What do you do when the world gets bigger?
Minor celebrities Max and Kylie have always fit together perfectly, both on the screen and behind the cameras. But it’s not until their show is cancelled and they go their separate ways that they begin to wonder if they might have been more than just friends.
Now, Kylie struggles to adjust to life in Windfall, the little New England town whose weird local legends inspired the show. When Max comes to visit for the summer, she strives to let him know how she feels about him—without exposing him to the chilling secrets she’s begun to uncover in her new home.
Written by Tempe O’Kun, Illustrated by Slate
Author: Tempe O’Kun
Style: Literary Work
Parental Rating: NC-17 – hot M/F sex, scary scenes
Publication Date: July 2015
Windfall is an interesting book. The book’s blurb sums up its subject matter perfectly. Tempe O’Kun has written possibly one of the best summer romance books tinged with erotica that I have ever read. The relationship between Max and Kylie is handled perfectly. The constant switches between their point of views helps to not only build their sexual tension, but also helps you to understand their motives and to create a build of emotions that will lead the reader to practically beg them to come together as a couple. This is helped by Slate’s illustrations which add a wonderful amount of cute romance and steamy sexuality. As stated, as far as a summer romance book, with erotic scenes, this book is easily a 4.5-5 star rating. If you are looking for a good summer read that will have you longing for the days of first romances and the awkward joys that come with it, go buy this book. Seriously, it’s worth it.
But that’s not why I bought it. I bought it because it was described as having Lovecraftian horror in it. We’re not talking horror involving Lovecraft’s mythos here. We’re talking about the horror that emphasizes the cosmic horror of the unknowable. Windfall only touches on this with the lightest of touches. Sure, there are mentions of unknowable creatures doing impossible things, but that’s as far as it goes. This is also true of the horror within the novel. In total, there are maybe a handful of moments where the horror genre is touched, and none of them are truly scary.
Tempe O’Kun has a skill with characters. There are no characters among the cast of Windfall, minor or main, that I didn’t enjoy reading about. Minor characters and their interactions are both entertaining and fascinating, each adding a certain flavor to the story that makes it enjoyable. As mentioned above, Kylie and Max as characters are simply a joy to read about. So much so, that while I was reading this (on my Honeymoon no less) I often had to set the book aside so that I could revel in the warm fuzzies that the story gave me. By the time the first erotic scene occurred I was practically skipping on my beach walks. Should I read this book again, it will be for the characters.
Another element that is handled extremely well in this novel is the integration of the anthropomorphic adjustments. Tail loops on pants, canine social media, pheromone perfume, waterbeds for otters, and many, many more. Each piece of technology fits into the story well and Tempe O’Kun has thought up some simply amazing bits of technology that makes his world work with animal characters. It all helps to create a believable world and one that is fun to explore. My only issue was with the inclusion of feral deer while having anthro deer. This created a break in the fantasy and one that kept coming up again and again which could have been rewritten without losing the suspension of disbelief.
Lastly, we come to the climax of the book and the falling action. The climax of the story was very much not. The entire resolution of the mystery of the town of Windfall plays out in a very subdued manner and in such a way that removed any and all fear, anxiety or tension from the story. We no longer fear for the characters, they no longer feel in danger, and you wonder why the characters themselves are still doing what they are doing now knowing what they know. In the end, it was an terribly disappointing ending. This is only saved by the epilogue which gives us a wonderfully romantic close to the summer romance story.
In the end, Windfall is a masterfully written summer romance tale and a terrible horror story. If you want a feel good story of young love, this is the book for you. I can not recommend it enough for that. But if you are looking for horror, especially Lovecraftian horror, then I recommend you look elsewhere as you will be greatly disappointed.
Originally when I had reviewed this book, I gave it 3 stars. I have just recently upped it to 4 because as much as I was let down over the horror, it was still an amazing summer romance novel and well worth picking up for that reason alone. I highly recommend it!