Please Note: The following review is suitable for adults only.
I love a little over-the-top exaggerated fantasy as much as the next gurl. In fact, I'm often guilty of it myself, concocting elaborate scenarios that I would so very much like to be true, but which I know are impossible. As much fun as that is, however, I am always delighted when I come across a story that's grounded firmly in reality, a story that strikes me as sincere.
In case you haven't already guessed, Offline by John Dylena is one of those stories. He immediately won me over when his narrator admits he doesn't have "the most ideal body for a crossdresser," owing to his wide shoulders and chubby past. Do you know how much that made me smile? All to often these stories begin with a young man who is perfectly slender, dainty, and androgynous. That body type makes passable feminization a bit easier, but it's not something that most of us can identify with.
On top of that, I loved the uncertainty and the confusion involved. Is he a crossdresser, or could there be something deeper to it? Is he gay? Is he straight? Is he bisexual? Does it matter that what he desires in his feminine persona is different than his masculine reality? These are all questions we have asked ourselves at some point, and issues some of us never stop struggling with. Dylena doesn't just pay lip service to those questions either. When his two crossdressing lovers meet for the first time, our narrator feels physically nauseous, and ultimately backs out. Not only that, but his lover . . . his Master . . . is left with tears of disappointment in his eyes. Now, don't take that wrong and don't worry yourself, because they do get together (and it is amazing!), but that initial trepidation comes across as genuine and honest.
The appeal here goes far beyond realism and being relatable, however. It is also a very well-written story that flows nicely, that uses some smart, literate turns of phrase, and which is lovingly detailed. Dylena is just as adept at getting into a crossdresser's skirt as he is at getting into their heads, and you can feel that shared pleasure. I will admit, I cringed a bit when the idea of cybersex first cropped up, but only because so many authors use it as a cheat. Not here. Dylena manages to balance the online conversation and the real-world experience very well, creating scenes of virtual domination that really work.
I could go on and on about this, but you really need to take yourself Offline for about 45 minutes and give it a read yourself. It's a fantastic story, and one that will have an crossdresser saying "Wow, that really could be me!" and smiling all the way to the end.