Gail Carriger takes a break from her Steampunk series with a slightly different take on the werewolf curse in 'Marine Biology.'
Alec never really expected to make it to 24. Born into a pack of werewolves, he was always considered a bit too...weak to make the change. In a family that looks like it just walked out of a biker bar, he swam instead of playing a more full-contact sport in high school, and is more likely to be spotted in a lab coat than a leather one. But family is family, and pack is pack, so when there's a get-together he shows up.
Even if he's more likely to bring a salad than a slab of beef.
This time, though, he's actually being given responsibility within the pack. There's been some funny business with the merpeople's finances, and a large chunk of money has gone missing. There's reason to believe that the selkies are in on it, and that's brought a brother-sister pair of mers to town.
Giselle and Marvin used to be from around here, so they're the ones that were sent from the West Coast to figure out where the money's gone. Since they're not local anymore it's the pack's responsibility to keep them safe while they're investigating, and that's where Alec gets involved.
Nevermind that Marvin used to show up at Alec's swim practices to watch.
'Marine Biology' has an interesting premise and doesn't take itself too seriously. There's a ghost who lives at Butch's house and seems to take great pleasure in teasing the pack when it meets. Alec gets by in the aggressive pack politics by keeping his head down, but still gets made fun of for his sushi platters and job as a researcher. Even the merfolks seen a bit surprised with how badly he fits into this family. Nevertheless, this story has all the humor and clever dialog that readers of Carriger have come to expect, and is a welcome diversion.
Highs: Of course the Irish selkies would be the mafia of the water-weres.
Lows: I kept expecting the werewolf Biff to somehow tie into the character in the Parasol Protectorate with the same name.
Verdict: A quick, easy read that doesn't make itself out to be more than it is.
Further Reading: 'My Sister's Song', Soulless, Attachments