The story takes quite a while to really settle into the core storyline, but Allison establishes the world so carefully, and builds up the characters so beautifully, you don't begrudge the long introduction. I tend to have a hard time with names (both in person and on the page), but these characters immediately stuck in my head. I found myself subconsciously dividing them into friends, allies, and adversaries (something I don't normally do unless I'm really engaged) and categorizing them according to likability. With a cast of characters as well-balanced as they are well-rounded, picking sides makes for a really fun read.
Before we get into the characters, though, we are exposed to a healthy dose of social politics. The early chapters have a very 'college' feel to them, with a lot of ideas tossed around, but it's done very well. Allison manages to make an otherwise polarizing subject exciting by intimately tying the issues of sexual identity and gender equality to the characters, giving the politics both a face and a personality. There is even a genderqueer member of the Pack who, as I'm sure will come as no surprise, easily crept into my heart alongside our stunning heroine, Lexie.
There's so much I want to say about this, so many key scenes and snippets of dialogue that I'm dying to share, but it really is the discoveries that make the story. Allison manages to merge the threads of social politics, lesbian romance, werewolf adventure, and college drama into a story that takes hold and never lets go. A story that's both fun and thoughtful at the same time is a rarity in and of itself, but one that's also beautifully written, with such a deft command of narrative and dialogue, is a gem that must be shared.
(if you missed Allison's guest post last month on Writing Sex as a Revolutionary Act, please do check it out)