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Archive for the tag “gay fantasy”

Jordan L Hawk has the recipe for delicious storytelling

Whyborne and Griffin novels by Jordan L Hawk

Book 1

Who wouldn’t like a series of books that are intellectual, mysterious, paranormal and romantic?

Sometimes, it feels a little as if Jordan L Hawk has thrown a melting pot of genres into the Whyborne and Griffin novels, but instead of a goupy mess she has concocted delicious storytelling. Hawk’s author bio reads that she grew up on tales of haints and mountain magic, and those influences certainly come through in her books.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why the Whyborne & Griffin series — going strong after 6 full-length novels and a couple of shorter novellas — has such staying power.

First, there’s the intellectual: We’ll give this esteemed designation to Percival Endicott Whyborne, a scholar at the Ladysmith Museum who reads dead languages (and eventually learns the arts of sorcery). It could be argued there are plenty of other intellectuals in the book, such as Whyborne’s colleague, Christine, a noted archaeologist.

Then, there’s the mysterious: With Griffin Flaherty, an ex-Pinkerton detective, at his side, is it any wonder there’s plenty of mystery to these books? But unlike those old “whodunnit” mysteries, you can bet Whyborne’s skills will be just as necessary as Griffin’s to unravel the truth.

Hoarfost

Book 6

The Paranormal is Paramount, too: From monsters that can melt the skull of a man to a sorceress risen from the dead, Whyborne and Griffin find plenty of otherworldly forces to fight book after book. Each tale is painstakingly developed, with a scholarly dedication that befits the creator of Whyborne.

Last, but not least, is the Romance: Whyborne’s character begins as a repressed gay man determined to suppress his desires after the death of a friend he secretly loved. Griffin bears his own scars after a traumatic experience with the Pinkertons and a forced stay at an insane asylum. Throughout the series, their relationship evolves from attraction to love to commitment, weathering all the rocky points in between. As the series’ broader story themes develop, so does Whyborne and Griffin’s relationship.

I love gay fiction — from sweet romance to paranormal/fantasy — but even if you don’t particularly seek out gay themes in your reading choices, I urge you to explore this series. If you love books that are smart, mysterious, otherworldly and romantic, then this is the series for you.

Explore the Whyborne & Griffine series of books here. 

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‘Life is Awesome’ when you read this series

Gay fantasy booksPrepare yourself: This book review contains glowing praise that may only be suitable for avid readers.

If Jordan Castillo Price wasn’t already one of my favorite gay fantasy/paranormal authors, she would have cemented her place in the list with her Mnevermind trilogy. I spent the weekend reading the third book, “Life is Awesome,” and it was, well, awesome.

While I enjoyed the “Psycop” series for which Jordan Castillo Price is best known, the Mnevermind series has a depth that you won’t find in her other books. Part of that is probably her main character’s emotional baggage.  Protagonist Daniel Schroeder is carrying a boatload of guilt and responsibility on his shoulders, and he’s continually inches from his breaking point.

The series in built on the fascinating premise that people can pay a price to experience memories while in a dreamlike state. Daniel trained as a memorysmith — someone who can create  memory programs — and he and his father were on the fast track to success with their own memory palace when something went drastically wrong. A mnem Daniel smithed, “Life is Awesome,” created a persistent false memory that has wreaked havoc in his father’s life.

Daniel struggles day by day, as he works overtime to keep his struggling memory palace open and drowns in guilt over what happened to his father. Only with the introduction of Elijah Crowe, a mnem tech enthusiast, can Daniel begin confronting all the emotional baggage he’s carried and find some happiness for himself.

Learning to understand and love Elijah is tricky, because as someone on the autism spectrum he doesn’t quite see the world like other people do. Elijah is an intriguing character, and his autism just adds another level of depth to the story. But while autistic characters are beginning to show up  in more novels, this just may be the first one I found to be entirely believable. As the mother of an autistic child, I was fascinated with Elijah and impressed with how real he seemed.

With complex characters and impressive world-building, you can’t go wrong with the Mnevermind trilogy. If you haven’t read any of these books and you enjoy fantasy, then I definitely recommend you check them out.

You can find books by Jordan Castillo Price here.

 

 

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