Tuesday, November 3, 2015

TG Mall Book #1: New Look by Haylee Sims & Courtney Captisa

By all accounts, I should love TG Mall Book #1: New Look.  I love a story that is essentially one long transformation sequence involving a protagonist that is struggling with the change.  I also adore transformations sparked by clothes or an external object.  It’s a shame, then, that there are elements of this story that make it very difficult for me to enjoy, though, strangely, not too difficult to recommend.

The story is familiar to fans of the gender transformation erotica community.  Our young male hero, Hunter, is just looking for a haircut from his usual stylist, Drew.  Unfortunately, the stylist is on vacation and Hunter finds himself in the hands of the tattooed Alyssa, who gives him a wash that leads to long hair and a new outlook on life.  Through the course of the story, Hunter is seduced into jewelry, makeup, dresses and heels, his body shifting to accommodate his new accessories.  By the time things wrap up, Hunter is now Hallie, and more than happy to be a newly-minted lovely girl.

It’s a great premise, and one I wished I had thought of, but it falls flat for me on a couple of levels.  First, the story, like all of those written by Haylee and Courtney, is in present tense.  I know, I know, I’m being a literary snob, but past tense feels far more natural to me as a reader and writer.  But, I understand this is a personal reaction and not one worthy of true criticism, and I would never steer anyone away from the story based on this alone.

But it’s not my only complaint.  The character of Hunter is not developed, merely serving as a portal for the reader.  Again, not something that is criminal, but I do prefer a bit more characterization, and Hunter’s is generally comprised of his feminine side asserting itself and outbursts by his masculine self, trying to stave off the changes occurring.  In short, I never felt like I knew Hunter, but for those who are more interested in the transformation, that might not make much difference.

Also, the writing lacks a poetry I like when I’m reading.  I like a writer who has a sense of the baroque, at times, and, while efficient, the writing of TG Mall Book #1 is rather bare bones, largely bereft of simile or metaphor, not interested in paying with the language to create a sense of time and place or description.

Now that I have all those complaints out of the way, if what you’re looking for is a straightforward story of a young man becoming a beautiful young woman, well this delivers in spades.  It’s not terribly long, but every scene is a component of the eventual transformation into Hallie.  Despite my complaints, the scenes of transformation are detailed and effective, and some of them are exceedingly hot, if not completely original.  Speaking of the hotness, if you’re looking for explicit se, there’s none here, but there is sexuality dripping from the transformation sequences.

I wish I could recommend this one with more enthusiasm, but it’s simply not my taste.  Yet, if you enjoy very specific scenes of male-to-female transformation, TG Mall Book #1: New Look is a solid entry into the canon and features some great moments.

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