Comments: 23
Ilhem 5 years ago
Ow. Not a success.:(
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
Not really. :( I found it to be a mix of things I've read and seen so often before, that I really don't need that again. Also, I'm terminally sick of chicks with dicks rsp. the seme/uke dynamic (which is the same thing essentially) in m/m. I don't need alpha-males, but ye gods, make them both men, or at least actual femmes or drag queens, but not this.
Ilhem 5 years ago
Don't frown at your notifications, I'm shift-enter challenged, so I had to delete my earlier comment.
Which was....
I'm still succumbing to the alpha-male appeal; we'll see when I get to it.:)

And I wanted to ask : did you read "Lola dances" by Victor J. Banis?
Ilhem 5 years ago
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
No, I don't think I have him on my TBR list at all. If he however does write lots of Westerns and Cowboy novels, then that's no wonder. ;)
Ilhem 5 years ago
He wrote Western novels, but not that much.:)
I thought of this author because of your comment. Lola dances' MC is a drag queen. I read only one book by Banis; it's a mystery with a drag queen serial killer. I didn't like his humour in the beginning, but he won me over in the end even though I spent some time wondering where he stood.
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
Ah. No, it's not that I specifically seek out drag queens or femme gay stories.

What I said meant that if an author has to have a male character have feminine qualities, then please the way gay men do, and not along the seme/uke trope. Or just as bad, to simply rewrite a female romance heroine into a male bottom/catcher with completely female characteristics left over from m/f tropes. Both these are what I mean by "chicks with dicks".

The reverse test works as well, if you change the gender of an MC and you don't notice this anywhere without at least some rewriting (except for the sheer biological differences), then what you had is definitely a "chick with a dick" in disguise.

Stephen you could change to Stephanie and not change anything except write him receiving in his vagina instead of his anus and it would be the exact same character and the exact same story. Stephanie in this case wouldn't even be your typical strong female heroine, not even Hermione or Ginny level.
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
Oh, and what I downright hate is when the author tries to hide this by making the "chick with a dick" a BDSM bottom/submissive. That really gets my goat and Charles did it here. As if a male sub were feminine in his demeanour or value.

There is not a single male sub or bottom I have known, watched or played with who was or is like that. Very specifically not even those who get sissified by their Tops.
Ilhem 5 years ago
I get how it riles you up, it's definitely annoying. I thought that the romance and even the first sex scene in "Widdershins" was very het romance. How is Percival NOT a chick with dick?
It is an actual question. I'm not sure that I perceive the difference.
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
Percival is repressed, and he is quite correctly rendered a repressed man. In fact, this (achieving it so well) was the main reason why I rated "Widdershins" so high. I personally know people like that, and I write such characters myself (under another pen name, but even Adrian in "Third Watch" is a bit repressed).

Percival is not feminine, he is male in every reaction he has. He just isn't a typical m/m stud, definitely an everyman instead of the usual m/m alpha-male, he is someone who is painfully shy and aware of his shortcomings. That's not feminine, that's just lacking knowledge and being defensive and fearsome due it. Both emotions again aren't female, they are human.

Nothing about Percival at any given time reminds me of a woman or any of the female tropes in romance. He doesn't simper, he isn't breathy, his shyness is completely male and expressed in a male way, he's not small, he has no feminine wiles or qualities, he doesn't submit in any way to Griffin, and the way they have sex is portrayed in a logical progression. The one thing I'd have written differently is the anal sex. I would have left that out entirely. At the time (Victorian era) anal sex between homosexuals was extremely rare, only about 10% max. engaged in it.

Percival reminds me of a long row of repressed British men with a very stiff upper lip hiding successfully away that their relationship with sex is not a happy one. Maybe that's the reason why he doesn't come over as a "chick with a dick", he's a lot like the men with problems I personally know, whereas Stephen doesn't even hit my button of "I'm male". He immediately hits "I'm a uke written to entertain female readers".

Another potential factor is that I do not share the male ideals very common in predominantly US-centric m/m (even when written by non-American writers!). Percival clearly isn't sharing the usual/common male box into which American men tend to be locked. I haven't asked Jordan, but I can imagine that this was planned that way. Being outside that box doesn't keep me from perceiving that MC as male, but I might hazard it would do that for many readers.

