Monday, January 10, 2011

Reverie by Dawn Kimberly Johnson

TITLE: Reverie
AUTHOR: Dawn Kimberly Johnson
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 11k)
GENRE: Gay paranormal erotic romance
COST: $2.99

When Jake begins dreaming about a hot young man, the last thing he expects is that the dreams might in some form be real…

Dreamspinner has a plethora of short works in its library, the result of its various theme sets that it publishes several times a year. Reverie was released as part of Dreamspinner’s Midsummer’s Nightmare set in 2010, stories featuring supernatural romance. Though thirty stories were released, I chose to pick up only three of them. This is the first of those three that I’ve read.

It’s a promising start. The story opens with Jake detailing a dream to his friend, about how he watched this couple make-out in a club, then watched them have sex. When the top pulled a blade to slit the bottom’s throat, Jake shouted to stop it and then woke up. The scene immediately jumps to a young man named Daniel, who is at the hospital because the man he’d picked up at the club tried to kill him. It quickly becomes obvious that Jake is somehow visiting Daniel while he’s asleep, and each man is intrigued by the possibility of the other’s existence.

The opening scene is the reason I bought this short. It’s what is provided as the excerpt on the publisher’s site, and frankly, Jake’s telling of the sexual aspect of the dream was hot as hell. Some of that hotness prevails during subsequent erotic portions of the story, but it never again reaches that same level for me. It’s a mild disappointment, but then again, it’s not what the story is really about. The supernatural element in this is quite casual and light, the focus on these two lonely, likable men hooking up with a country separating them. As characters, Jake and Daniel succeed in being appealing enough to help push me through rougher sections of the storytelling, and it’s because of the way I liked them that I ended the story bearing a smile.

There’s nothing earth-shattering about this short story at all. In fact, it’s probably one of those nibbles I’m likely to forget about in a week’s time. The author’s voice is unobtrusive and unassuming, and the characters too similar to other types to truly stand out. It suffers from rough transitions, too, jumping back and forth between them almost awkwardly, with few explanations and vague focus on anything that isn’t the two heroes’ characterizations. But in spite of all that, I enjoyed it. It works for what it is because it’s very hard not to care about these two men in this short space of time. Their happy ending matters, and I for one was glad to see it.


8/10 – Quick, easy, and unassuming

Hero #1

7/10 – Jake was a decent, everyday kind of guy, likable without being terribly memorable

Hero #2

7/10 – Oddly sweet

Entertainment value

7/10 – While it’s not a story that will linger too long, I enjoyed it enough to end with a smile on my face

World building

6/10 – The weakest aspect of the story, with some of the transitions and explanations on the vague side



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