Edmund was cursed 100 years ago by a spiteful witch, forced to live for eternity as a cat (albeit one who talks). Since then, he has lived with Anselm, a vampire who has become his best friend. The two live happily together until one day, Edmund suddenly changes forms back into a man — well, almost a man; he still has cat ears, eyes, and a tail. Both of the men are shocked to see Edmund in human form, and even though it only lasts a few minutes, it shakes both of them to the core.
Anselm cares deeply about Edmund and his happiness, but he also worries about what will happen if Edmund turns permanently back into a human. Will he still want to live with Anselm? And is he now mortal again? What will happen when Edmund dies and Anselm is left alone as an immortal vampire? The idea is more than Anselm can bear. For his part, Edmund never imagined he would be human again. He can tell it is upsetting Anselm, and Edmund would be just as happy staying as a cat with Anselm forever. But neither man has any idea why Edmund is suddenly changing forms and if there is any way to control it.
As the weeks go by, Edmund continues to spontaneously move between his human and cat forms. When Edmund is human, the men begin to form an even closer bond than ever before. But both men are scared and uncertain about what is going on. They have no idea how the shifting is affecting Edmund’s life span, nor do they know exactly what is causing it. They need to find someone who can fix the curse that seems to be breaking and they’d ideally like to return Edmund to cat form. But, as they grow closer, Edmund also struggles with knowing his human interaction with Anselm may soon be ending. However, both men determined to stay together and want to live out their lives with one another, whatever it takes.
This is a sweet and charming shifter story with a creative premise that I really enjoyed. From the start, I was drawn in as Anselm walks into his apartment to find a naked man, only to realize with a shock that it is Edmund suddenly in human form. The bond between these two is clear as they are totally committed to one another, even when they are just human and cat. At first it seems like Anselm is being selfish (and he is to a degree), as his first thoughts are how the curse breaking means he could lose Edmund. But we see him both recognize his own selfishness, as well as learn about his depression and fear of being abandoned, which helps mitigate that. Even with Anselm fearful of Edmund turning human, it is still clear that both of these men are fully committed to one another’s happiness. They are quite sweet together and there is a nice friends to lovers vibe that happens here as Edmund and Anselm’s emotional bond begins to expand into a romantic one during Edmund’s human periods.
From a world building end, we get the basics here in that we meet various paranormal beings and we know that there are a least some humans aware of the supernatural. Edmund is able to walk around as a sort of kitty/human hybrid without too many looks. And we learn a little about witches and curses and an apparent feud brewing. There are also some nice moments as Edmund adapts to life as a human after 100 years as a cat. Many things were different last time he was human, not to mention he has lived far more years as a cat than he ever did as a person. So l liked the moments where we see him enjoy a shower, or drink from a glass without lapping up the liquid. But overall, there isn’t a lot of depth here to the world building and I think the story could have really been enhanced with more detail into the supernatural world and how it plays into the human one.
This a relatively short novel and the story moves pretty quickly. However, there are some threads that are started and not fully fleshed out. For example, we are told about this witch feud as if it is important, but it is then dropped. Also, this story resolves really quickly and too simply for me. The ending felt like it just rushed up out of nowhere. A solution to their problem is presented and even though it seems like there are some major negative ramifications pending, the book just ends without addressing them. Even more, the last portion of the story feels like it kind of meanders, spending time watching the men gamble and hanging out with a neighbor and his boyfriend, and then the key resolution gets short shrift. This is the first book of a series, so perhaps more of these elements will be explored in future books, but the ending came about very abruptly and the story just didn’t feel finished to me.
Despite these issues, I found this story fun and entertaining. The creative plot and the charming characters were enough to make this one work for me, even with my concerns. I am definitely looking forward to continuing on with the series.