This was an alright read, I suppose. I can't say it did much for me though. The whole thing just felt wrong. (If that makes any sense.) Starting with Zan. He felt very child-like to me. Everything from his insta-love which reminded me of a kid's tendency to become obsessed with anything new, to the language divide that left him speaking like a halting toddle for much of the book, to Ruby's tendency to compare him to a pet, to his occasional tears. As a result I had a really hard time seeing him as the sexy male lead he was supposed to be. That's a real problem in a book with as much sex as The Feathered Lover. There was a lot of it. I don't have any real issue with this much of the time, but here it started to clutter up the plot. Everywhere they went--endangered, held hostage, trying to have a conversation was apparently appropriate for a quickly before moving on.
I did like Ruby. She had a stubborn streak a mile long and I appreciated that. She prattled on a bit, having long one-sided soliloquies regularly. I had a little trouble understanding her insta-love with Zan though. She crossed the species/social/legal divide with him based on nothing but one meeting in which she didn't think him capable of intelligible speech and possibly dangerous. She'd been taught Voltane were wild animals after-all. So what does she do? Well, seamlessly give her virginity up to it of course. What else?
I had to wonder why exactly it was illegal to be in the presence of the Voltage to start with. Was this a species or environmental protection, basic xenophobia or racism, etc. I didn't understand the social intention, so I had a little trouble understanding the implications of Ruby's actions. Plus, for being feared and held separate Ruby and Zan seemed to find a lot of sympathisers with almost no effort. I get that this was meant to infer that the society was ripe for social change, but it also felt very convenient to the plot. I also thought that trying to situation the whole thing in an alternation 1943 complicated matters. I didn't see the relevance.
The writing was fairly simple, but it was clean, perfectly readable and only had a few editorial mishaps. In the end I was left wondering what I had just read, but I imagine that the book will really appeal to some. It was a pleasant change to encounter a hero who wasn't a bulging alpha with an alarming tendency to aggress on questionably willing heroines. Props to Levin for being willing to move away from the canned PNR.
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)