M/M Literature

C.S. Pacat – The Summer Palace | Captive Prince 3.5

33230173The beauty of C.S. Pacat‘s books is something to savor. Yet I swallowed “The Summer Palace” (Captive Prince 3.5; ISBN13 9780987622303; 30p.; Goodreads) in one night, not something my exhausted mind allows often these days.

The story is set after the third book, so make sure you’ve read them before heading into this one. After the gruesome battle with the regent and those loyal to him, or yet, opposing Damianos as rightful heir of Akielos, both him and Laurent took to their own kingdoms. To mend, secure their positions, and maybe set some order. Yet before doing so they agreed: when all of this is over, they will meet in an Akielon summer palace for a breath. And today is the day for that.

Laurent stood there, waiting, in Akielon garbs, his yellow hair now longer, watching the road for any signs of King Damianos and his entourage. But Damian took a shortcut, in a hurry to see his friend, his lover, and surprised both Laurent, and the scarce skeleton staff in the palace. He was in too much hurry to see him again, to talk, to rest. And discuss things, for there’s certainly still plenty of water under the bridge to sort out. Not the least or last question being what customs they’ll follow in their new palace on the border of their countries.

This was a beautiful recap of what happened, and an even more beautiful ending to it all. Also, I was right, the more Laurent trusted being safe in his surroundings, in people around, the less clothes happened. Theory confirmed, 5 out of 5.

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Categories: 5-5, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: C.S. Pacat – Green but for a Season | Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5

31814812Most of you don’t even know that I recently re-read the Captive Prince trilogy. Well, I did, and then I remembered there’s short stories I didn’t yet get to! “Green but for a Season” by C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince Short Stories 2.5; ISBN B01LB1H41E; 24p.; Goodreads) is the first one, held between the second and third books, and concentrates on Laurent’s captain, Jord.

Jord is a lowborn nobody with a well honed fighting skill. It was because of this skill that prince Auguste has noticed him back in the day, and took him into the ranks. Later, as Auguste fell in the battlefield, and red regent flags covered up the blue ones of the prince, soldiers and guards either took up the red, or were put away. Lowborns were the least wanted. So here he was, trying to make due for years. Up until prince Laurent grew a little, and realized what game his uncle was playing. Seeing the dangers, he decided to form his own Prince’s Guard, with gold starburst on blue, not red, and for that he wanted only the best of the best. And his brother surely knew who the best were. So, again, here he was, Jord, trying to make due, as Laurent called upon him, promised him this will be even harder than it was with Auguste, and asking if he’ll take up arms for him, the way he did for his brother. Jord didn’t need to be asked twice.

Today Jord is a captain, proud to serve prince Laurent, who proved true to his word. The boy protected them, and in return, they were ready to kill and die protecting him. Still, a captain’s rank to a nobody seemed a dream beyond wildest of hopes. Especially in a situation where an actual high-born nobleman was present. A nobleman who was forced to serve the prince, as the youngest son, with least prospects, other than a good betting chip, in case Regent gets fooled. And maybe, just maybe Laurent knew it before Jord did.

This was a very fine read, shining light on many things at last. 5 out of 5, not even a half point less.

Categories: 5-5, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles – Jackdaw

34861586I miss A Charm of Magpies so much. So, of course, I went ahead and took the “Jackdaw” by K.J. Charles (ISBN13 9780995799059; 222p.; Goodreads), for it is set in the same world, has familiar characters, and the family of four that we love turns up too. And I loved it, I very much did. But now I miss them even more, dammit!

Jonah is the infamous windwalker thief, who worked for the bad guys in the final book of Charm of Magpies. He was blackmailed to help them capture Stephen Day, or his source of power – the Ring of the Magpie Lord, and Lucien Vaudrey, tho it is unlikely anyone knew that one didn’t work without the other. It worked as a trap for Stephen, and that’s all that mattered. That’s how Jonah made sure Ben, his beloved, lives.

Ben, due to his relation with the infamous windwalker thief, and their relationship, ended up in prison for a few months. Worse than the experience was his false belief, that Jonah used him, and then discarded of him. He walks out determined to settle the scores. Time for Jonah to taste the prison bread. As a practitioner he will have to be restrained, of course. As a windwalker, he’ll likely get hobbled. He’ll never walk, let alone fly… And the more Ben thinks of this, of that charming, smiling being, the time they spent together, the more he doubts his plan as fair. So he arranges to meet the man before hand. Next thing you know, they’re escaping justice together, over the rooftops, through the air!

This was a lovely book. Almost idyllic, tho nothing goes through butter. It reminded me how much I love Lucien and Stephen. For that alone I could give it all the points. But luckily, the story was good too, so it’s a 5 out of 5, for more fair and less biased reasons.

Categories: 5-5, Alternative History Books, Books of Occult, Books: Fantasy, Books: LGBT, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature, urban fantasy | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Friday: Diversity | C.S. Pacat

DKxQjzJVAAAae2IC.S. Pacat, after finishing her Captive Prince trilogy, which I love very much, as you might know by now, was fairly quiet. But recently we were finally told why. She is working intently on a comic of fencing school. I must admit right away, I’m not the greatest fan of comics/manga. I’ve read a few that I loved to bits, and I’m sure that out there there are more that I would love, if I just found them. But in general, it is not my cup of tea. Still, due to my love for this author, I will absolutely look into it, and will let you know how’s what.

In the meantime, I leave you with a video of my friend from [P.S. I Love that Book], where I now officially write blog entries too, under the name of Nosferatu. She explains why she loved the Captive Prince book too, and maybe her opinion, being less biased than mine, will help you decide to pick it up too. I’m really happy that she touched the sore subjects too, and explained her views on them.

 

Categories: Books: Everything, Books: LGBT, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – The White Road [5]

6290240Here goes another Nightrunner book by Lynn Flewelling. Honestly, I don’t know why the books are called that way, when there’s far more, far greater things happening in them, and nightrunning is a rare occasion. But I digress, as I often do, let’s instead talk about “The White Road” (Nightrunner 5; ISBN 055359009X; 385p.; Goodreads), for this, sadly, is the less interesting book, again. Can’t be helped, the previous one was pretty great.

Sebrahn, a homonculus child, created out of Alec’s blood, was considered a failure by his maker. Alchemist was prepared to chop the kid up in pieces if it failed it’s primal purpose of healing, for that’s what the client, one of the Aurenfae clan leaders, has requested for. Yet here he is, more unique than any other homonculus ever made. More useful, and far more dangerous than any before him too. But before his maker could figure all that out, Seregil and Alec made a run for it, grabbing Sebrahn with them, and killing the alchemist. By doing so, tho, they condemned themselves to be hunted once more.

The dying clan leader, at the very least, wants the books back, and is willing to take any measures necessary to get them. If he could possibly get Sebrahn too, it’d be even better, for one can never know how much time one has left. But that’s by far not the greatest of dangers Alec and Seregil are about to meet. The magic that created Sebrahn belongs to Alec’s people, and they want it back. These secretive, secluded people, ruthless with their rules, and unbelievable with their magic.

The book was a bit unpleasant to read. While we were assured that homunculus is more a dragon that looks like a humanoid, everyone around Alec treats it like it is a child, especially Alec himself. So when they start pondering whether to give the kid to whoever promises not to kill it, how difficult it is with him, etc., it just strikes all the wrong cords for me. And in general – there was oh so much traveling, walking, riding. I’ll give this book 3 out of 5, but I do expect the next one to be better, as tradition sorta demands now.

Categories: 3-5, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Lara Elena Donnelly – Amberlough

29939270I heard a lot of good on “Amberlough” by Lara Elena Donnelly (ISBN 0765383810; 400p.; Goodreads), thus I expected a lot of good too. Sadly, that’s not what I got. But the book was very unique, and pleasant in its own way. Like an interwar story set in a fantasy place: spies, soldiers, politics and trouble when your views on it are wrong, and so on.

Amberlough is the Heart city of Gedda. Full of corruption, bright lights, spies, ugly politics, and revolution, if not outright war, smell in the air. This smell gets stronger as the reader progresses. It all starts fairly innocently tho. Cyril DePaul, against his wishes, against his horror, and fear, is sent back out into the field. As a master spy, he ends up on the other side of the front lines. He’s doing his job well, but soon is informed – there’s a mole on their side. Cyril DePaul is exposed. Funny how sometimes you can expect more humanity from the enemy, than your own comrades…

Cyril bargains for his life, for papers that’ll get him, and his lover Aristide out of the city before the war starts outright. Thanks to Aristide he even gets a very good cover, a woman who can pretend to be his mistress, and not get appalled or run blabbing when she finds out he’s not interested in her. The three of them end up helping each other a lot, sometimes on purpose, other times – by pure accident. But that still doesn’t mean all goes well. It never does, does it?

The book is interesting world-wise. The story itself is mediocre. It’s not bad, truly, no. It’s just not so special either. I do believe that people who like stories from interwar times, rowdy soldiers catcalling at nightclubs, and said club owners shivering at the backstage, for one wrong show will set their property ablaze – will like this book. The characters are interesting, and as I said, the world is too. I can give it a firm 3.5 out of 5, easily.

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mackenzi Lee “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” [1]

29283884I waited for “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” by Mackenzi Lee (ISBN 0062382802; 513p.; Goodreads) even before it was released. Which is a mighty rare thing for a first book (or a stand alone, we’ll see), and not, say, second or third in the series. Luckily, I didn’t get disappointed either!

