allakau is unable to be recognized as a man by his tribe as he refuses to hunt or kill animals.  When he saves a narwhal from his brother’s spear, his father gives Allakau an ultimatum which may banish him from the tribe and effectively sentence him to death.  After meeting another being who shares some of his own characteristics, he will have to navigate the traditions and survival of his tribe, the safety of his family, his own survival, and being true to himself in a harsh and magical world.

Review (minor spoilers): The author takes a wonderfully romantic fable (the virgin and a fantastic beast) and adapts it for an historical, multicultural, male/male romance setting. The work explores both modern concepts (vegetarian animal lover) and ancient myths in a distant and unique setting, allowing the story to ensconce conflicting values into the heart of the setting.  The need in many societies to hunt for simple survival is contrasted with both modern ideas of what is truly humane along with traditional values regarding purity (and even Buddhist and similar philosophies regarding the importance of preventing animal suffering) .

As rich as these ingredients are baked into the general setting and initial struggles, the story continues on to explore more traditional romance themes, albeit with a nicely paranormal and mythical touch. The resolution of a main plot issue towards the end included additional interesting fantasy elements, but also wrapped up fairly quickly (as it is only a work of novella length).  Overall, the set up was intriguing, the relationship issues nicely magical, mythical elements effectively interwoven, and the ultimate reunion a bit passionate.

I was absolutely thrilled with the initial recognition/reunion scene, and very much enjoyed the intercultural and mythical interplay in the setting and the story.  I was disappointed in the physical part of the reunion, almost to the point where I think it might have been better if the sex was left out entirely.

Recommended for fans of: narwhals and unicorns; characters who were born “out-of-place;” vegetarians in a hunting-based society; adaptions of traditional fantasy elements to a different cultural and male/male setting.

Heat: fire –  Semi-euphemistic deflowering and a fade to black
Passion: heart  heart heart –  Several chapters of eternal passion and love
Genre:  Romance

Other Comments (spoilers):

Just the sheer beauty of the outcast, pure of heart, virgin male meeting the endearing and protective unicorn melted my heart.   The rest of the story was fine, but that scene alone made my heart flutter.
On the other hand, I was disappointed in the physical part of the reunion, almost to the point where I think it might have been better if the sex was left out entirely.  I think for me it read too much like a man taking a woman, and simply deflowering his lost lover in that particular manner became the height of their physical re-connection, which didn’t quite sit right for me.

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