As a SF/F author I go to lots of comicbook conventions with my books and meet new an interesting folks. I also blog and keep in touch with my readers and I am always somewhat fascinated with the furry community (and being from the Midwest, I’ve never seen a higher per capita number of furries at con than Fargo, ND). That’s how I was introduced to Always Gray in Winter by Mark J Engels.
The book is technically SF/military SF and for a few good reasons. As an avid fan of World of Darkness in my teen years (Werewolf the Apocalypse, Vampire the Masquerade, etc.) I appreciate shapeshifter fiction, and I had always loved that universe’s bastet (werecats,) of which Pawlina Katczynski is one (and the word play in the naming is ingenious.)
Engels does a great job of world building, both in establishing his furpunk universe and also in keeping grounded in reality with established places and locations across the world. It has an authentic feel—both in terms of the characters’ personas (humanity isn’t quite the right word in this context,) the setting, and the danger/intrigue.
This is a solid book and I got a distinct Tom Clancy with werecats vibe.
If there’s something I would find issue with it is the formatting. It’s an 85,000 word novel packed into 175 pages (meaning the text is DENSE and font is smaller than industry standard;) this is often done to reduce production costs. The small publisher of my first novel did this (back when I was young) and I didn’t initially see a huge problem with it. Now that my eyes are older it did tire me a bit to read it–luckily there is an ebook option so you can set your own size. I recommend that format.
I did get a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. You can get a copy of this book (or check it out via Amazon’s Look Inside feature) by clicking this link.