Saturday, September 27, 2014

Book Review: Making the Cut by Chris Lester


Daniel Sharabi is a weak telepath, but he's still part of the Hive, the collective society of telepaths. Sadly, as a low-powered male, he's the bottom of the ladder, and that has ruined his chances of being able to spend his life with his girlfriend, Rebecca. He aligns with an old teacher, Victor, to find a way out of the Hive and into a life of his own, only to be duped into working for the Vampire Syndicate, smuggling in a weapon for use against his own people. Now racked with guilt, he thinks the only way to assuage his guilt is to rejoin the collective. But what use can he be? He decides to take the curse of Metamor City and become an androgyne and live in the Hive as a woman. But Victor still has the technology Daniel helped him smuggle out, and now it's in the vampires' hands.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

All Daniel Sharabi wanted was a family of his own. Born into a collectivist society of telepaths, Daniel grew up believing that he and his lifelong love Rebecca would form the core of a new breeding cell, helping to raise the next generation of their people. But when Daniel reaches adulthood, and learns that his psychic talents are mediocre at best, he finds himself marginalized and discounted by the society he has dedicated his young life to.

All Brian Sommers wanted was to raise his family in peace. After five years of service in the Empire's elite Psi Ops Division, Brian and his polyamorous partners were granted permission by the Psi Collective to form a new breeding cell. But when an old enemy threatens the security of the Collective, Brian finds himself being drawn back into a world of espionage, paranoia and covert action.

Now these two men, longtime friends driven apart by Collective politics, become entangled in a web of threats, lies and deadly secrets. Both will risk everything to prove their worth to the community they love -- and neither will emerge unchanged.


Metamor City is a true urban fantasy with some sci fi thrown in. It's a place where magic and technology grew up side-by-side, which serves as a wonderful foundation for anything to happen. I have honestly never seen a place that's so rich and varied in itself yet so complete in its absorption of itself. I hope that makes sense. There are so many different subcultures here that intertwine, everything from telepaths, to wizards, vampires, elves, and regular people just trying to stay alive. You can walk into a shop and grab a birth control amulet and then leave on your skimmer or hop into a helicopter. It's wonderfully deep and integrated.

And scary, in a lot of ways.


Lester's writing style is clear and easy to follow. My experience with Making the Cut, however, came in the form of the Metamor City podcast, with the audio version of this novel. As far as I'm concerned, this may be the only way to really get a true experience of this story and its characters. The fullcast format, with characters having different voices, really made this a joy, and the fact that the two androgyne characters we come across Eva/Evan and Daniel/Danni have separate voices for the male and female halves of themselves makes it all the more clear what their existence means to the world and to the plot.

My Thoughts

I'm not going to go into the whole gender identity thing, because that's not really at the core of this novel, despite the importance being an androgyne has to play in the plot. Take from that what you will.

Making the Cut is an intriguing, well-thought-out, well-produced roller coaster that had me aching to listen to the next episode. It's a real page-turner, whether you're actually reading it or not. There wasn't a character I couldn't identify with or relate to, and that includes Victor and even Malcom ard'Valos, the vampire prince. These are real, fleshed-out people populating Metamor City, and they make the world function in a way I can't help but admire. The threads of plot are woven with great mastery, the cultures are thick and rich (not unlike hot chocolate) and I was just plain in awe of how perfectly the pieces of this puzzle fit together. I am eager to get into more of the Metamor City literature.

Would I Recommend This Book? Most definitely. There is a little adult content here, so Making the Cut is definitely not geared toward younger readers. It's not offensive or racy, at least not in my perception, but I truly think this is a book any reader of urban fantasy, fantasy, or science fiction can enjoy. I give Making the Cut a telepathic 4 out of 5 stars.

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