Heh, now you get me talking! I'm supposed to clock that verbiage for NaNo ;)
Ilhem 5 years ago
It brings us back to what we perceive as male or female behavior, I guess. Apart from the obvious stereotypes, I mean... But let's keep that for NaNo, whatever it is.:)
Steelwhisper 5 years ago

And I am also talking of stereotypes. Where do you see Percival being female? Or het for that matter (which to me is yet something else even)?
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
So being breathy all the time like a fainting heroine, being "as small as a child" (without any plot-relevant cause whatsoever) while of course taking the receptive role, being fucked like a woman against the wall and the desk, thrown around and manhandled like a woman during intercourse, constantly having lips breached, magical lube (emulating self-lubing vaginas), taking the passive role in every sexual or romantic encounter--all that is not the classic female sexual role in romance?

And to top this off that sexual encounter ends with Stephen becoming practically "pregnant" with Lucien's Magpies and needing to form a "married couple" with him to be complete. You don't need a shrink to interpret this, I'd say.


Where are Percival's and Griffin's hetero roles compared to that?
Ilhem 5 years ago
I don't see Percival being female. To me, he is Percival, period. It's not so much about Percival being feminine than about the early dynamic between Percival and Griffin sounding a lot like Victorian het romance. I don't remember the details, but their first sex scene reminded me of m/f romance and therefore of something that I read before.

Steelwhisper 5 years ago
Now that would interest me! If you chance to remember some time what it was that reminded you of m/f romance there I'd love to know what. I loved that their first sexual experience together was a frottage, which is rather typical of that time.

Did you perchance ever read "15 Shades of Gay"?

It's almost never just the way people have sex with each other that trips my "chick with a dick"-meter, unless it is clearly an author who has no idea of the sheer mechanics of gay sex, or as here with "The Magpie Lord" where the sex is quite directly taken out of some of the most common contemporary het romances, and not once but several times in a row.
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
I know men of 40 and 50 who're virgins. And they aren't exactly that rare either. Nor are they ugly or inhabit skid row.

I liked the sex scenes with the senator. Very refreshingly written.
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
What else? I agree that the ending was very pink ponies and butterflies, sort of a concession to the betareaders. But I liked the senator, and this for once I read entirely as a commentary on US politics.
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
Yes, I already sort of "subtracted" his convalescence. But there's no reason in that to make him so small, or so passive, and always receiving. I think that part of this is also me analysing the necessities, and unless you want a seme/uke dynamic there is none to create Stephen the way he is. As to classic in m/m romance, yes of course, there are lots of m/m romances written exactly like that--as m/f in disguise ;) Charles just tops everything here with Stephen. He invites in the same manner that every m/f contemporary romance I read recently painted women inviting the men to do them. Just as that wallbanger bonking is currently en vogue everywhere.

Magpies invading his belly? Just about the bonding? Uh huh. LOL.

Percy wasn't pining at all for anyone until Griffin is available. He behaved like just about any shy and repressed person. I've seen men behave like that, as well as women. It's a human trait to me. Why should following someone's greater knowledge, especially when you're shy or insecure about something, be specifically feminine? Why should a man not be led into his sexuality like that? I've done it, on the BDSM level, but I've also done it on a coital level and neither of us considered that to be feminine in behaviour. I *was* the stronger and more experienced in those respects.
Ilhem 5 years ago
I didn't read "15 shades of Gay" and I have no "chick with a dick"-meter, I'm afraid!:D
I can't promise that it will be relevant, but I'll take a look at my notes, and i'll let you know.

Steelwhisper 5 years ago
A pity, the comparison would have been interesting, because one of the guys in "15 Shades" is also a late male virgin.
Witty Little Knitter 5 years ago
(The Persuaders! :D I have much love for this show)
Such a shame...I read the sample of this a while ago and was quite intrigued but I think I'll give it a pass. I wouldn't even have minded the rip-off-like qualities and read it just for some fluffy entertainment but I'm not a big fan of the chicks-with-dicks-variety of m/m-romance either.
(Comment-fail and thus a double-posting)
Steelwhisper 5 years ago
If it had been advertised directly as a spoof or pastiche I might have middlingly enjoyed this, though I am by now really sick of reading seme/uke or m/f in disguise. But still, I might have rated it 2.5 or 3 instead. As it were, I went into this thinking it's dead serious.
Gloria's Pages 5 years ago
I'm actually tempted to read this, it sounds like cheezy crack and I love cheezy crack.

Seme/uke needs to die though, I can always tell when an author is a yaoi fan.