Death by Silver
by Melissa Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Alternate magical London, where old school friends the detective and the magician team up to solve a rather obvious murder, and resolve their mutual pining along the way.
Enjoyable, though lacking that special something. This made me think about genre. Which, believe me, is unusual – I have zero interest in the whole "but what does genre mean
? Is it real?" thing. But here you have a blend of alternate history/fantasy with M/M romance. I started the summary above by writing "M/M" and then deleting it, because this is M/M in the literal sense, but not in the genre sense. Let me put this bluntly: there isn't enough erotica here for me to shelve it as M/M in the sense that I conceive of it in 2014.
What I mean is, this book reminds me of those times an author writes a book with a twist of fantasy or scifi, but because of which publishing house bought it and who the literary agent is, it gets packaged as "literature" and sold as "genre-bending" or what the fuck ever. All with the subliminal notion that yes, okay, this is using fantasy or scifi tropes, but it's not actually
a fantasy novel, okay, it's better than that, it's actual literature. This book reminded me of that, except M/M is the thing it's not actually
doing. By which I mean it dances up to the edges of the racier genre conventions, and then turns decorously away.
Not really fair, and I think what I'm seeing is the result of built in genre/marketing constraints rather than, say, authorial self-censorship. It's just funny, and a little uncomfortable, the way combining genres can make a work less effective or rich or nuanced, rather than more so.
Audio note: This production is by far the shoddiest I have ever encountered in commercial audio. I'm willing to bet they didn't bother with the final editing pass at all. There are skips, dropped words and sentences, repeats, background noise, you name it. Terrible.View all my reviews