Henry Montague is a fine man, an heir to a fairly great estate, and a son of great disappointment to his father. He was kicked out of school for, allegedly, starting a fight. He dallies with anyone on two legs, men, and women. He’s rarely ever sober, and shows little to no interest in running the estate! His father’s last hope is a voyage across Europe on which he sends Henry out, together with a very strict guardian, his sister, and his best friend. With whom Henry is secretly in love with…

The tour starts out pretty boring at first. Their guardian keeps his word, and makes sure everyone’s in line. Henry can’t go party, he’s not allowed to drink, and he’s going crazy. Yet he’ll surely miss these simple days once adventures come uninvited. Highway men, pirates… And all due to a damned box he pocketed!

The story was very fun, and often – very funny. It was easy to read, and I’m real happy about everything in it. So I’ll give it 5 out of 5, and won’t mind a sequel if such comes to be.

Categories: 5-5, Books of Occult, Books: Everything, Books: Funny!, Friday: Diversity, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Diversity: Censoring

[1]; [2]

I speak of V.E. Schwab‘s Shades of Magic often, and with pleasure, for they’re truly among my very top favorite books of all times. But not all the reasons to talk about it are good.

Russian editions of Shades of Magic were censored. Queer part of the plot was redacted out, without author’s permission or knowledge. Which leads author to consider canceling the whole contract.

I don’t much follow the love lines in stories, for they’re mostly the same regurgitated things. Not in this case. Here there was no “no, you have betrayed me, I never want to see you again!” thing. Instead two adults sat down, spoke it out, considered it, and all things weighted – decided where to go on from there. The only thing that they could’ve had any issue with is of course the fact, that both these characters were men.

The story is not about queers. The story is not about homosexual love. The story is not even about love. It’s about magic, human nature, wishes, adventures, and so on. So in a world full of magic, rising dead, and portals to other worlds – here, apparently, can be no gays.

“Oh, that’d be too much!” – Said a man on his unicorn.

For next Friday I have you a very nice queer-plot book thus. Because love is love.

Categories: Fantasy Books, Friday: Diversity, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Lynn Flewelling – Shadows Return [4]

2065091The tradition continues with Nightrunner series. Every second book is far better than the previous one. So while I didn’t much like the fae realms, I did love all that happened in “Shadows Return” by Lynn Flewelling (Nightrunner 4; ISBN 0553590081; 522p.; Goodreads). It had a good pace, and a great, alchemy filled story.

Seregil and Alec return to Rhimenee, hoping to create a new runner persona, since their previous alter ego had to die. Even the most clueless nobles of the city might have otherwise noticed the pattern: Cat returns when Lord Seregil returns! Odd! Yet their fate had other plans for them. Remember that prophecy by oracle? Time to put it back in motion. Seregil and Alec end up in slavers hands, and are taken to enemy lands, where fae blood, especially the kind Alec has in his veins, is highly valued. Thus, they are separated, and sold…

Seregil, away from Alec, ends up at the mercy of his former lover, the man who betrayed him, the man who had him exiled. The only joy Seregil now has is the bittersweet knowledge: he is a slave too, if gilded.

The story was really pretty great, reminded me of Anne Rice’s “Claiming Beauty” trilogy, and C.S. Pacat “Captive Prince” too. I’ll give it a firm 4 out of 5, and hope it continues with these great topics!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, Fantasy Books, high fantasy, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

K.J. Charles – A Gentleman’s Position [3]

25893424I somehow didn’t realize third book of Society of Gentlemen by K.J. Charles is out. Something in my brain thought it’s to yet happen. But I remedied myself quickly, after a friend corrected me, and got on with finishing the trilogy with “A Gentleman’s Position” (Society of Gentlemen 3; ISBN 1101886072; 246p.; Goodreads). And I can say that this one is my favorite one. With slight Kuroshitsuji vibe of resourceful butler, here – valet…

David Cyprian, Lord Richard Vane’s valet, goes out of his way, and beyond, to keep his master’s comfort. It is why, after all, he’s the very best, and most sought after valet. It is his pride, and joy to serve such a great man as Lord Richard, so when the need comes for him to blackmail, bribe, and burglar – the man takes it as his duty, no less. After all, he’s not a gentleman himself, and, truth be told, has a thing or two he could live with staying hidden from his personal life, and the past. The only little problem is that he is in love with his master. And there’s nothing to be done about it.

Richard Vane is a powerful man, with strong morals, and great mind. Made even better by his resourceful, irreplaceable valet, he tackles even the worst of situations, such as a threat hanging above the head of his beloved friends. Someone wants to expose them, and Richard is just not having it. Especially not when he sees nothing wrong with two men in love. After all, he himself harbors less pure thoughts about his valet too…

While a little slow with action, this was a great book, made so by Cyprian’s character. He’s clever, and resourceful, something I keep mentioning in my review a lot, and I think, in some other book, he would’ve made a great villain. 4 out of 5, very firm!

Categories: 4-5, Books: Everything, LGBTQ+ Books, M/M Literature | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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