Erastes's Reviews > Shattered Glass

Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander
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May 06, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: contemporary
Read in May, 2012

** spoiler alert ** I very rarely read contemporaries, for various reasons: I live in the now, so I'm not really interested in reading about a world I live in, and also many gay contemps that i read are filled with soppy cowboys, weeping cops and girlie vampires.

I was intrigued by a friend's post about this so I bought a copy and frankly it's pretty damned good--one of the better contemps by a long shot at least. The writing is well done and the characterisations are excellent. What annoys me is that if it was marketed out of the m/m field and featured on the gay lit sites, and more importantly written by a biological man (yes yes I know that's a pot of worms, but you know what I mean) this would have been embraced and enjoyed hugely by the gay literati.

but what makes it stand out is the fact that it has a PLOT. Plot is sadly lacking in m/m these days, it's just a case of "guy sees guy, insta love, minor conflict to prevent them getting together, getting together lots of sex, hea." This is plottier than an entire season of CSI. And that's what kept me reading because there were other things that put me off. I was so impressed by the Marlowe-esque twisty turny manner of the plot that I decided to give up doing a complicated plot in my WIP because I'll never manage it like this. Despite the other things that I didn't like about this book, it's Alexander's plotting that will encourage me to try another of his books.

What I didn't like much was the main protagonist, he really annoyed me and at times I wanted to smack him. This isn't a draw back to the book, I should point out, because he's deliberately written to be an annoying bastard. EVERYONE finds him annoying, from his love interest to the cops he works with and so on. What I didn't like was that he didn't have any redeeming features, like - for example, Harry Dresden, who is just as annoying, but has a warm side - and is just 100 percent irritating and I wouldn't have spent five minutes in his company. The danger with creating a deliberately annoying character is that your readers might not then care what happens to him, and whether he gets his HEA - and I'm afraid that i couldn't care less whether he did or not. But he is written that way--and I applaud Alexander for being brave about that. Austin needs to grow up, and I can't say that he did throughout the book, although he learned a hell of a lot about himself.

The secondary characters, Cai, Peter, Luis - even Darryl, although he would have earned a good ear-flicking from me too - I liked immensely. It's Peter that carries this book for me - broken, Austin calls him at the beginning,and although that's true in many ways and for many reasons, he's actually the most mature and has the biggest core of strength throughout, holding everyone else up when they are all falling around him.

The action is great, too, and hugely cinematic. When Alexander writes about violence, it's almost as if he's been there done that, very believable and not at all prettified up. Bullets cause a LOT of damage, not just pretty holes in teeshirts, and this is graphically portrayed. There's a bit where I actually went OH MY GOD NO HE DIDN'T and you'll get to that point too.

Sex - yes, there's a fair amount of it, and this book is required reading because of it. It somehow strides the line between porn and romance, and I don't mean by going down the erotica route. It's kind of romance sex for men, if that makes any sense. Senses probably being the key point, because emotions are firmly repressed here until they are forced kicking and screaming into the daylight. Then shoved back down again. Maleness and masculinity and what roles men play and how and when and how others perceive them are a major theme and quite rightly, aren't solved.

The other thing that galled me was the ending action sequence, because it should really have included Austin and Peter and by having Peter taken to hospital took the heart out of it -- and then there was a HUGELY intrusive scene where everyone was squabbling for about ten (Kindle) pages which drove me mad. (There's a lot of squabbling which drove me mad, throughout, but this end section made me scream with frustration.) If I'd been Austin, I'd have knocked out the irritating kid and got on with what I had to do.

So - in summation(!)I enjoyed this book about 100% times more than I was expecting to, the prose was great and as the first person narration of a irritating git was very good. (Although there was one scene where the POV slipped to Peter's memory which was jarring and didn't work, not in a first person narration book) The sex scenes were a revelation for me, and the action was great. The problems that I didn't like are likely to be things that DO work for others, so don't let that put you off.

get it, read it. It's good.
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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Wonderful review! Maybe Austin is a character who works for some and not others (kind of like the humor in this book). Yes he was a flat out annoying git when he first steps out on the page, but he had redeeming characteristics. The way he opens himself up and throws himself at situations: Peter, discovering his own sexuality, even chasing a perp down the street. Just headlong into whatever life throws at him. That and his generosity override his immaturity and make him one of my favorite characters.

Fun read. Probably the most fun I've had with a book all year.


Erastes Kate wrote: "Wonderful review! Maybe Austin is a character who works for some and not others (kind of like the humor in this book). Yes he was a flat out annoying git when he first steps out on the page, but ..."

Oh I completely agree. I applaud the author for writing a character who could easily be disliked and yet is a real character. He doesn't detract the book in any way.


Elizabetta Kate wrote: "Wonderful review! Maybe Austin is a character who works for some and not others (kind of like the humor in this book). Yes he was a flat out annoying git when he first steps out on the page, but ..."

I totally agree. I saw a lot of redeeming good in Austen and that's what saved him for me. But as you say, Erastes, to each his/her own - that's what it's all about. And great review BTW!!


Erastes Thanks Elizabetta -it's so nice to connect with all these people I haven't done with before!


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