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"Wizard's First Rule" by Terry Goodkind


"Wizard's First Rule"
 is the first book in the 
The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind.  It is a LOTRistic fantasy with creatures, humans, ghosts and wizards.  No elves.  Abuse and sexuality present (teasing, rape, sexual excitement while hurting someone - and not the enjoyable kind).  

Typical job slots are filled:  paladin, mage, warrior, priestess, dark knight, assassin, that kind of business.  There's a lot of moral digress; it fits but many times your eyes cross with the repeated and repeated and repeated ideologies (or you learn to speed read at those spots in later novels).  The 1st book in this series is old but likable.  After looking back from reading all the series there is almost a longing for the 1st book's innocence.  Terry's style changes slightly as the series advances - most believe he gets better.  Although magic is always present, the number of magical creatures decrease in later novels.  It makes later novels seem more realistic yet I am disappointed at the loss of fanciful wildlife/beings.  Their loss is part of the story line and you keep hoping beyond hope that somehow they'll be magically reborn.

I like nature and woods.  In this I feel Terry is a kindred spirit.  His characters spend a good amount of time in the forest, which is comforting to my soul.

There wasn't a sexy male character I could glom to at first.   Someone might find Richard hot.  Later the series adds some attractive males.  Terry sometimes talks about women to much.  There were times I was bored waiting for attractive men to take the stage.

Rating of 7.

Link: 
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/g/terry-goodkind/

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"The Pedlar and the Bandit King" by Kirby Crow


"The Pedlar and the Bandit King" is the first book in Scarlet & the White Wolf series by Kirby Crow, a homosexual romance.  It has fay and humans.

I like it so far. It reads like every cheesy romance I have ever read; the only difference is the hero and "heroine" are both male.  It is not professional but the wording is more savory than juvenile fiction. It starts off making you hope for some sleazy romance. Later it almost seems as if it will veer toward comedy, but the lead characters are to serious and the fictional world is to violent for laughs. I think the "Little Red Riding Hood" motif gave me the wrong impression that I was about to read a light, happy romance with lots of teasing and jests. The novel is severe and the world depressing.  Foreshadowing is thick, tipping off to much.  The story is interesting enough to keep you reading.  You'll want to bust with wishing the lead characters would just get over themselves and get it on.  But like most sappy romances they have to work through their feelings first.  There is some clerical magic but it's the kind that isn't in the Magic User's daily routine enough for him/her to have a good handle on it.  It makes magic unpredictable (a good thing) but frustratingly unreliable. 

Each book is short and costly $$$.  It seems to fall in line with the prices one has to pay for a gay romance these days. I was warned that the books end on cliffhangers.  Each consecutive book costs more than the previous.  I'm curious but I'm to
frugal to spend more on this series.  As I write, this series is not out in Kindle but can be ordered through your local bookstore.

Rated 1. 

Link:  http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/c/kirby-crow/

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"The Stone Prince" by Fiona Patton



"The Stone Prince"
 is the first book in the 
Branion Realm chronologically backwards series by Fiona Patton.  Has humans with special abilities and gay male homosexuality.  The Branion Realm series was writen backwards and "The Stone Prince" is suppose to be read first.  "The Stone Prince" is last chronologically.  "The Stone Prince" did not end on a cliff hanger but I was attached enough to certain characters that I wish Fiona had done the normal thing and gone forward with the story.  If you like The Last Herald series by Mercedes Lackey this book is a promising read.  The writing style and romance are similar, along with a touch of magic and supernatural creatures. 

I attempted to read "The Stone Prince" several times and grew senselessly bored; my eyes crossing causing me to repeatedly give up.  Finally I just skipped a good portion of the beginning.  I hate the aristocracy; kings, queens, czars - total puke.  Fiona writes intelligently but she can also put the reader to sleep.  I guess she does not get the reader to fall in love with the main characters fast enough.  I was clueless until the scene at the Prostitute High School (you have to figure that one out on your own, it's alluded) where the educated whore (my favorite main character) was hiding behind a decorative plant.  Only then did I start to relate! 

