Damon Suede's Reviews > precious_boy

precious_boy by K.Z. Snow
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's review
Feb 26, 2011

it was amazing
Read on February 26, 2011

K.Z. Snow surprises me again, and in the best ways.

I had held off reading this book because of the age disparity between the characters. Ukes and semes aside, I'm always a little creeped out by sexually aggressive twinks and dominant older seducers. And I say that as a gay man who had his first boyfriend in high school who was ... um.. NOT in high school. It's a hard thing to do well without writing a NAMBLA jerk-story or a bleak Death in Venice mood piece.

The reason is that often "twinks" in M/M fiction become feminized androids, male only by a narrow margin. It is very easy for them to slide into objectified passivity. Also in M/M, Gay porn is often a flimsy excuse for a lot of robotic harder-faster-longer f%^k-times which are about as romantic as a colostomy. Not here. Ethan is a sexy, believable character, pained and painful. The sex industry is treated as a real business with appeal and dangers. The novel doesn't shy away from hard questions about consent and responsibility... even as it stays firmly in the realm of romantic fantasy. And sexy as it is, dirty as it can get, it is thoughtfully restrained about its sexual encounters. Smart-smart-smart!

Actually Jon was a wonderful character as well, with flaws and anxieties and concern that make him not just appealing but literally heroic. He isn't a cartoony love interest or a handsome lecher. His affection and interference come from a real place. He is a man and like a man he wrestles with his desire and his fear. Yum. He is "rescued right back" as Julia Roberts might say. And the power dynamics between him and his young lover are complex and constantly shifting in surprising and intriguing ways. More than once I found myself wishing the page count of this book was double or triple what it is, just to let these characters unfold further.

Interestingly it is the teenager's fantasy that is the focus, not Jon, the "older" lover. With one neat authorial stitch, she eliminates pedo-creepiness while still wringing angst out of the age disparity gleefully. Clever Ms. Snow! The odd, uncomfortable, inspiring history between the two lovers makes for some lovely tension and stakes that could have driven a much longer novel. That history justifies the porno-track that's claimed such a sensitive young man AND the crushing ambivalence of his love interest. Drama and passion to spare... and not once did I feel that Ethan was being made into a sex object, which is no small feat since he insists that he IS. Snow very carefully builds motivations and conflict and painful pasts that compel all of her characters to do what they must, consequences be damned.

A delightful, moving, sexy short novel. I don't want to spoil any of its pleasures, but I will say that the reveal that Snow brilliantly holds back until the final pages was devastating and RIGHT on every level. Beautiful. She totally tricked me and I was overjoyed to be tricked.

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02/28 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13 of 13) (13 new)

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message 1: by Carmel (new) - added it

Carmel Wow what an amazing review, you should be on a commission Damon, I so want to read this book now!!! Go K.Z. Snow!!

Meri OK, you got me too. It's on my to-read list. I think I'm going to have to expand my March budget for books. ;)

message 3: by K.Z. (new)

K.Z. Snow Looks like I'm -- what? -- a month late in my thanks. (I'm very skittish about checking GR reviews and ratings. They bounce around so much they make me neurotic...and, besides, are for readers, not authors. So I stay away.) Nevertheless, thank you, Damon, for an assessment so well-considered it practically puts the story to shame.

You'll know this soon if you don't already: Having a reader "grasp" a piece of fiction so thoroughly is the best possible high for a writer. I'm humbled and grateful and thrilled. (Is that combo even possible? Must be.) So, thank you again for the thought and time you put into this review.

~ KZ

Leanne This is the second KZ Snow book I've read (in about as many days)based on your reviews and I wanted to say thanks. Thanks for getting me hooked onto a real gem of an author, because Lord knows there's a bunch of mediocre stuff out there, and thanks for two great book recs. : )

message 5: by Michelle (new)

Michelle B Thanks for taking time to summarize and share your thoughts. Love it when I find one of your reviews; have agreed with you so far.

TheFountainPenDiva Thank you so much for this amazing and thorough review! I've never read K.Z. Snow and like you not crazy about the feminized uke/older seme dynamic. But this sounds amazing.

Lori Why the hell haven't I read this book yet?

Damon Suede I dunno! It's gorgeous. Truly.

Fangtasia Gawd, my TBR is out of control, but I can't NOT read it!

message 10: by MLE (new)

MLE This has convinced me to give it a try sometime. I share your reservations about a large age gap. The control issues inherent in many of these stories truly disturb me, and it's a rare story that can make me overlook this. This sounds like it's going to be one of them.

message 11: by Hannah (new) - added it

Hannah The reason is that often "twinks" in M/M fiction become feminized androids, male only by a narrow margin. It is very easy for them to slide into objectified passivity.

I think I understand your meaning here, but I have to take issue with the wording. Passivity is not an innately feminine attribute. This sounds more like infantilization than feminization.

Damon Suede Oh no...I wasn't suggesting that femininity is passive, but that stereotypical femininity is passive. And that by reducing androgynous men to orifices-to-be-penetrated that kind of crappy characterization doubles down on stereotypes.

Jo * Smut-Dickted * Based on this I am going to go purchase right now! Thanks Damon!

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