Monday, July 12, 2010

Guardian by Kalita Kasar

TITLE: Guardian
AUTHOR: Kalita Kasar
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 10k)
GENRE: Gay paranormal erotic romance
COST: $2.99

Lionel Beaumont has had two lives – the first ten years he can’t remember, and the twelve years since, the decade-plus since he awoke from a coma with no memory of who he was. He feels somehow separate from everyone else, though he goes from day to day, counseling people at the hospital, searching for…something. The nightmares that have plagued him since his awakening from the coma have no answers, at least, not until he meets a man who shares the name of the object of his terrors…

You won’t find the paranormal label on this story on the publisher site. It might even be considered a slight spoiler for me to have it here, but honestly, presenting this as a contemporary story is a misnomer. Someone looking for a contemporary is likely to be disappointed, even if the first half of the story suggests you’re about to get the tale of a haunted young an.

Lionel Beaumont is twenty-two and works as a counselor at Pickworth General. At the age of ten, he was hit by a car and put into a coma. He woke up weeks later, screaming a man’s name. He had no memory of his life, and the nightmare that brought him back plagued him all the way to current day. They always occurred at the same time – 5:05 – and always held the same details. He floats from day to day, never content with what he finds, until he makes an impromptu visit at a pub and meets a man who seems all too familiar. With a name he’s spoken for the past twelve years.

I loved how this short story started out. There is some lovely imagery, like the way the beach and bay came to life when Lionel went on a lonely walk. The moods his thoughts evoke, too, are just as hauntingly lovely, and I was holding my breath in anticipation of where it would go. When he met Ben, I thought, “This is it.” So I waited. I got a taste of what their chemistry was, but then, there came even more sex, and then the explanation, and…it felt like an entirely different story. All of a sudden, the Lionel I knew disappeared, and I can’t say that I liked the person who replaced him. It all felt incredibly pat and easy, with Ben’s story, and the subsequent events trying to wrap the story up into a tidy little bow that didn’t do justice to the tone set in the beginning. I felt cheated. There could have been some real depths to the emotions, but I didn’t get any of them. Instead, I got insta-love. What a disappointment.


8/10 – Some lovely turns of phrases, though the sudden concentration of sex and abrupt ending spoil the overall effect

Hero #1

7/10 – I empathized with him incredibly until his personality seemed to do a one-eighty at the climax

Hero #2

5/10 – Too little is developed about him until it becomes convenient, then it feels…convenient

Entertainment value

6/10 – All the promise of the first half gets cheated by the lack of depth and turnarounds of the second

World building

7/10 – I had difficulty seeing the setting, and the abrupt introduction of the explanation left a lot of questions unanswered



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