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Moss, of the division Bryophyta.

I read smut.  


Shitloads of smut.

Shining in the Sun - Alex Beecroft It's a very pretty book, all delicately balanced atmosphere and sonorous, elegaic language: beautiful men falling in love while adversity waits in the background to be triumphed over and this business of finding out you're gay via some very nice sex.

The problem with books like these are they tend to drown in their own prose, so you either get the sense that the author's resolutely not dealing with the bags and bags of issues they've raised, or that they don't know how to and are covering it up with adjectives. Harper Fox does this with uncanny precision: lovely scenery and the slow bubble of deep emotion twinned with a nothing plot. This book appears to follow that template.

There's Alec's GFY moment, swiftly followed by some soulmate-type conviction -- only unconvincing because, between you and me, Alec is completely wet. There's the promise of betrayal, when Darren steals from Alex, but it's followed by neither reprisal nor consequence. Then there's the dazzling set-up of their class differences -- but no, Alec gets a shock of reality that he reacts badly to but which he immediately recovers from and goes on to overcome without ever once giving the reader a clue as to how it all happens. Alec's overbearing mama gives way like a soggy pudding -- without preamble or warning -- and the final twist in the story is a payoff for injuries received and its acceptance, for some spurious reason or the other.

I'll qualify it all by saying this: the character development is strangely compelling and if I didn't know better, I'd say the author was trying to align the story to it. Alec is pretty feeble and doesn't get much better as time goes by, but he's saved by the consistency of his personality. He doesn't change to suit the circumstances, and I think the honesty of that takes him a long way. It also makes some -- some! -- sense of the wavering storyline.

I'm not sure why the author decided to make this as ambitious as it was. The writing is genuinely beautiful, and they had a strong premise in the class differences plot; the extra stuff made it unwieldy and graceless. In the end ... ... oh I don't know. It was pretty, it was scenic, there was foreshadowing oozing out of every mote of sunlight shining off the steely sea. There were a couple of guys, too. They had challenges.

Recommended, for the pretty.