Friday, March 9, 2012

Lovegames by M. Jules Aedin

Why I read it:  After reading the wonderful Paper Planes, I was keen to try and repeat the experience with the next book in this (extremely loosely linked) series.

What it's about:  Rockstar Keith Black and actor Adam Cruce are lovers who invite a third occasionally for a bit of fun.  Their respective careers keep them apart and their arrangement is that they can have sex with other people, just be safe.  Part of the arrangement comes out of Keith's bipolar disorder (disclaimer- I accepted that this was what Keith needed in the context of the book but I don't necessarily think that all people with bipolar disorder would feel the same way).  At Charlotte's Pride concert/fair/thingy, both Adam and Keith separately meet up with Sebastian Keane, a 21 year old college student who is slight and short and wears glitter eye makeup.  Both Adam and Keith are smitten and they invite Sebastian (Baz) back to their hotel for sex.  After spending all night and the next day with Baz, Adam and Keith are eager to repeat the experience, even though none of their thirds have ever been invited back.  Baz visits Keith and Adam in LA and they spend a few days together but are outed by the media which creates problems for all three.  All three want the relationship to continue permanently but all three have their own fears about coming out and saying so.

What worked for me (and what didn't): It's a hot story - there's plenty of sex and it is very well written.  Each of the three men have distinct personalities and I was able to distinguish between them fairly easily fairly quickly.

Keith's mental illness is described, from his point of view, as colours - the blackness moving in, a smile from Adam maybe causing a rush of purple, a high from performing a fireworks of gold and silver sparks for example.  It was a very effective and lyrical way of describing his emotions.  Keith is vulnerable.  He worries that he's too needy for Adam.  He worries that his feelings for Baz will push Adam away or make Adam feel bad.    He's desperately in love with Adam (and later Baz also) but he's very frightened of getting any treatment for his mental illness because his manager has warned him it is a career killer.

Adam is worried about Keith all the time.  He is also desperately in love and he worries all the time that Keith will lose it and hurt himself or someone else. He's worried that he's older than Keith and a lot (but I didn't catch how much) older than Baz.

Baz is a little more straight forward - he's interested in both men from the start but worries about intruding on their long term relationship.

Unfortunately, these issues weren't canvassed anywhere near enough in the book.  Here's what I noted on my Reader immediately when I finished reading last night: "BOO! Ending way to abrupt! HISS!!  On the positive, I was totally caught up with the story and the characters .  On the negative, the story WAS NOT FINISHED."   Literally, I went to press the next page button and there was no more book!!  Argh!!

Keith's vulnerability, Adam's worries, Baz's concerns and what would happen with his school and career - these things were all mostly unexplored and left hanging. Would Keith change managers?  How does his treatment go?  Too many questions!!  The last sex scene was particularly unsatisfying.  It needed another 50 or 100 pages to finish the story.

There's also a stalker-ish subplot which didn't really add to the story and could have been left out.

What else?  If I'm lucky, there will be a sequel and the things which were missing for me can be explored but as it was, I'm struggling to grade this book now.   It would be a B+ for what book there was but the ending (or lack of it) was closer to a D.  Honestly, I was so caught up in the story (which is a good thing) that the lack of closure was a big deal for me.  Overall, therefore, I'm going to go with a C/C+.

Grade: C/C+.


Tam said...

Wow, are you sure you're names not Jenre? You guys posted almost identical reviews within hours of each other. Ooooooh. I'll definitely give this one ago, it's a shame about the sudden unresolved ending though.

Kaetrin said...

LOL! I've heard from a few people now that they had a problem with the ending. Really, it was like part 1 with part 2 missing and instead a page or 2 to try and tidy up (and it didn't tidy at all!). This was so disappointing because there were some great aspects to the story otherwise. If it was a word count issue (and I really don't know either way), it could have been alleviated by removing the stalker subplot altogether and using that space to, you know, finish the story.

Do I sound bitter? :D I'm probably over-reacting - it's a book after all, not world peace, but I had been enjoying it so much and then for it just to finish? Grrr!!

Popping over to Jenre's blog now...

Jenre said...

We certainly did agree on most points, especially the ending. It did make me wonder whether the plan was to make the story in two halves and have this as the initial setting up for the three and then a further book exploring how they make it work in actuality. If that was the case then perhaps it should have been made a little clearer. As you say, many readers found the ending to be a little abrupt.

Chris said...

Hmm. I think I'll wait to see if the rest of the story comes out. :)

Kaetrin said...

@Jenre - a little abrupt? you're much nicer than me - I was mad! :)

Kaetrin said...

@Chris I do hope the author writes more of these characters because there was much to enjoy leading up to the end. I really did like the way the colours were used to describe Keith's bipolar - I have no idea how realistic it is or anything but it painted a word picture which was easy to understand at an instinctive level.