There are a few books that I have read that affected me so much that they even changed the way I think. Kay's books all helped me become a better writ...moreThere are a few books that I have read that affected me so much that they even changed the way I think. Kay's books all helped me become a better writer, but it was this book that taught me nuance, subtlety and the beauty of prose.
It's not perfect. I have some issues with the transition from our world to Fionavar. Namely, I thought the characters were too accepting of the whole idea of magic and I also found the lack of a language barrier to be implausible.
The character of Paul touched me deeply. I was in a dark place at the time and his utter misery and self-loathing resonated with me. So, too, did the story of his best friend Kevin who cared so deeply about him.
The Fionavar Tapestry is about incredible acts of heroism and self-sacrifice. It's about the defiance of good in a world on the brink of falling into darkness.
And it is about five people who stumble into that world and are each changed at their core. (less)
**spoiler alert** It's important to understand that while I liked this book, it cannot really accurately be described as, well, good. That might sound...more**spoiler alert** It's important to understand that while I liked this book, it cannot really accurately be described as, well, good. That might sound strange, but it's rather accurate, as my feelings on this book are rather contradictory.
The premise is fairly straight forward, m/m, GFY, jock-lust fantasy sort of thing. I certainly can't go around throwing stones at people writing stories about jocks being seduced into a gay relationship. And I thought it was handled reasonably well.
The problem is the main character. Tommy is whatever male equivalent you prefer to use for the term Mary Sue. (Marty Stu is the one I hear the most.) There is simply nothing that Tommy doesn't do to superb perfection, be it cleaning to pledging to singing. He is simply perfect. That doesn't really leave a lot of room for the character to grow and in fact, he doesn't.
The next thing the story does which had me completely confounded is to introduce magic. Not full-blown, Harry Potter magic, but just very simple Wiccan spells and blessings. At first, it was suggested this art was very rare and its practitioners were very secretive. Tommy was the heir of his grandmother's power (which of course, he excelled at.)
And that was okay. It was an interesting story quirk. Until the next character brings in the fact that his mother (or grandmother, not sure, it's been a while) was into Santaria and he therefore ALSO knows a lot about spells. Fairly quickly and without much surprise, the entire fraternity accepts that this magic is real.
That had me scratching my head, but the author was not done. Soon, Tommy's lover's mom interrogates him, wanting to know if he put a spell on her heretofore straight jock son. Once promised that is not the case, she is totes accepting of Tommy (natch) but the fact that she too accepted the reality and potency of magic in a world where it is not supposed to exist had me laughing in a way that I am sure the author did not intend.
There is also some troubling characterization of one of the girl's in the story--the rival for Tommy's BF's affection. To me, the audacious portrayal of this young woman was hilarious in the way it played up every stereotype there is about girls--but it does smack of misogyny.
All that being said, the book made me laugh, and that goes a long way to making me forgive certain massive flaws in the narrative. Tommy was a little dull because he was so flawless, but he was sweet and I liked that he was so level-headed. His BF, Mark, makes the transition from straight to gay without much fuss, which is better than the usual histrionics we have to go through. And the villains, while playing to stereotypes, were fun to hate.
So I always recommend this book with a lot of caveats. For a light, fluffy romance without much substance, it's wonderful to curl up with. (less)
The Stone Prince works for me on every level. I love Fantasy that borrows heavily from real world history. I was enamored of a world of absolute equal...moreThe Stone Prince works for me on every level. I love Fantasy that borrows heavily from real world history. I was enamored of a world of absolute equality where men and women shared power without any sort of prejudice and where being gay or bi was considered entirely normal.
But what makes this book one of my absolute favorites is that it is a character's journey. We get a glimpse of Demnor as a child, happy and hopeful. And then we see him as a teen, broody, uncertain and entirely adorable. But the book focuses then on Demnor the man, damaged and warped by his psychologically abusive mother.
Interweaving the complex psychology of child abuse into a Fantasy novel is nothing short of brilliant. Through metaphor and allegory, Demnor is made to feel all of the shame and inadequacy that so many victims feel.
It can be argued that Kelahnus, his lover and Companion, is the real hero of the story. He has been waging a silent war against Demnor's mother for years, trying to keep his beloved prince from succumbing to her influence.
This Fantasy book is unlike anything I have ever read. I can't say that everyone will love it as much as I did, but it remains one of my all time favorite novels.(less)
**spoiler alert** I seem to always be stuck in the middle with this book. There are some who see it as an outstanding work of gay youth literature and...more**spoiler alert** I seem to always be stuck in the middle with this book. There are some who see it as an outstanding work of gay youth literature and there are those who see it as total drivel. Depending who I'm with, I either wind up defending it or taking it apart.
The most important thing for me is that I really liked Thom Creed, the main character. He was flawed, but not hopeless, not super bright but not an imbecile. He was very much your average guy--with super powers. And he happens to be gay.
The relationship with his father is positive, but strained. That created an interesting bit of dramatic tension. I also liked his love interest, who I thought was a good foil for Thom.
But I'm afraid the book stumbles badly. The relationship with Thom and his BF just comes out of nowhere. The suddenness with which they decide they are interested in each other romantically would have been okay if the romantic sub plot wasn't then immediately tossed aside.
I will echo what others have said--the plagiaristic feel of the world's main super heroes was off-putting. We have grown to accept certain common super powers--strength, flight, invisibility, etc. But Moore wasn't content to just borrow the powers of DC's Justice League, he took their origins too. That made the book read like a piece of fanfiction which I found distracting.
His mother's character makes no sense at all, including her inexplicable death. And the way Thom is orphaned but that doesn't seem to be a big deal to him really ruined the ending for me.
In the end, I did enjoy the book, but I thought it could have been worlds better. (less)