Abigail Hilton's Reviews > Wicked Gentlemen

Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale
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Nov 17, 2008

really liked it
Read in January, 2008

Wicked Gentleman is a fun book, although the title and flap-copy are misleading. The two main characters are never really at odds with each other, nor are they especially wicked. I don't think it's accurate to call it gay romance, either. If the main characters were straight, it wouldn't be called straight romance. It would just be called steam-punk gothic fantasy. The setting is a well-imaged steam-punk universe where the devils of hell have been converted to Christianity, but their ancestors live as a subclass of half-humans, repressed and distrusted by humanity. The main characters solve a murder mystery and work out some of their personal angst in the course of the story.

The author excels at description and ambiance. The smells, sounds, and tastes of her world come through so clearly that you can almost see it like a movie. The world-building is also ingenious, with lots of little believable details. However, this does feel like a first novel, and it feels like the author may have cut her teeth on fan fiction. There are places where the dialogue becomes stilted or self-indulgent, and the character's feelings are unnecessarily analyzed and explained by the narrator. Some of the hurt/comfort scenes feel contrived. However, just when the author seems to have slipped into a rut, she regains her balance with a truly funny or insightful line. Overall, it was a fun book, and I hope to see more from her.
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Lindsey "I don't think it's accurate to call it gay romance, either. If the main characters were straight, it wouldn't be called straight romance."
This is my constant gripe with classification. You put it quite succinctly. I view it as more gothic fantasy than M/M. It just happens to have a relationship tied into the plot; it's not the crux.


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