Monday, October 13, 2008

Snagged by Jet Mykles

TITLE: Snagged
AUTHOR: Jet Mykles
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 19k)
GENRE: Gay contemporary erotic romance
COST: $3.99

Kyle wants out of the life of thieving, but when he attempts to steal the papers that will free him, he is dismayed to find them already gone. Taken by the one man he wishes he didn’t have to deal with. Seth is gorgeous, enigmatic, and entirely too distracting for Kyle’s good. He isn’t prepared for Seth to offer him a deal, however, so when it comes, he’s left shaken, scared, and more than a little seduced…

NOTE: This is a review originally written for Uniquely Pleasurable.

The ideas behind Snagged have a definite fanbase of appeal among some gay erotic romance readers. The notion of the guy who thinks he’s straight being attracted to another guy. The older, more experienced guy introducing the younger to a new lifestyle. The bad guys gone good. Unfortunately, while this story introduces the possibility of those notions, it doesn’t flesh any of them out to make them worthwhile reading.

Kyle is nineteen and in the service of a powerful man named Quince. We’re never really told why Quince is so powerful, or what he does, or what he really has Kyle do except work as a thief, but at the start of the story, we’re expected to feel panicked for Kyle when papers he wants to steal to gain his freedom from this man aren’t in the safe they’re supposed to be. In fact, Mykles doesn’t give any detail at all about what the papers might be or what they might contain until nearly the end of the story. They get referred to in oblique references that feel coy, and when the explanation finally does come out, it’s so anticlimactic and clich├ęd it has zero impact.

Kyle gets caught by Seth, a man we’re told puts him off his game for the sheer reason that he’s gorgeous. Kyle is adamant he’s straight – complete with multiple exclamation points – and his complete and utter fear of being attracted to Seth is more than a tad stifling. Yet, there is no real backstory there, either. There isn’t much in Seth’s demeanor to justify Kyle’s extreme reaction. We have no idea how they really know each other, how many interactions they might have had beforehand, or what Seth actually does. Without any sort of context, the characters end up in a bubble that completely cuts the reader off from the experience.

The prose, for what’s there, is clean and simple, but like the plot, it lacks any depth. The only scenes that have any detail at all are the erotic scenes, so it’s little wonder that those stand out. They are richer in both atmosphere and emotion, but they aren’t nearly enough to carry the rest of it. The story comes in at less than 20k, and while I’ve found the author’s style smooth in other works, the terseness holds this one back. Suspense doesn’t work for me without know why something or someone is dangerous. The threat Quince presents is never palpable, and I don’t know what the hold he has over Kyle is until far too late. Even the epilogue raises more questions than it answers. In the end, the story as a whole feels like an outline for a much longer work.


6/10 – Simplistic and clean, but no depth

Hero #1

4/10 – His incessant need to think in exclamation points and lack of any real personality makes him a body not a person

Hero #2

4/10 – Another body with shades of characterization but not enough to give him any substance.

Entertainment value

4/10 – It feels like an outline for a story, rather than a story itself.

World building

3/10 – There is very little done to give this any sense of atmosphere or backstory



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