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Romance and other things

I enjoyed a lot

A Taste of Honey - Kai Ashante Wilson

A Taste of Honey is the Hugo, Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, and Locus finalist novella that N. K. Jemisin calls "a love story as painful as it is beautiful and complex". One of BookRiot's "Best Books We Read in November."

Long after the Towers left the world but before the dragons came to Daluça, the emperor brought his delegation of gods and diplomats to Olorum. As the royalty negotiates over trade routes and public services, the divinity seeks arcane assistance among the local gods.

Aqib bgm Sadiqi, fourth-cousin to the royal family and son of the Master of Beasts, has more mortal and pressing concerns. His heart has been captured for the first time by a handsome Daluçan soldier named Lucrio. In defiance of Saintly Canon, gossiping servants, and the furious disapproval of his father and brother, Aqib finds himself swept up in a whirlwind gay romance. But neither Aqib nor Lucrio know whether their love can survive all the hardships the world has to throw at them.

A Taste of Honey is a new novella in the world of Kai Ashante Wilson's The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


Dear Kai Ashante Wilson,

I have read your story as a part of the Hugo voting package and I really enjoyed it. Readers please note that I have not read “The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” but the story did not left me feeling confused at all. Oh there were features in the world building I would have loved to know more about but I thought that for this story just enough was revealed and several whys that I had did not stop me from easily following the plot.

Readers please also note that after I finished the story I have read several reviews and some of the readers seemed confused by the non -linear narrative in this novella. Honestly I didn’t understand that complaint at all. Yes, the narrative jumps around *a lot* chronologically. There are no flash backs per se, but it is certainly not linear at all. However, the writer clearly marks every jump – for example, fifth day or tenth night or 52 years old.  My advice will be just to pay attention to these marks and you will not be confused.

I always enjoy the book which has gay love story front and center as this one most certainly did. Is this a romance though? I don’t know. See I cannot answer the question whether the ending was happy or not. For me it most certainly was, but I acknowledge that it is most certainly open to interpretations.

The language is so beautiful and I thought that language itself played an important part in the story. I cannot reveal more details because I feel  most of the revelations about this novella would be VERY spoilerish.  I do understand that it makes the review vague and less satisfying unfortunately. I wish I could quote from the ebook, but I cannot because as I said I have not bought the story, I read it as part of the Hugo reading, but please do check the sample and see if the writing is for you.

I loved the settings – the story mostly takes place in the fictional country of Ollorum as blurb describes it for you where Aqib and Lucrio meet. I thought Ollorum came to live based on some African influences and no, I cannot place it within specific real country context unfortunately. Dallucam seemed Rome inspired. 

I said previously that I am not sure if the story belongs to the genre Romance despite having gay love story front and center however there is also not much of the development of the relationship going on – they fit well together, but they fell in love pretty fast, so there is that. I didn’t think it made the story any less beautiful by the way.

There is a VERY significant plot twist in the last few pages of the book – the plot twist which surprised me in this story even if I saw such plot development ( in a very general way, I am almost looking at the whole trope behind this twist) before, but I was pleased that it happens here. I appreciated it.

The only reason why I am not giving this novella a perfect mark is because there was another plot development which was mentioned in the middle of the book but was not fully explained and I could not believe that the writer did not explain it. It could have been intentionally of course, but it almost felt as if the author forgot about it and I was annoyed.

Grade: B+