Reviewed by Sid Love
TITLE: Down Under
AUTHOR: Tam Ames
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
BLURB: The year 2089 finds Australia split between east and west, with a wall to ensure the east stays safe. College student Aiden Taylor is traveling from Perth to Sydney to see Men at Work, who have been revived after cryogenic freezing. Regrettably, only days into his trip, his moped is stolen—and then he meets a naked man from the east. The man turns out to be Matthew King, who offers Aiden a ride—no strings attached—all the way to Sydney.
When another attack occurs the following night, Aiden discovers Matthew’s impossible secret: he’s a were-kanga. At least that gives them something to talk about when they experience delays at the wall. One thing leads to another, and soon friends with benefits turns into something more. But when the summer is over, Aiden must return to school in Perth. How can he leave Matthew behind?
If a book can get you high, I would say I am pretty drunk after finishing Down Under – A short story that worked wonderfully to entertain the reader in me.
The story is set in a future timeline, around the lands of Australia which has now been divided into East and West – the east side being under severe protection to keep it safe. The book doesn’t give a detailed account about all that and I was okay with it.
It begins with the main character, Aiden, making plans to go to Sydney which is considered the ‘other side’ for him, leaving his mother is worried sick. Aiden is a twenty year old music student who is keen on attending a big concert there and is determined to prove it to his mother that he is old enough to take care of himself. However, shit hits the fan during the journey when he is robbed. With his bike stolen and only fifty dollars left in his pocket, Aiden is helpless.
But wait… he is not so helpless, when there is a hot naked man running in the dark and tries to save the day. Oh yeah … the hunk who comes into Aiden’s life that night is Matthew and when someone as well-endowed as Matthew (in every aspect) is before him, Aiden is filled with lusty-lust! (Can ya blame him???!) And that’s where the hot n’ sweet ride begins…
No issue keeping it all a hush-hush since the blurb is spoiling it anyway. Well, Matthew is a shifter – a were-kangaroo and that made me do a double take. I admit, it was that one thing which had me curious to check out this book. It was new, it was weird but it was something I hadn’t heard of before!
However, if you are expecting this to be a fantasy-filled book with an all out war among shifter clans and a human character with whom a shifter falls in love with … that typical shit…well, you are mistaken and I am sorry to disappoint you but I believed this was plain Romance. A Romantic Comedy, to be specific.
The first half was totally hot! The sexual tension between Aiden and Matthew was so prominent that an erotic reader could definitely quench his thirst for hotness with it. Even when the whole were-kanga was weird, I kept picturing Matthew as this picture perfect guy I would love to be with but was too far-fetched because Aiden made him look that perfect (the story is told in third person, but from Aiden’s point of view). And Aiden’s young mind ran quite wild, to the extremes I couldn’t have imagined. The second half – after they reach Sydney – turned into a sweet, sappy tale between two guys who were getting smitten.
For me, the main attraction to this story was Aiden! You need to read this story just to read how extremely random his thoughts are, so much, that it had me rolling in laughter endlessly. I must say, he wasn’t much liked at the beginning, especially after the part where he is robbed. He spends half a chapter thinking of different ways to die only because he can’t face his mother. I am sure, it was there for comic relief, but I was a bit saddened by his suicidal nature (though I am ready to bet he would chicken out sooner if he tried to). But it changes as the story progresses and I am assuming it was Matthew’s presence around him that makes a difference.
The second half is really sweet and funny. Though I enjoyed it, I did feel that it was all too good to be true. Not that there wasn’t a conflict – there was, a good one – but there was also a time when I thought ‘I wish everyone was so accepting of a gay member in the family in real life’.
Ah well, I have always believed I can escape into a book and the world suddenly seems to be a better place. It gives me hope and a happy ending, what else do I need?
I am rating this on the meter of how much I enjoyed this book and giving it a 4.5! And yes, it comes highly recommended to everyone who cares for some romance mixed with comedy!
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