This is not easy stuff to write about and I doubt it has been done before in this setting. That is the really interesting aspect of [Kuiken’s] work: it takes … American [writing] into new territory. But it is not just the coalescence of setting and subject which is innovative, [he is] also being bold with language and symbolic structure.
I wish just slamming my fingers on the keys at once and using the resulting chaos was suitable for a review because it would be the truest expression of how reading J. S. Kuiken’s works makes me feel. The prose is great, the pacing is steady, except when it needs to be slower or more amped and you go along for the ride along with the characters. When the characters are laughing and happy, you are right there with them. And when there is a gut punch reveal or surprise situation, you feel it as keenly as the characters do. There were several times I was shedding tears of laughter, rage, sorrow and triumph throughout just one story.
One thing I absolutely love is that so many stories feature transgender characters. I myself am not trans but so many people I love are and the characters are not written as just “Oh here is character they are trans hahaha stereotype them or dismiss them”, they are written as real as any cisgender character in any popular novel has ever been written. The fact they are trans is important to their character, but it isn’t their entire character. They laugh and love and hate and make mistakes and change and grow. You are left hating them and cheering for them, sometimes from one sentence to the next. But even if hate is all you feel, it’s not because they are a transgender character, it’s because they are as big an asshole as a person can be.
Another delightful thing, well several other delightful things, are there is a lot of humor and snark and wit. You will be left gigglesnorting as a character tosses off a one liner or burn worthy of a professional roast. If the mood is set for love and romance, your teeth will rot from how sweet it is and if it calls for something a bit more heated…well friend bring an ice bath because you will have to sit in to cool off from how scorchingly hot and erotic a ride you are about to go on.
In short, his works feature well written characters, in believable situations that play with your emotions like a virtuoso and as you are left dazed, all you can do is gasp “Thank you Sir, may I have another?”
I cannot begin to express how much I adore J.S. Kuiken’s work. I have been a fan for some time, and there are many reasons why. The most important are the way he utilizes characterization and development. It feels organic and natural, breathing life into characters that feel like real people. When reading his work I find myself immersed in the environment, unable to stop reading.
It’s not often that I found a writer whose works I keep going back to read over and over again and J.S Kuiken is one of them. The way he weaves words into sentences and sentences into stories makes it hard to put them down. His writings are compelling yet so close to reality (reality that many other writers would not dare to touch) that you can’t help but feel for the characters and want to see where the plot is going to take them.