Abigail Hilton's Reviews > Luck in the Shadows

Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling
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Aug 28, 10

Read in July, 2010

I wanted to like this book. It's an action/adventure fantasy that contains gay and bi-sexual characters. The book is not a romance and contains plenty of plot and action that have nothing to do with sex. We need more books like this - books with a range of sexual orientation and expression, books that contain gay men in a story that can still be enjoyed by anyone who is not a bigot. Like many straight women, I enjoy stories with gay characters, but I prefer books that have an engaging plot that would stand on its own even without the romance, books that I can share with my boyfriend and see him enjoy. I search for these kinds of stories. I'm glad this one got published.

However, the author is still learning to write here, and it's painful. She does a lot of eye-glazing info dumps. Perhaps she learned how to "show, not tell" in later books, but here she still hasn't learned. The plot and much of the world seem derivative, although some aspects are charming. In this story the Gandalf-ian wizard has a fiery girlfriend and a pair of quarreling apprentices. This makes him seem more human than the average all-knowing wizard. But he's still basically, ya know, Gandalf. The politics are interesting, but presented in a clunky way. The magical system is well-thought out, but delivered in academic detail. Worse, the flirtation between the main characters sometimes reads like slash or bad romance ("he colored hotly") Hotly?! Gahhhh. The descriptions suffered from weird switches between Tolkien-esque fantasy and Japanese Yaoi. I got the idea that she cut her writing teeth on fan fic, and conventions from that world kept making unwelcome appearances.

I read the first half of the book and skimmed the rest. I suspect this author gets better over time, and I may pick up some of her more recent work at some point. Like I said, I'm glad these books were published.
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