I won this book in a Goodreads Drawing so first off, a big thank you to Ms. Carriger for providing me a copy of this book. Of course, the reason I entered into the drawing was that the blurb intrigued me and I’m glad I got a chance to read it.
The Sumage Solution is an urban fantasy/LGBT romance that follows two characters: Max and Bryan AKA Biff and takes place in the San Francisco Bay Area. Max is a gay and hysterically snarky, foul-mouthed, somewhat grumpy sumage, which is a mage who can’t actually do any magic and is stuck in a crappy government job as a bureaucrat – basically doing paper-pushing drudge work pushing papers.
Max works at DURPS which is the supernatural equivalent of the DMV. I can’t remember what the acronym stands for but any supernatural being who comes into town has to register at and be approved by the DURPS. One of Max’s paper-pushing duties there is to process incoming supernaturals.
Enter the Werewolf
So enter Bryan — called Biff by his pack – who is an extraordinarily well-muscled and gruff beta werewolf with a heart of gold. But he’s also in the closet and is not even out to his pack.
So it’s worth mentioning that typically, werewolves can’t stand being around mages because mages smell horrible to them – they have kind of a chemical stench to them. What’s interesting is that Max actually smells good to Bryan. Bryan also finds the mage to be exceptionally good-looking and there’s a good chance that the hunky werewolf might be willing to leave the closet if he can only get the mage to go on a date.
Bryan/Biff is really a sweetheart of a character, and you can’t help but love him as the story progresses, especially once we figure out that he has somewhat of a White Knight complex – extremely protective of everyone in his life and willing to swoop into the rescue at a moment’s notice.
He basically fits as the caretaker archetype. Max, on the other hand, takes snark to a whole new level but he is laugh out loud funny. He becomes all the more endearing when we learn that a lot of his grumpy and snarky exteriors is basically a façade to hide the fact that he’s been very hurt in the past and as such, has deep relationship issues. Oh, and Daddy issues as well.
But There’s Trouble
Needless to say, Max and Bryan end up getting together, but it’s not smooth sailing for them. Max has many hangups that he has to get past and then there’s the whole reaction of Max’s pack who didn’t even know he was gay, much less dating a mage.
There’s also a mystery to solve surrounding Max’s dead father, his childhood homestead which is protected by strong magic and a powerful and dangerous codex — and ancient manuscript in book form that resides is Max’s father’s house.
Which is probably why there’s a steady stream of mages trying to get past the house’s magical barriers.
I really loved the world that the author has created here, giving us a modern day San Francisco but populated by all manner of shifters, magicians, and the enigmatic Kitsune, which are foxes who appear in Japanese folklore. There’s also the riveting history of the mages and magicians and the one event that lead to a whole new world and the death of thousands.
Now this being a gay romance, there is sex in this book — a lot of it actually. But the majority of the sex scenes were relevant to the plot, and we learned a lot more about the characters from these scenes.
But it is quite steamy. So if you prefer your novels squeaky clean, then you might want to pass on this one.
Overall, the Sumage Solution was a fun, humorous madcap romp that was charming and intriguing, with lovable, quirky characters. This light-hearted character-driven story was a joy to read, especially with all of the witty banter between our two main characters. The author does snark and sass exceptionally well, and this book had me laughing out loud on several occasions.
This book also has quite a diverse, entertaining and lovable cast of secondary characters, many of them leaning towards the “sassy” side as well. I adored Bryan’s pack and loved how protective and loyal they are to each other. They were definitely a huge, messy and complicated family.
I do believe this is going to be a series and if so I’ll for sure be reading the next one. I loved this little gem of a novel, and I give it: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