Friday, 14 July 2017

A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com) | review by Stephen Theaker

An interesting and romantic novella, in which Aqib, a young and good-looking member of the Olorumi minor nobility with a special way with animals, falls for a rough soldier from the Dalu├žan embassy. Forbidden and sweaty things happen, to their mutual delight, but it is important to his family that he makes the right marriage, and so when the opportunity for one arises he must choose between love and duty, happiness and family. As the story progresses we are also shown episodes from progressively deeper into his future life, placing ever more weight upon the decision he will have to make. This was a very well-written, exciting and romantic book; the relationships of Aqib with both his lover and his other significant other are tender and believable. Using an extremely famous literary title for another book always seems a bit odd (see also Signal to Noise and Journal of the Plague Year), but the story works hard to justify it. A word for the evocative cover art: fantasy and science fiction book covers often feature great design, but it’s brilliant to see that not every publisher has given up on illustrative artwork. ****

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