Tag Archives: m/m romance

Review of The 5th Gender (Tinkered Stars Mystery) by G.L. Carriger

I ordered a signed paperback copy of The 5th Gender, by G. L. Carriger from Borderland Books.

Description from Goodreads:

A species that has no word for murder, has a murderer aboard their spaceship. 

ALIEN 

Tristol lives in exile. But he’s built a life for himself aboard a human space station. He’s even begun to understand the complex nuances of human courting rituals. 

Detective Hastion is finally flirting back! 

MURDER 

Except that Tristol’s beloved space station is unexpectedly contacted by the galoi – a xenophobic species with five genders, purple skin, and serious attitude. They need the help of a human detective because there’s a murderer aboard their spaceship. Murder is so rare, the galoi don’t even have a word for it. 

Tristol knows this because he is galoi. 

ROMANCE 

Which means that he and Detective Hastion are on the case… together. 

Review:

I was super excited for this book. Carriger is one of my favorite authors and I thought this sounded like a very sweet MM sci-fi romance (one of my favorite genres). And it is. The problem is that it seems to depend far too heavily on being cute and feel-good and no where near enough on world building, character development and plot (not something I ever expected to say about a Carriger book). 

The love is basically instant, in that the characters are supposed to have been attracted to each other for a while. But all it took was one single conversation for them to go from distant but attracted to ‘lets move in together.’ So, I see no reason for this conversation not to have happened at any point in their past. The mystery is very easy to solve and, in todays (American) political climate, notably pointed. And I was disappointed to find that Carriger created a race with 5 distinct genders, but Tris was so recognizably feminized and then contrasted against Drey’s manly-madness. I feel like the premise promised to challenge gender stereotypes, but instead presented them un-interrogated. 

As always however, the writing is sharp and easy to read. Carriger’s trademark wit and humor are in abundance and the heroes are very likable. Maybe if my hopes hadn’t been so high to begin with I wouldn’t have been so disappointed at the end. It’s not a bad book by any means, just not as great as I had hoped. 

Review of Lars (Witches of London #1), by Aleksandr Voinov

I picked up a copy of Aleksandr Voinov‘s Lars: Witches of London at Amazon, in May of 2018.

Description from Goodreads:

After a homophobic pagan group rejected him, Lars Kendall is a solitary heathen on the Northern Path, loyal to the gods of the Norse pantheon. But being on his own sucks. So when he finally meets a mixed group of other queer witches and magick-users, it’s like finding family. If family involved exploring past lives and casting spells.

Rhys Turner quit a stressful job in the City after his high-strung boyfriend of six years walked out. He sold the expensive flat in central London and bought a run-down house out in the suburbs. Never mind that it needs walls knocked down, its garden landscaped, and what the hell is up with that carpet?

With his health failing, Rhys is desperate for a clean slate and a new start. He isn’t ready to fall in love with anybody, least of all the hunky builder who looks like he’s stepped out of a TV show about Vikings—tattoos, long hair, and all. But as strong and loyal as Lars is, he also has a very soft heart, which might be the hardest thing for Rhys to resist.

Review:

This is very sweet. The problem is that it’s just very sweet. Even with the secondary theme of Lars’ spiritual journey there is NO TENSION in the book. It ticks along in a nice, mild flow. But that’s about it. The writing is lovely, but I often got the sense that there is a little something off with the tenses. I’ve not read a lot of Voinov, but I get the feeling his writing will be very hit or miss for me. This wasn’t quite a miss, but it wasn’t a hit either.

Review of Chaos Station, by Jenn Burke & Kelly Jensen

I purchased a copy of Chaos Station, by Jenn Burke and Kelly Jensen.

Description from Goodreads:

The war with the alien stin is over, but Felix Ingesson has given up on seeing his lover, Zander Anatolius, ever again. Zander’s military file is sealed tighter than an airlock. A former prisoner of war, Felix is attempting a much quieter life keeping his ship, the Chaos, aloft. He almost succeeds, until Zander walks on board and insists that Felix isn’t real.

A retired, broken super soldier, Zander is reeling from the aftereffects of his experimental training and wants nothing more than to disappear and wait for insanity to claim him. Then he sees footage of a friend and ally—a super soldier like him—murdering an entire security squad with her bare hands and a cold, dead look in her eyes. He never expected to find Felix, the man he’d thought dead for years, on the ship he hired to track her down.

Working with Felix to rescue his teammate is a dream come true…and a nightmare. Zander has no exit strategy that will leave Felix unscathed—or his own heart unbroken.

Review:

I enjoyed this. It walks the line between romantic sci-fi and romance in space, and honestly I’m not sure which side it falls on. Either way however, I liked it. 

It’s only about 200 pages long, so it’s not super deep and characters aren’t as well-developed as they might be if the book had another 100 pages. But for a as short as it is, Burke and Jensen create a likable cast and enough of a world to give them life. I rooted for Felix and Zed. My heart broke for Emma. And the rest of the Chaos crew were fun too. 

I did think it dragged a bit in the middle, not progressing in plot as much as you might expect. And the rescue was a tad anti-climactic and border-line repetitive. But overall, I can’t wait to read book two.