Lord of the White Hell is a Fantasy, and for sure I have to use the capital letter here; for sure it reminded me a famous fantasy series of the recent past, but, truth be told, it reminded me also a movie, Chariots of Fire, set at the beginning of the XX century. Like one of the character of that movie, a Jew if I remember well, Kiram was admitted to a prestigious academy thanks to his family money, and yes, of course also due to his academic value, but without the money, for sure there would have been any chance for him. Kiram is an Haldiim, while most of the attendees of the academy are Cadeleonian; the differences between the two “births” are most like a difference in religion and also in social status. From some Kiram’s remembrance of his past life with his family, and also from his academic knowledge, he is a mechanist, I had the feeling that Kiram’s family can be compared to middle class, and instead the Cadeleonian, and Javier, Kiram’s roommate, in front of all of them, are more like aristocracy. There is also a difference perception of Kiram of all things related to faith and superstition, Kiram seems to be less archaic, more open. And finally, the attitude toward homosexuality: Kiram is a virgin, he has apparently no issue in being drawn by boys instead of girls, his only trouble is that he considers all sex acts like a sin, but I felt his fears more like the one any innocent boy will experiment while approaching adulthood and sex. Cadeleonian instead considers homosexuality a sin in absolute, and if Kiram wants to be with a man in their society, he has to do that in secret.
Now, speaking of sex and relationship, I don’t want to give you the idea that this novel is full of that; on the contrary, if not for some sex scene, very mild and almost chaste, this book could be easily classified as Young Adult; indeed the main character, Kiram, is 17 years old, and most of his experiences are the same a normal boy his age will experiment when living home for the first time to go to college; of course a boy from a conservative family, today 17 years old boys are way more experienced than me at the same age, and I bet that at the beginning of the XX century they were even less aware of sex and sexuality.
If you are wondering why I’m speaking only of Kiram and not so much of his partner in this story, Javier, maybe it’s due to the fact that I think that book 1 is more centered on Kiram’s growth from boy to man, and indeed, at the end of book 1, that growth is not yet completed. Javier instead is on the brink of adulthood, he is able to tease and entice, and sometime he has the strength, and the sureness, of an adult. Kiram needs to reach a point to be at the same level with Javier, and he will probably be at that point in book 2. So a reason more to wait for that.
Cover Art by Dawn Kimberling