Okay, I’m not going to get into the politics of this fairly mediocre gay romance novel… I’m really not… I shouldn’t… It doesn’t deserve my time… But…
So, the basic premise is that there’s this guy named Darien, and he’s an orphan, and a butcher — like an old school butcher who works with his hands. He’s lonely and disconnected from the world at the start of the book, but then he takes an ayahuasca trip, and it expands his horizons. He becomes super dominant and gets supernatural abilities, which is good, because he needs to be powerful if he’s going to stop this old library from being torn down and replaced with condos.
Which gets us to the politics of the piece. There’s a lot of appreciation of craftsmen and the working class, and strong anti-gentrification rhetoric, but also??? It feels weird??? The appreciation is almost fetishistic, which like, there are worse things to kink on, but also, working class people are people, and the whole thing seems a little bit sketch. I don’t think I actually disagree with the big political ideas, I’m just baffled by how they’re presented here. This book makes some weird choices.
There’s a whole section set in and after the Civil War, which seems to be very historically accurate, very dour, and also very unnecessary? A lot of things never get explained, which could be setting up a sequel, but a better book would have made it feel smoother.
The central romance is pretty flat — more about animal attraction than any sort of compelling reason for them to get together. Darien is a list of cliches instead of a three dimensional character, pleasant enough but flat.
I did like some of the stuff in the world building. The werewolves here aren’t bitten or changed in a traditional sense, they have some sort of otherworldly experience and begin transforming. My sXe princples think it’s pretty boring that otherworldly experience seems only to serve as stand it for drug trip, but it is a different take on weres, and there’s something to it. They also have an aristocratic court system that is intriguing, but never explained. It doesn’t really fit with the power to the worker! rhetoric that the book’s so gung ho about, but it’s kind of fun.
It’s on kindle unlimited if you feel like checking it out, but it’s definitely skippable.