Before I begin ragging on this book, I should note that although I cannot call it good, it's pretty entertaining. I would not hesitate to recommend it for salon reading, as long as you can either call up your inner twelve-year-old at will or else enjoy a good inner snark-fest.

Also, it is very heartfelt-- very, very, very heartfelt-- and was apparently written at a time when very few gay characters ever appeared in fantasy, let alone lengthy pleas for gay rights, so I give Lackey major points for that. Even though, out of all the gay men I've ever met, and given my history with theatre, the entertainment industry, gay rights, and AIDS education, I've met quite a few, I have never met anyone who resembled any of Lackey's gay men.

I now present Vanyel in fifteen minutes!

Vanyel: I am a sensitive, gorgeous, and musical young man. Why is everyone so mean to me? Woe! Did I mention that I have fabulous dress sense and exquisite silver eyes?

(Vanyel’s father sneers)

(Vanyel’s brother jeers)

(Vanyel’s evil martial arts instructor breaks Vanyel’s arm)

Vanyel’s father: I’m sending you off to your butch aunt’s school. Maybe she’ll make a man of you. If that’s even possible.

Vanyel: I think I’ll wear my taupe breeches with my eggshell shirt. Oops, almost forgot: woe!

Tylenol Tylendel: Hi, I’m a gorgeous young student of your butch aunt’s and I am incredibly gifted at magic and I have a telepathic horsie. Also, I’m gay. Are you gay too?

Vanyel: Dude, I think I am!

Tylenol Tylendel: Excellent! Let’s be gay together!

Everyone at Vanyel’s butch aunt’s school: Vanyel is sensitive, gorgeous, delicate, musical, misunderstood, and a fashion plate. He owns the complete catalogue of Judy Garland on remastered CD. I am totally shocked that he’s gay, even though every other gay character in this book also fits that description! However, there is nothing wrong with being gay! Have fun, boys!

And then there is woe, and also aromatherapy )
.

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