Author: E. E. Ottoman
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
Cover Artist: Aisha Akeju
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Famed opera singer Aimé has a lot in common with Badri, the Royal Ballet Company’s most popular male lead. They have both dedicated their entire lives to their art, and struggle to be taken seriously among the Empire’s elite. And both harbor a secret admiration and desire for the other.
This year for his birthday Aimé treats himself to a night at the ballet seeing Badri perform, and after the show decides to meet Badri and confess his admiration for Badri’s skill. But when that first awkward meeting turns to more, they are left wondering if there is room in their lives for both career and romance…
There is a slow start to this one, more telling than showing. My focus wandered a bit now and then. However, the characters are intriguing and are what make this story.
This could probably be labeled steampunk lite, as magic and spells are mentioned but nothing is practiced on page. They make their way around in carriages, wear breeches and long coats, and live in a world with Commanders (Collette is fab, we need more of her) and Counts, and even a Marquis here and there.
The story was best served when Aimé and Badri were interacting, whether with each other or other characters. A good amount of time, especially in the first half, is spent inside their heads. It gave me the feeling of connections that very much wanted to be made and strengthened but were restrained instead.
Some roughly constructed sentences slowed down my read a few times. However, there is much promise and much to like about this writing: obvious passion, fantastic character names, clearly research had been done, and no apologies were made for the characters by the characters. Undercutting your own characters defeats the ultimate purpose and leaves both them and the readers feeling wronged. Bravo to Aimé and Badri for displaying nary an ounce of this. This was most evident in the way gender and behavior expectations were defined, or rather not. Fluidity in sexuality and suffering no self-judgment for what is right for oneself are definitely a part of these two characters.
Continuing, I like that both Aimé and Badri have been around the block. They aren’t spring chickens and have had their experiences, know what they like and won’t tolerate. They are each in a place in which they want more in life. More than a profession and practices filling their days and nights.
The intimacy these two achieve and share is beautiful and erotic. Lovely. Scrumptious.
Whether it be more Aimé and Badri or another cast of characters, I would and will read more by this author. There is room for growth and there is much potential, all starting from an enjoyable base. This one lands in the recommend pile for me. 🙂
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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