Look, I’m going to admit right off that bat the whole genre of shape-shifter romance is completely alien to me. I’m not the broadest reader of romance in the first place and this is a niche that I have not really turned my eyes towards.
But then a certain other Cannonballer—who knows who they are and can identify themselves if they want—sent me a picture of this book’s cover, and I’ll be damned if I wasn’t at least going to have a peek to see what’s up.
One thing I had to caution myself with here before starting was that Educating the Platypus appeared to be part of a longer-running series: one that had at least 17 instalments. And why I didn’t think that would matter so much in a series of books that appeared to be a bit of cheeky boy-on-boy smut, it kinda-sorta does. Apparently, all these youthful-looking, shape-shifting gents have some kind of pack structure-thing going on, with alpha leaders and a sort of bond mating/fated mates kind of dynamic. I really wasn’t sure exactly how it worked, or whether it was related to what kind of animal a guy shifted into.
Also, are shifters all guys or something? Are there any lady shifters? I mean, I understand that if you’re not into lady-romances, they may not be important to you in the overall scheme of things, but I still don’t know how this works.
One thing that doesn’t work is the geography: Kai Sudderson is a human-raised shapeshifter who hails from New Mexico. And he can turn into a platypus. An animal that is endemic to Australia. Why? Apparently, his mates know about it, are cool with it, and have never asked too many questions about it—so that makes them less curious than me, I suppose?
Everything here starts off with the poor lad getting stuck in a beaver trap while in his platypus form, and his subsequent rescue by another shifter—who’s a penguin. But Mr Penguin is not the guy that Kai’s going to get it on with. Instead, his bond-mate turns out to be another, older avian shifter named Dorian. Now Kai isn’t immediately receptive to the idea that he and Dorian are fated to get together like a pair of Bong Joon-Ho’s Oscars and flees to a college kegger party instead. Unperturbed, Dorian follows, determined to give the platypus a little education.
So after all my fretting about the worldbuilding, it turns out that it’s mostly window dressing for some light and fluffy m/m action, where the older man is showing the younger one the ropes. If this is kind of your thing, this short novella is probably more than satisfactory.
But I am a little disappointed and not-disappointed that the main characters spend so very little shape-shifting. Kai doesn’t even really shift back after his rescue in the first few pages, and Dorian’s is limited to him making an entrance. So that’s a little sad. But on the other hand, someone with a background in biology could mine this for things that should not be mined*. This could be really fun for some of us, but it also has the potential to upset the target audience more than the time I upset my friends by pointing out the errors in Jurassic Park.
So it’s best if I leave this be, I reckon. It was a cute but not highly substantial afternoon read.
For Bingo, this is under Cannonballer Says, and I hope they don’t regret pointing this out to me. That also gives me a bingo on the second from the bottom row.