LD Durham's Reviews > Gadarene

Gadarene by Tina Anderson
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's review
Feb 05, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: m-m-romance, general-fiction, historical, favorites
Recommended to LD by: Elisa
Read in February, 2008

Gadarene is a phenomenal book. It’s rare to find a book in this genre that pulls you into the story. Even more rare in the fact that this is a historical work. Absolutely stunning.

Even more fascinating is that Wira, our transgendered character, is in no way a chick-with-a-dick character. Wira is Wira. There is no other way to put it. Wira’s character is written so well, so perfectly, that even as she is referred to as a girl, as I refer to her as “she”, never did I feel I was reading a hetero story. Not once. Wira is strong, loving, helpful, but has her faults, too. Wira is Wira. When you read this, you’ll understand.

The setting and time played an integral part in this story. So many times, historical fictions gloss over the not-so-great stuff. Not Gadarene. This book lays it out as smelly, dirty, hard, cramped, cold, and not so great. And the people are the same. Calling people by racial nicknames: a given. Cleanliness: maybe. Food: you hope. Struggle: you bet. Because of this, there is no whitewashing in order to keep modern sensibilities. Wira had to survive while Galen was gone, and she did it the best way she could. Galen never bats an eye at his lover’s ‘profession’. Galen is a hired thug, an assassin. Wira worries, but can’t stop it. The people in this story can’t afford high-class morality.

Another thing I found spectacular is the gender roles played out in the story. Wira sees herself as a woman. Wira acts like a woman. Galen knows what Wira looks like under the dresses. Galen treats Wira like a woman. When he comes back home, he takes the role of the man. This doesn’t mean Wira becomes an empty-headed doll. It does mean that Wira falls into the role of a woman in the rough side of town. I loved it and thought it absolutely brilliant. Again, never did I feel I was reading a hetero story. I salute the authors for this feat of genius.

When it came to the horror aspect, the authors didn’t hesitate. It hits full-force without it being gory. Okay, maybe a tad bit. But mainly, it’s just creepy and gave me a great scare. The way the story unfolds, with memories and dreams, it kept me on my toes and off-kilter.

The best part (I know! There’s more?) is that this is a story I couldn’t just put down after the end. It stayed with me. The mystery continued to get solved in my brain; the little details of the setting and characterization slowly slid into the light and made me gasp in delight while I was doing the dishes. It’s a story that I had to tell others about, to talk it out, and make further discoveries. The story is still with me. It makes me greedy and demanding and hoping for a sequel of some sort, any sort. But, really, I couldn’t be happier with the ending. I couldn’t be happier with this book.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves excellent characterization, historicals, mysteries, or horrors. I would be shocked if those who read it didn’t love it. If you don’t “get it” after the last page, give your brain a couple of days. Let is set a while before making a firm decision. You’ll be glad you did.

I read the print edition of this book. Buy the print edition. You will want to hug and stroke this book. Save your monitor and just get the print edition. Besides, you'll also want to be able to easily flip the cover over to stare at the art. It's gorgeous and so ambiguous. It couldn't have summed up this story any better.

See the rest of this review at Top & Bottom Book Review.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Nancy (new) - added it

Nancy Great review!

LD  Durham Thank you!

message 3: by Daisiemae (new) - added it

Daisiemae Wow..this certainly looks interesting. Another one to add to the pile:)

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