Queer Rep: so many gay men
Warnings: BDSM, violence, torture, allusions to non-consensual sex. Note: all on-page sex is entirely consensual. There’s a lot of it.
[Note: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.]
Sergeant Liam Jacks has been traveling aboard the transport vessel “The Santa Claus” in an effort to escape his past and etch out a peaceful existence in a tangled universe. During a pit stop on Luxoria, a mysterious—and frighteningly beautiful—man boards as a passenger. Liam is immediately taken by the man, and he is desperate to unravel the mystery surrounding him. Unfortunately, that mystery is steeped in danger, and threatens to undo the peace Liam has worked to create.
I have trouble rating this book. I feel that this piece falls in the category of “maybe really good, but not for me.” If I were to rate it according to my tastes, I think it’d fall somewhere around a 2. But in the same moment, a part of me feels that does the book a bit of a disservice.
The genre is quite up my alley, which can be broadly defined as “gays in space”. Any book that can use that tagline already has my attention. It was the smaller details that derailed my experience just a bit.
The Luxorian fugitive takes hold of your attention right away. I was immediately interested in Liam Jacks’ character and story, even more so when his knee jerk response to his PTSD induced night terrors was to call on his best-friend-turned-captain to whip him to orgasm.
I want to be less blunt, but that’s the thing with the Luxorian Fugitive: it is unabashedly gay, unabashedly horny, and it wants you to be too.
However, this run-in with his BFF/Captain is not just a desperate grab at sex appeal. It blooms into a mostly interesting subplot that helps propel the narrative forward through some of the slower portions of the crew’s journey.
When Liam meets his “mysterious stranger”, I immediately got a sense for what was coming. There is a definite “we are somehow linked or destined to be with one another” tone sewn throughout, and I have to admit I quite dislike those tropes. “Soulmates” in fiction tend to feel abrasive to me, but it is obviously a very popular genre subset. I wanted more interaction between the two men, and more than just Liam’s overexcited cock leading him toward Hadrian.
Now now, don’t get me wrong—I adore “one night stand becomes something more” tropes, and I love when fiction addresses the reality of human nature (read: we’re often sex-driven). But that’s not what this was. Liam and Hadrian didn’t bang it out right away, or even take much advantage of their forced proximity. It was just a strange sort of... pining broodiness, with Liam feeling overwhelming fond for this enigmatic man. This isn’t my jam, but I know it is someone’s.
The pacing dragged a bit during this portion, with Captain Danverse and his issues forcing the book forward. I didn’t care about Captain Danverse, and I cared less about him the more time I spent with the man. I wanted more character interactions and intrigue, and less overwrought inner monologuing.
There was also an... animalistic feeling to much of the book, from the character’s actions to the chosen vocabulary. Lots of “claiming”, tons of asserting dominance and alpha male mindsets, and a very particular penchant for large hairy men. This is also not my thing.
The book delivered plenty of on-page orgasms, but not a ton of growth or movement. The pacing started to rev up again about halfway through, but by that point I was already having issues convincing myself to keep reading. Fortunately, once the shit hits the fan, it does it in a way that keeps you interested. In general I still wished for more—more character work, more world-building, more meat (of the narrative variety).
I was also a little disoriented by the severe lack of anything that wasn’t a burly gay man. This book is definitely a book for bears, and I have no problem with that. But the ship’s house rules of “no women, no heteros”, and the fact that only TWO women make an appearance in the whole novel (with about two lines of dialogue each) had me feeling a bit suffocated by the end. I desperately grabbed a F/F and enthusiastically devoured it upon completion of this piece.
Honestly, I believe this book could have reached me a little better had it not been for Captain Danverse. Liam’s best friend and captain is a bit of a shithead, and he never did properly atone for that shittiness in my eyes. At one point during the novel I slammed my finger against my iPad and shouted “THAT’S WHAT YOU GET, JERKWAD.”
At least I was properly engaged.
The rest of the characters were more relatable, but I found myself only truly interested in Mac. Hadrian remained too otherworldly and enigmatic, and while I liked Liam, I couldn’t see through his rose-colored goo-goo eyes to feel really at home in his brainscape.
The book is very gay and utilizes a lot of tropes readers love. They weren’t ones that meshed with my tastes, but perhaps they could mesh with yours. Veerkamp just released another novel set in the same universe (and on the same ship), so be sure to check it out if The Luxorian Fugitive does it for you.
My Rating: 2 stars
Alan Veerkamp’s official site can be found here, and his twitter is over yonder.
Note: I am an Amazon Associate and I am using affiliate links. These do not affect you or my reviews.
From Ninestar Press:
The Luxorian Fugitive (ebook) — $6.49
The Luxorian Fugitive (print) — $13.99 | The Luxorian Fugitive (ebook) — $6.49