by Maia Strong, fantasy (2008)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-036-3
The Ballad Of Jimothy Redwing is a fantasy romance, which is a good thing because I doubt a gay lad named Jimothy Redwing will have a pleasant time in the schoolyard with such a name. Jimothy is a Wand'ring Minstrel - because it ain't fantasy until you have an apostrophe in there somewhere - whose latest destination is a town called Couvin. Along the way, he meets Ricky Lennox. Yes, his name is a shockingly normal Ricky. I suppose that even in this fantasy world, calling the guy Thicky Lennox in the name of high fantasy just like the way the author has Daniel become Thaniel is too cruel on poor Ricky. Ricky offers Jimothy a ride to Couvin and I'm sure you know where these two will end up in.
There is more to the story, of course. Ricky has a secret, Jimothy gets worried about wanting to make a commitment for the first time in his life, some dangers towards the end so that people won't fall asleep, the usual.
This one is a very slow going story. The first quarter or so is very dull and slow to get into. The two men sing songs together like happy boy scouts on the roll when they are not slapping each other's rear end. When they talk, they often deliver long monologues full of details that are clearly meant for the reader. I generally prefer the information dumping in the stories that I read to be a little more subtle. The characters talk, have sex, and enjoy the scenery at leisure. I find myself wondering whether anything will happen in this story.
I suspect that the problem here is that the author's writing style does not appeal to me much. I find the conversations between the characters either too stilted or too simplistic. Jimothy and Ricky come off more like little boys at times rather than adults due to the simplistic treatment given to the emotions these men are supposed to be feeling. There is an overall wooden quality to the writing that I am not enamored of. Also, with the slow pace of the story, I can't help feeling that one has to be very enamored of the idea of two cute boys falling in love and playing with each other's pee-pee in order to enjoy the excruciatingly slow pace and some of the more laborious conversations.
I have to say, though, I like the idea of a hero like Jimothy Redwing and I like his songs. This is going to come off like a back-handed compliment, I know, but trust me, I'm not being facetious when I say that the lyrics to those songs are both simultaneously juvenile and earnest that I can't help but to be charmed. It's like a guy singing off-key to profess his love - sometimes the fellow is so earnest that I am charmed by him despite the laughable singing. In the case of The Ballad Of Jimothy Redwing, despite my inability to get into the author's writing style, a part of me can't help liking the two main characters, especially Jimothy. He's so earnest when it comes to falling in love, how can I resist?
This book at Amazon.com
This book at Amazon UK
Search for more reviews of works by this author: