Tal Valante was my editor for Counterpoint and Crescendo--absolutely, stunningly brilliant beyond compare. If you enjoyed those titles, I think you'llTal Valante was my editor for Counterpoint and Crescendo--absolutely, stunningly brilliant beyond compare. If you enjoyed those titles, I think you'll really love her first piece :)...more
I think I spent this entire book rolling my eyes. The writing was solid on the sentence level but a train wreck everywhere else. One protagonist was TI think I spent this entire book rolling my eyes. The writing was solid on the sentence level but a train wreck everywhere else. One protagonist was TSTL (Gabriel), and the only reason he did live was because the other protagonist, Ethan--the one with the gun who Gabriel insisted on alternately antagonizing and fantasizing over despite the fact that Ethan broke into his house, cuffed him, called him a fag, threatened to kill him repeatedly, even pistol whipped and beat him--had roller-coaster sized mood swings that came out of nowhere and lacked any clear motivation. The whole thing read like a bad porn fantasy--you know, the kind where you answer the doorbell to discover that the pizza guy isn't wearing any pants, except this time with capture and abuse. Now, I'm as prone to fantasize over capture and abuse as the next gal (probably much more so, tbh), but I need organics; I want the characters to act like sane people with motivations that make sense, rather than do what the author tells them to because the author requires a certain behavior to drive the story.
Even worse than all of that, at the end (view spoiler)[ZOMG IT WAS ALL JUST A DREAM! (hide spoiler)], of course, and we should have seen that coming because it was the only way that the prior 9/10ths of the novel made even the remotest smidge of sense.
I got this with a 50% off coupon at Fictionwise, so for $2 I don't particularly consider it time or money wasted (see above re: my love of capture fantasies), but it really was just not at all well done on a structural, plot, or character level and I don't think I could in good conscience recommend this to anyone.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I feel like this story held a lot of potential that was almost entirely sacrificed to length. Essentially, this read like an outline. Conceptually intI feel like this story held a lot of potential that was almost entirely sacrificed to length. Essentially, this read like an outline. Conceptually interesting, but far too much telling and not nearly enough showing. This made forming emotional connections to the characters very hard, as did the hugely insufficient reason for Jinsu to leave behind all he's ever known and loved--with no way to get back--for something he'd only dreamed of. It was a hard sell, and not set up well enough for me to buy (which is a good example, btw, of where I think taking real time and space with the story rather than cramming it into a short might have made a significant difference in quality and believability). I was also kind of blindsided by twincest, of which no mention is made in the blurb. I'll grant you it's not a big part of the story, but it's very much not my kink and some warning would have been nice ;-)
On the plus side, the writing on the sentence level is decent. There were very occasional bursts of absolute brilliance. (My favorite? "Jesus fucking Christ. You're still here? You're really here?" "I am." Jinsu had no idea who Jesus and Christ were, or why it mattered that they were fucking.) There were sadly less occasional bursts of painful cliche, and some language in the sex scenes that put me off completely (". . . his cock pumping sticky creamy juice," for example). The premise is quite interesting. The way that Jinsu reacted to the strangeness of the world around him when he first crossed over was one of my favorite parts of the story. But it was sketched through so quickly that the writer was almost forced into cliche to convey his thoughts because he left himself no room for actual scenes and emotional development. I'd have loved to have seen this as a novella, but as a short story it simply falls flat....more
This is a beautiful story in terms of mood and feel, an aching tone perfectly conveyed despite the shortness of the piece. The historical details areThis is a beautiful story in terms of mood and feel, an aching tone perfectly conveyed despite the shortness of the piece. The historical details are subtle, fluid, and evocative--very clearly the hand of Aleks we've all come to expect. The sex is SCORCHING hot (for this I blame Raev ;-p), the sort of dubious consent--half rape, half burning need--that I also associate very strongly with Aleks. It was in fact so hot that I consider having read it in the waiting room of a doctor's office a HUGE mistake; read this one in private, folks :D
Be warned that there is significant head-hopping in this piece, and sometimes that makes it hard to figure out who's talking or thinking. That structural issue is the only thing keeping this from a 5-star rating for me. I also wish it were a little longer, but mostly just because I was enjoying it so much I didn't want it to end. Only one scene (the one at the very end) felt like it could have benefited from more time and space on the page; the rest of it was paced and developed exactly as it should have been: a sort of fast-moving fury of narrative that very much matched the characters themselves.
I recommend this story very highly. It's a delicious lunchtime nibble--a thoroughly immersive, super hot short escape....more