December 18th, 2011

andrew potter

Best LGBT Coming of Age / Young Adult (1° place): The Evolution of Ethan Poe by Robin Reardon

Also Best Plot Development (3° place), Best Characters Development (2° place), Best Writing Style (2° place), Best Gay Novel (2° place)

In The Evolution of Ethan Poe I recognize Robin Reardon’s previous books but I also think she did a jump ahead with this one. What I always liked of her books is that these young men have to face a lot of trouble to be who they are and love who they want, but in the end, they are still teenagers, with all the insecurities and fears so typical of being young. But with being young comes also another main aspect: being still in evolution, not being perfect, being faced with multiple choices and with those choices also the danger to pick the wrong one. Ethan, Max, Jorja, Kyle and all the other young boys and girls in this novel have the chance to become different men and women and it’s up to them to forge their future. The adults can help them, but they cannot force them to be someone different, even if they think, and we think, the adult they want to become is wrong.

The novel presents a strong position regarding religion, and I think I can sense Reardon’s position is similar to the one of Ethan’s mother, but nevertheless, it’s not a prosecution, but more presenting the facts and let the reader takes their own position. Mostly it comes out that sometime religion is necessary for the most weak souls, for those who need some sort of stability in their life, and unconditionally faith gives them that security. I also like that, while there is of course a gay theme in the novel, that was not the main focus, on the contrary, in three or four stories, Robin Reardon presented more or less all the reasons of discomfort that you can find among today teenagers.

The other main aspect of the novel that I really liked was the young men in them and especially Max, and now I will probably surprise many of you saying that I liked Max since I found him quite selfish and snob. While Ethan is your classical good boy, open and sensible, always ready to take side with the misfits, Max is actually that type of guy I have always found quite unpleasant, someone ready to judge people from their looks without trying to understand their real core. I think Max took an interest in Ethan since Ethan is cute and pretty, and even if he doesn’t associate with the right crowd at school, he is still “recoverable”, he has not yet done some big damage to his “imagine”. The title of the novel is the “evolution” of Ethan Poe, but I think also Max goes under a big evolution, and that is the only reason why he becomes someone that is right for Ethan, since at the beginning he was totally wrong, and I would have not given two cents to their relationship to be lasting.

I’m quite scared by the chance that this small town actually exists, that is really possible for almost a “war” to burst involving first of all the children, people who is still so fragile in many aspects. But unfortunately I’m not questioning this is possible, and I really hope one of the possible outcomes is like in the novel, where people realize it’s important to step back and stop offensive when it’s still possible.

Amazon: The Evolution of Ethan Poe
Amazon Kindle: The Evolution of Ethan Poe
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Kensington; Original edition (August 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758246803
ISBN-13: 978-0758246806



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andrew potter

Almost an Equal by Heather Boyd

It’s very clear this author is used to write erotic historical romances, and I’d like to highlight the word “erotic”, since in this case it weights a little more than the “historical” one. Nobleman Nathan has done his due to the dukedom, 2 sons and 1 daughter, and now he has no patience left for his demanding wife, a wife that, by the way, has already found a replacement for the role of bedmate. There is no love between Nathan and his wife, and from what I understand, never there was. Even if it’s not detailed, I think their was an arranged marriage of some sort. Sure, to my opinion, Nathan could have found someone nicer to be the mother of his children, but then the children seem to not have taken from their mother.

Lately a new addition to the household has helped with raising the kids: Henry, Nathan’s steward, spends as many time as he can with the children, and they seem to care for him as much as they care for their father. Nathan is not against the idea, but he himself would like to have a deeper bond with the young man, only that Henry has never expressed any interest or given him any signs he would be willing. Aside from that, Henry’s devotion to Nathan is exclusive, and when he learns about a possible threat to the man’s good name, he is ready to risk his cover for him: Henry is a former whore and he escaped a molly house; the man who is blackmailing Nathan is the same man Henry was running away from; of course Henry’s plot will not go as smoothly as he hoped and Nathan will have to help him. That is no surprising at all, what will be a nice surprise for the reader is the changing in powership that will happen between Nathan and Henry.

At the beginning I found Henry to be a little too submissive, too weak; I was already thinking to tag this story as a “classical” breeches rippers, with the poor young man falling in love for the dashing aristocrat; but even if this is a breeches rippers, you will have a surprise on whom will have his breeches ripped. I think this is due to two major factor: Henry’s bad past experience preventing him to fully trust another man, with his body but above all with his freedom, and Nathan’s need for once to not be the one in command, his need to let it go, and exactly at the opposite of Henry, to be able to trust someone with his body and his freedom.

This is book 1 in a series, and it’s clear who will be the pair of book 2. What remained an open point is if maybe this is not a spin off of some other series by the same author, mainly since some of the supporting characters, having only a cameo role, gave me the idea to have a some sort of shared past with both Henry than Nathan, and so there was a little bit the feeling to be plunged in the middle of the action with little preparation. But in a way, it was no bad, since the reader was soon at the main course, without wasting much time with the appetizers.

Amazon Kindle: Almost an Equal (The Hunt Club Chronicles - Book 1)
Publisher: Night Shift Publishing (June 15, 2011)

Reading List: http://www.librarything.com/catalog_bottom.php?tag=reading list&view=elisa.rolle