Half past the middle of the book my interest increased.  Things started to make sense.  I liked the idea of a Whore School.  I liked the dragons fighting like Betta fish.  Kelahnus on the battlements gazing at twidawning, summing up his short life's goals was both heart warming and depressing. This is why I hate novels about humans; their short lives break my heart.  At page 309 (softback) the novel truly gets interesting.  I still hate aristocracy but if you don't mind kings and lords and meaningless combat (ie: wasting people's lives by taking them to war for stupid reasons) this novel may be up your alley.  By the end some of this stupid stuff made sense as part of the plot. 

The only redeeming aspect of this book is the gay love story: the main one between Demnor and Kelahnus that is.  The other fags I could have done without.  If Fiona had continued Kel and Dem's story, and she did not, I'm not sure I would have liked it.  I don't want to see Kelahnus grow old (back to my prattle about humans).  I will NOT be reading the other novels in the series as they do not feature Kelahnus or, to my knowledge, have any similar romance.

Rating 1.

Link: 
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/p/fiona-patton/


"Counterpoint" by Rachel Haimowitz


"Counterpoint"
 is the first book in the 
Song of the Fallen series by Rachel Haimowitz, a homosexual romance.  It has wood elves and humans.

Except for the explicit sex the book reads like juvenile fiction and I've read child's books that made more demands on me mentally.  If you hate big words but like gay romance, here's your winner.  The story is narrowed down to focus only through the eyes of the two main characters.  Still, it was not a completely uncomfortable read.  The sex was good!!!  The violence (no bdsm) which was suppose to add suspense spoiled the romance for me.  I'm not sure if I want to applaud this book for doing a decent job of representing wood elves or shoot the author for acting like Stephenie Meyer.  On the one hand, where am I going to find someone willing to write about a homosexual elf?  On the other hand, she's stold every plot and twist from every bodice ripper I've previously read.  Warning, this 1st book ends on a cliff hanger.

Rating of 1.

Link: http://www.guiltless-pleasure.com/novel/song-fallen

"Kirith Kirin" by Jim Grimsley


"
Kirith Kirin"  is a lone book by Jim Grimsley.  It has wizards, witches, humans, homo-love and horses.  

One of my pet peeves is I do not like flashback (like an old man recounting his youth).

Maybe if I had read "Kirith Kirin" before all other novels I might have thought it unique.  There just doesn't seem to be anything outstanding about this book; or anything that truly draws you in.  It does have a bland gay romance.  I stopped reading at the twelth chapter because it was boring me to death.

I rate this a 1.

Link:  Fantastic Fiction

"Magic's Pawn" by Mercedes Lackey


The Last Herald is a series by Mercedes Lackey.  The first book is "Magic's Pawn."  It has gate travel, wizards, humans, a couple of magical creatures and magical intelligent horses.  It reads like a Forgotten Realms or Dragonlance novel.

This book satisfies my m/m search.  As usual there was not enough explicit sex for my liking.  It was romantic and I enjoyed it.  Sadly, it is also a tragedy, but not hopelessly.

The bad guy at the end was kind of corny.  There were a few callow spots; felt like juvenile fiction.  But the story was engrossing and personally relevant so I enjoyed it.

As far as the rest of the series:  The 2nd book, "Magic's Promise," was good but lacked m/m.  The 3rd, "Magic's Price," resumed the gay romance.  I liked the 3rd the best BUT I did not finish it.  I read as far as page 245 in the paperback (page 805 in the omnibus "The Last Herald Mage").  After the great sex (though scenes weren't descriptive) I could not bring myself to find out if a certain red-head was going to get hurt or killed (by then people were dropping like flies in Raid spray).  I wanted to keep the peace of the romance so I quit reading.

I rate this a 5.

Link:  Fantastic Fiction - note the first book at this link is the omnibus.

"Beyond The Pale" by Mark Anthony


The Last Rune is a six book series by Mark Anthony.  The first book is "Beyond the Pale."  It had "time travel" (per say), humans, and a few fairy folk.

