Reviewed: 2013-01-08 - (Review Updated: 2013-01-08)
Okay, this is another long one. It is actually two stories. If you want to know what's going on you'd better start with "Salamander." And before that you'd better look at MORFS — A Universe from the Mind of Britney McMaster at /library/universe.php?id=337.
It is also a slow developing story. By this I don't mean that the action is slow to develop. I mean that the author takes his time. "Salamander" was posted back on March 8, 2008. "Salamander 2" was first posted on March 11 of that year, and chapter 24 was added December 16th of last year. According to his blog, EMW updates his stuff every year or two. But that's OK, because it is worth the wait.
Salamander begins when a boy, living in a town distinctly unfriendly to MORFS, in a family violently (literally) opposed to MORFS, wakes up to find himself turning into a girl with reptilian characteristics. He/she flees when daddy tries to kill her/him.
Salamander 2 opens with Trish (school nickname, formerly Mortimer, legally Amanda, or Mandy) settling in with his-- I mean HER -- sister (who also fled home)in a more MORFS friendly town. Mandy -- I mean Trish -- not only has to deal with a new school with some complicated MORFS inspired cliques, but also limited finances, while learning to be a girl, with villains who see her as the spawn of Satan tracking her like she was big game, etc., etc., etc. In other words, a lot is going on.
The technical quality is high, the style is very readable, the characters well drawn and sympathetic, the plots and sub-plots immensely engaging.
But, it is a long read; Salamander is only 38,000 words, but Salamander 2 is already up to 111,000 and who knows when it will be finished.
I'm willing to wait. I like these stories a lot, even though there's no sex.