REVIEW: Annie Morphs by Alyson Belle

On a cold night in an abandoned construction site, a dying alien grants five brave children the power to morph into any animal or person they can touch so that they can fight back against a secret invasion of evil, mind-controlling slugs called the “Yucks.” Arnold knows this because he was there, hiding behind a half-built wall, and saw everything. He even accidentally got the same powers the children did! But when Arnold realizes it’s not a joke, and that he really can transform into any being he touches, he decides he wants no part of a terrifying battle against alien invaders. Instead he grabs the form of a hot stripper and sets off to make a new life for himself in Las Vegas as a body-morphing con artist who uses the bodies of sexy young women to steal from every casino in town.

His plan works perfectly right up until the night when he stays morphed for a little too long and accidentally gets stuck in one of his gorgeous, borrowed bodies. Now, robbed of his powers and with no choice but to learn to live his life as “Annie,” he doesn’t know where to turn for help. Even worse, the horrible alien Yucks may have finally caught up with him…

Warnings: Sex Transformation, Some sexist attitudes, almost sexual assault

Category: M/F, F/F

Annie Morphs is a tongue in cheek, but clearly quite affectionate, porno parody of the teen scifi series Animorphs. It follows a random construction worker who happened to stumble upon the site of the kids getting their morphing powers from an alien, and accidentally happened to get the power as well. Following a random from the background while the leads of the actual series are off doing their hero thing, this ends up being a very fun and at times even emotionally compelling narrative about average people and their lives outside of the big world breaking happenings in a hero’s story. As a very big fan of the Animorphs books, I was very excited to delve into this.

WRITING
I generally go into a porno comedy with fairly low expectations on the writing, but I was quite pleased with the quality here. It’s written well, it follows a good narrative structure, and the lead character’s voice is consistent and engaging. Right from the get-go I was invested in how this was going to play out, simple a plot as it is. Instead of using his accidentally acquired abilities to help in the effort to save the world, he takes off to Vegas for a life of crime and sex, which seems like a fairly relatable reaction to suddenly having the ability to change into other people’s forms. He never uses it to morph into an animal, instead taking the DNA of people to use for heists, or seduction. This leads to a lot of gender fuckery, naturally, so it will have appeal in that niche. I liked Arnold, later Annie a lot, and I thought that the story was quite solid.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
I was surprised by how much emotional sentimentality there was in this story, and in it’s sweetly developed relationships. Annie ends up in a romantic relationship with a stage magician named Cash, and then later as well with the stripper who’s DNA she had acquired, Dana. These connections are developed so nicely and believably, and ends on such a poly-positive note that I really felt it had a satisfying emotional journey. Beyond that, Annie’s journey with gender was rather interesting as well, from macho tough-guy Arnold, to getting stuck in the Annie morph, to accepting the Annie identity finally, enough to pursue love and a new life with this body. I would have perhaps liked to have seen the shift in gender identity taking place a bit more gradually; perhaps with changed pronouns in Arnold/Annie’s internal monologues happening sporadically at first, then more commonly until finally Annie is thinking of herself as “she” permanently. As it was the sudden “well I’m in this female body now I guess I have to just bite the bullet and use female pronouns” change was a little jarring, and a little tone-deaf in terms of what that implies about bodies and gender, but ultimately I did enjoy this book’s exploration of sex, gender and love.

WORLDBUILDING
I do wish there hadn’t been the kind of undercurrent of gender essentialism in the text in so far as the ways that Annie’s mind works vs Arnolds. Annie finds, for example, that she’s much more scatter-brained when she’s Annie, and much more sensual and horny. Arnold has some reflections about what this says about women’s minds and why they are the way they are ,and those bits did make me cringe a little. The worldbuilding in this story (since the actual Animorphs worldbuilding is purposefully circumvented) is all surrounding the ideas of sex and gender and how people of opposite genders react to each other and perceive each other. Now this is sex fantasy of course, it’s not meant to be taken as a real representation of how gender works in the real world, but it does have some unfortunate side effect takes on gender identity that might be off-putting to some readers.

STEAMINESS
The sex in this is very sweet and very porny. Arnold is a typical fuckboy kind of guy, a guy who just wants to unwind with a lap dance from a stripper and doesn’t really think much about women beyond being a hot pair of tits. This makes it all the more satisfying that not only does he end up turned into a woman and learning about female sexuality from first hand experience, but that he comes to love being a woman and leaving behind that kind of sexist machismo. I really loved Annie and her sensuality, and I really loved Cash as well. The story even at one point brings up the notion of Yeerk (sorry, Yuck) infested sex and the consent implications involved in an alien using their host bodies to experience sex which is ground that the series Animorphs never touched, being a kid’s series, but did almost touch on. The sex scenes are very good at grounding the reader in an experiential quality that puts you there with the characters, and while it’s all way too vanilla for me to really find hot, it was well written and engaging to read.

As a longtime Animorphs fan and a person who now reads mostly adult fetish fiction, I was thrilled to read an adult Animorphs parody novel. I really adored this book, despite its flaws, and I am so happy to have read it, and happy that it exists. Even if you’ve never read the Animorphs books, this is a fun transformation kink romance novel that you’re bound to enjoy if you like lots of enthusiastic fucking and gender fantasy.

Have you read Annie Morphs? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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