Friday, May 20, 2011

Review of Knight Errant by K. D. Sarge

This is a sweet, though action-packed, coming-of-age/gay/space opera/romance, in which the gay part is much less important that the coming-of-age part. The love scenes are not at all explicit for anyone who would be uncomfortable with that but quite unapologetically same gender, which I consider a plus. While I am not a huge romance fan, this is well-written with plenty of space opera adventure to keep you entertained.

My one complaint was that the novel gets off to a slow start. I found myself not caring that Kintaro Hibiki (mostly called by his nickname of Taro) was kicked out of a low-life gambling club, and the author seemed to go on a bit about how Taro's adopted "sister" and savior, Eve Marcori, always saved small children and got kicked out of the space marines for doing so. However, once you get past the first couple of chapters the action starts rolling and, even more importantly, you get drawn into the characters for whom you start cheering.

Taro is devoted to Eve who now owns and captains a space freighter. He has no desire to go to college or follow in Eve's footsteps as a space captain. However, he won't disappoint her by telling her that or by telling her that he is gay. He represses almost all of his own personality to try to fit into her vision of what his dead mother would have wanted him to be. The problem is that it isn't whom he is.

Then they rescue another young man, Rafe, who was a former pleasure-slave. Eve had freed him from slavery but being a courtesan has seemed to him to be the only way to make his way in life. He really isn't good at much of anything else--or so it seems. Besides that, Rafe likes pleasing and giving pleasure to other people if it can be someone he likes or cares about. He hasn't minded his way of life as long as he could choose who he was with. The budding relationship between Taro and Rafe, with its misunderstandings, some of them deliberately fostered by Rafe, and its snarky dialogue is quite well done.

Taro decides to find a way to get rid of Rafe largely, though he doesn't admit it to himself, because he is strongly attracted to him. Unfortunately, Taro has a way of finding himself in deep trouble, and his attempt to rid them of Rafe lands the two of them kidnapped and stranded on a poisonous planet. There Taro begins, with Rafe's help, to see that he can and must stand up for whom he is and what he wants, even against Eve who only wants the best for him.

Through space explosions, gambling, bar fights, more kidnappings, and a gradually deepening relationship, Rafe comes to value himself as more than a pleasure-giver and Taro comes to realize that he must be who he really is. The novel is literately written and a pleasure to read. If you hang in there past the slow start, this is a book you will thoroughly enjoy.

This is a four-and-a-half Star novel.

Knight Errant is available on Amazon for only $2.99.

Please also check out my own novels: Freedom's Sword and A Kingdom's Cost each $2.99 on Amazon. Also available on Smashwords.

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