Review: The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters #1) by G.L. Carriger

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

NYT bestseller Gail Carriger, writing as G. L. Carriger, presents an offbeat gay romance in which a sexy werewolf with a white knight complex meets a bad boy mage with an attitude problem. Sparks (and other things) fly.

Max fails everything - magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

Delicate Sensibilities?

This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The ­­­­San Andreas Shifter stories contain blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (mouth/tongue/etc.).

I have to admit that I was surprised by how well this turned out for me.  I read the prequel, Marine Biology, and thought it was a cute little shifter-fluff story.  It wasn't bad, a bit silly perhaps, but there wasn't really much to it.  I thought I would be getting more of the same with this book.

I couldn't have been more wrong.

I was blown away by this story.  I loved it so much!  The banter between Max and Bryan was off the charts and I laughed out loud many, many times. This is my kind of humor; a mix of witty banter, clever one-liners with some juvenile shenanigans thrown in to sweeten the pot.

It sparkled on his tongue with tiny bubbles of carbonation.  "Really, Max?  Fizzy jizz?"
"I see werewolves do have a heightened sense of taste.  It's a mage thing."
"The champagne of cocks?"
"See how I spoil you?"

I mean, how can you go wrong with a mage whose jizz is carbonated and a werewolf whose is spicy like hot sauce?

"I like it when you call me Bryan."
"Not Muscles?"
I like it when you call me that too, Trouble." You can call me anything you like so long as you smile that way.
"What if I call you Habanero?" Max waggled his eyebrows suggestively.
"Only if I can use Sparkles."
"Ew, no."
"Stop it." Was Max blushing? Super hard to tell.
"Carbonation Man?" Biff pressed his advantage.
Max sputtered coffee. "Here I cum to save the day?"
"Mighty jizz is on it's way?"
"With the power of fizzy dick!"

This wasn't all humor and shenanigans; there was quite a bit of depth here too.  Max is a sumage, a dud, who never manifested his powers.  He's been reduced to being no more than a dumping ground for "real" mages to off-load their excess magic when it builds up too much.  Having grown up hearing how much of a disappointment he is from his abusive father, he's a bit bitter.  Okay, that's a lie.  He's way more bitter than just a bit.  I may or may not have wanted to shake him a few times or at least sit him down in front of a mirror, a la Stuart Smalley until he could see how wonderful a person he is and how valuable he is to those who love him.

Bryan came along just in time, it seems.

Bryan, oh Bryan. *sigh*  I love that big, stoic werewolf something fierce!  He doesn't say much, but when he finally opens his mouth, the most gorgeous words flow out.  I won't spoil it by quoting it here because some things you need to experience for yourself, but when he finally spoke up and told Max how he really feels, it was exquisite.  It had me swooning like a proper Southern lady.  I must have read that passage about ten or fifteen times, it was so beautiful.  

What surprised me the most about this book was how smart the writing was.  The story is told in such a way that you don't get how clever it really is until you're smacked in the face with a chapter title and a couple of paragraphs a little more than halfway through the book.  I was just reading along, enjoying the humor when WHAM!  and it was like a lightbulb going on over my head.  It was so clever!  Very tongue-in-cheek, if you will.

I loved all of the other characters as well.  Every one of them had a distinct voice; there were no cookie-cutter or throw-away characters to be found.  Even the villain had quite a bit of depth to them.  The only thing I found a bit lacking was the world building when it came to the magic.  It wasn't that the actual world building was lacking per se, but sometimes I felt like the author was referencing things from a previous book or series and I was supposed to already know what this stuff is and the history of it.  But, seeing as how I've never read this author before, I got a bit lost in the telling of how it works.

This was a fun story packed with tons of feels.  I really hope the author writes many more books for this series.  If you like a good shifter story, this is the book for you.  If you like witty banter and shenanigans, this is the book for you.  If you like a story with depth and angst and romance, this is the book for you.  Hell, if you like to read, this is the book for you.  Cause, really, you can't go wrong with this story.

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