Monday, February 11, 2008

Pyromancer by Amanda Young

TITLE: Pyromancer
AUTHOR: Amanda Young
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 53k)
GENRE: Paranormal gay erotic romance
COST: $6.99

Christian Ryder has the ability to control fire, both to create it and to hold it back. He thinks of it as a curse, especially since he has difficulty controlling it when his emotions runs high. A one-night stand leaves him wishing for more, but when he learns that the young man is the son of a colleague Christian could have saved, guilt plagues him into trying to help Tyler. Tyler wants to be his own man, but with debt collectors breathing down his neck, selling his body seems like the only solution, even if it’s killing him. There was one good thing to come of it, though. It brought the two men together…

The first couple chapters of this promise some interesting dynamics. Christian is strong and lonely, and Tanner is young and desperate. The scene where they come together for their one-night stand is quite sweet and hot at the same time, so when it segues into the rest of the story, I’m of the mind to be forgiving of some of the minor technical issues and the coincidences that drive the story. This is a romance, after all. Suspension of the disbelief. It feels like a bit much when Christian just happens to run into Tanner on the one night he goes out with firefighting buddies, and when it just happens to turn out that Tanner is the son of a colleague whose death Christian has been blaming himself for months. But I’m okay with that mostly. Because in spite of the minor editing things, it’s relatively smooth reading, the characters are sympathetic, and I’m enjoying myself.

Then I hit the first real sex scene. Tanner has been attacked and, with nowhere else to go, ends up staying at Christian’s house. There is an undeniable attraction between the two men but nothing has happened, until Tanner witnesses Christian jerking off and decides enough is enough. Christian comes into Tanner’s room, and when Tanner looks like he’s in pain, Christian expresses concern. Tanner then proceeds with this, Grabbing Christian’s other hand, he brought it to his groin. “Here. This is where I hurt. Where you make me ache.” It goes on, and on, but the entire melodrama of the situation just yanked me out of the story. All of a sudden, what had felt like a pretty contemporary story feels like old-style romance. Both men start getting even soppier in their scenes, with wider extremes of emotion and odd leaps of logic in their characterizations, enough so that my enjoyment dwindles. Tanner’s need to leave is never thoroughly explained until it’s too late, so it’s more than understandable when Christian reacts the way he does, because as a reader, I was left wondering the same thing about Tanner – what the hell is wrong with you, dude?

There are glimmers in the second half of some of the really good stuff I liked in the first half. Like the well-written climax of the story. It’s action-packed and tightly choreographed, which is a huge credit to the author. Unfortunately, by that point, I didn’t care as much about the two guys to really feel the emotion and angst of the scene. It’s a shame. There are real glimmers there. Maybe I’ll find them in the next book I read by this author.


8/10 – Minor technical issues distract from some otherwise smooth reading.

Hero #1

7/10 - Strong and sympathetic for the first half, though once the relationship turns intimate, his characterization goes all over the place

Hero #2

7/10 – A little more consistent than Christian, but every once in a while didn’t really feel like a guy to me.

Entertainment value

7/10 – A very strong beginning fell apart for me in the second half

World building

7/10 – I ended up with a lot of questions on what Christian does, his abilities, Tanner’s debts…



1 comment:

Amanda Young said...

Thank you for taking to time to provide such a well thought out review for Pyromancer. You've definitely given me some things to take into consideration when I write the sequel.