I am afraid I am going to be overly critical because it was not what the reviews had me believe it would be.  I'm frantically searching for m/m romance.  This book was not gay slash, though it's reviews and tags state otherwise.

There was a knight and a "wizard" (per say) that at one point held hands but nothing came of it.  For all I could tell they were just being friends but Americans are so self-possessed that the thought of two men holding hands... well, they were not gay, they were very straight.  They were having a different-culture-than-modern-America moment.

"Beyond the Pale" read more like juvenile fiction to me.  That is not a compliment.  I liked the "little people" but there was not enough involvement with them.  They appear nostalgicly to give advice or just be mysterious at brief moments throughout the novel.

I got the overall feeling like I was watching a bad rerun of an old Star Trek show (with Captain Kirk).  Like, back in the day, this novel would have been fascinating but no more.  

I rate this a 1.

Link:  Fantastic Fiction.

"The Chosen" by Ricardo Pinto


The Stone Dance of the Chameleon series by Ricardo Pinto is a tragedy bordering on being a horror novel.  The first book is "The Chosen" but it continues into book two, "The Standing Dead," which continues into the third book now being written.

The series reminds me the anime series Berserk!

I started this series looking for m/m fag romance.  There is a little bit of gay sex but it's so overshadowed with catastrophe it's not worth it for us m/m fans. 

This may be the most f*cking depressing series I have ever read!  Avoid it.  Warning, it is well written and suspenseful, so once you get sucked in you will not be able to put it away.  Although you hope good will triumph over evil, evil always wins, so save yourself from this train-wreck unless you enjoy being depressed.

The hamartia of both protagonists breaks my heart.  I would like to hear the ending of the series from someone else just because I cannot believe any author would not at some point turn all this malignance to good.

I rated this series a -5 because it damaged my psyche.

"Swordspoint" by Ellen Kushner

 


"
Swordspoint" did not jive with me like it has other people.  I think political soap operas grind on my nerves.  This is the first book in Ellen Kushner's Swords of Riverside series. 

The book has a lot of swordplay and politics.  I read the book faster than I have ever read any book just to get through the boring politics.  The story did not get exciting until after the half way mark.  Alec was definitely the most interesting character.

There is a m/m relationship but the sex scenes are too vague (all two of them).  The couple refuse to touch outside of a bed.  The second passion scene did gain my approval as Alec obviously gets aroused when Richard describes torturing a man (who had previously harmed Alec).  That scene, the fireworks scene, the court trial, and the cute little street urchin pick pocket boy redeemed this book from it's politics for me - just enough.  Still, if there had only been one truly awesome sex scene between Richard and Alec at the end it might have pulled my ratings up six points!

The book's ending did not feel like an ending.  When her public demanded more, Ellen refused.  Then, if I understand correctly, she changed her mind but when she did write more she focused on the location Riverside more than Alec and Richard's gay relationship.


I rate this series a 1. 

LINK:  Fantastic Ficition.

"The Initiation of PB500" by Kyle Stone


"The Initiation of PB500"
 is the first book in the 
PB500 series by Kyle Stone.  It has bdsm with homosexual men and absolutely no women (yippee).

This is an awesome book if you are into BDSM or are curious about what it entails.  I really hate ass slapping.  If you read Laurell K. Hamilton's works and fell in love with Nathaniel this book might make better sense to you, with that as a back drop.  Although Kyle never explains to the reader the way Laurell did, masochists feel "safe" when being abused.  Don't question it, it just is.

I was recommended this book because of the gobs and gobs of sex.  The book is porn.  There was a story but not much of one.  It reads like a man woke up from his wet dream and recorded it.  The community was unrealistic because there were no women and children, yet this was explained as the women and children had a community of their own separate from the overtly masculine homosexual men.

I doubt I will buy the second book.  I could not stomach this book because the sadist was not my ideal man.  If the sadist was Felix Harrowgate I would have been rivetted.  I just don't like dark men in turbans.

I rated it a 1.

Link:  1st book & 2nd book.

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