Title: King Perry
Author: Edmond Manning
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Amazon Buy Link:King Perry
Genre: Contemporary Gay Fiction/Fantasy (?)
Length: Novel/350 pages
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: An unusual, beautifully-written Quest, where I disliked one of the characters unfortunately.
A book from The Lost and Founds series.
In a trendy San Francisco art gallery, out-of-towner Vin Vanbly witnesses an act of compassion that compels him to make investment banker Perry Mangin a mysterious offer: in exchange for a weekend of complete submission, Vin will restore Perry’s “kingship” and transform him into the man he was always meant to be.
Despite intense reservations, Perry agrees, setting in motion a chain of events that will test the limits of his body, seduce his senses, and fray his every nerve, (perhaps occasionally breaking the law) while Vin guides him toward his destiny as ”the one true king.”
Even as Perry rediscovers old grief and new joys within himself, Vin and his shadowy motivations remain enigmas: who is this offbeat stranger guiding them from danger to hilarity to danger? To emerge triumphant, Perry must overcome the greatest challenge alone: embracing his devastating past. But can he succeed by Sunday’s sunrise deadline? How can he possibly evolve from an ordinary man into King Perry?
A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.
I confess I sometimes (actually, often is a better word :) ) cannot contain my curiosity when I hear that a book is getting good word of the mouth. Initially I did not find the blurb for this book to be very appealing, but when I saw many glowing reviews on Amazon, my curiosity got the best of me. I got burned on several books getting good word of the mouth lately, so I decided to ask Wave whether the book was still available for review and luckily it was :). But not being very brave with the DSP Bittersweet line, I also asked Wave to check for me whether the ending is not TOO bittersweet for me and she kindly did that as well ;), and I finally had the book.
First and foremost I have to say that I started to get worried the moment when I saw how long the book was (over 9400 locations on my Kindle). No, not because I dislike long books, quite the contrary — the longer the better is usually my motto — but I was worried that the book would drag in places and I am happy to report that I found that the pacing was excellent IMO. The book was compulsively readable, I started it on my ride to work in the morning and by the time I got home I was done with it. I guess that means that the length was perfect.
I also can wholeheartedly recommend this book if for nothing else than for it being different from vast majority of the offerings on the M/M market. The book has a love story, but it is most definitely NOT a traditional romance; I would say it is a Quest for discovery of one true self, self-acceptance, letting go of grief and, well, becoming a true King, as I am sure you guessed from the title and the blurb. :)
I thought the book definitely has a parable-like feel, which one will certainly hear and read a-plenty during the Quest, but the story also has a delightful, beautifully-written, very real San Francisco setting. I thought that while the story dealt with the very simple theme of coming back to one’s self and forgiving the world for the real and imaginary hurts, it was quite original, which is not an easy task for such tried and true theme, but what the writer did with it was quite interesting.
Additionally, I really, really liked Perry. I thought the changes in him were done beautifully and I cheered for him to overcome all the obstacles to be able to truly start living. I thought his reactions to the craziness he was subjected to during this journey were very well done.
And as we know from the fantasy genre, every Quest needs a guide, from the beginning anyway to give the man on the quest some ropes, and here we come to the reason why I graded the book the way I did: even though I really did not think that there was anything in the story itself or the writing that did not work for me (in fact, I thought it was close to perfection) I just really, really, REALLY could not connect to Vin. His manipulations, while essentially harmless, were still that and I hate overtly manipulative characters immensely (Albus Dumbledore, I am taking to you!). I realize that the only thing Vin wanted to do is to help Perry, but I still disliked the several tricks he came up with to do so. I guess I am not fan of “a little hurt and humiliation is good for you if it helps you to get rid of bigger grief and pain” idea.
Also, while I think that it was a great idea to let readers wonder who Vin actually was and whether he was “human” or not, at the same time we see during the course of the book that he has real pain in his past, which he still suffers like a very real human being, and thinking of him as human just made me want to smack him over the head more than once and tell him to get lost with his annoying “I know everything about Perry and what will happen to him and I am RIGHT” attitude. Perhaps I can more easily forgive such attitude in the High Powers rather than humans? I don’t know, all I know that I did not care for Vin much at all. So basically it is extremely subjective failure to connect with the character that brought the rating down for me, but I can easily see how and why the book was a five star read for so many reviewers.