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Affairs of M/Men

M/M Romance Reviews by Maybedog

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Afflicted - Brandon Shire This started off really great. The descriptions were beautiful, and I felt, necessary. Shire did so well believably describing the world as a blind man might experience it I wondered if he might be blind himself. He brought up points that I hadn't even considered, like how a blind man would know he was gay if he couldn't see pictures of men. He also didn't perpetrate the fallacy that blind people's other senses are more acute. He just explained, "I'm just tuned into them more because I don't have vision clouding up the synapses."

I loved that the blind man isn't a weakly, or helpless, or too sweet and nice like in so many books. I liked that he wasn't bitter or angry, either, just a little bit of a self-absorbed jerk sometimes.

I love that the characters were close in age. Finally! M/M books are so bad about that. It's so unnecessary to have two characters really far apart in age, and the perfect, equal relationships that develop in novels are not nearly as likely as we are made to believe.

The rent boy with a heart of gold theme is tired but I did like him a lot. I liked them both. It was cool how neither was described physically other than being "hot" and having a toned body. (Hunter was obnoxious though when he described "fatties.") I loved the way Dillon called Hunter my little ninja.

The way it was described, their love was built on very little, though, mostly sex, despite the fact that there was so much more there. I didn't completely believe it, although when Dillon comes back after his meeting with Shu Shu I felt the intensity of Hunter's emotions just through the description of his actions. I thought it was really dumb, though, that Hunter assumed Dillon didn't meet with his client when he was only gone a couple of hours. A lot can be done in a couple of hours.

There were some funny moments:


"They had talked about doing audio man on man fiction at one time but they finally realized that neither of them would be able to create a complete CD without running home to masturbate every hour or two."
["They" being a straight woman and a gay man. Clearly the author knows his market.]



Some of their motivations were weird. I don't know why Dillon never ended up telling Hunter he quit being an escort before that night. He let Hunter believe it was just after meeting his mom that he quit. and why Hunter didn't insist on knowing where Dillon lived right away, and why it took so long for them to exchange phone numbers. Even unemotional hookups know each other's phone numbers.

A couple of random things were never fully addressed like, how did Dillon know where Hunter worked, and why did he send him flowers and why didn't Hunter ever thank him?

The POV was fine in the beginning but about 2/5ths of the way through, it began to change randomly, often paragraph to paragraph. This is a BIG pet peeve of mine as it's very disorienting.

The pacing was fine in the beginning but it began to lag about halfway through and the same stuff was rehashed. An unnecessary sex scene was thrown in. The book was a longer than it needed to be. Or rather, some stuff taken out and other stuff put in. There's also no plot, although I suppose falling in love is a plot. I like more substance, though.

(The guy uses the word "bred" several times to describe something related to anal intercourse. I'd never heard that word. If anyone has any info about that, let me know.)

There were a few just random annoying things: There were several places where an adjective was used instead of an adverb (not in colloquial dialog) and that drives me crazy: "He fucked Hunter slow..." Also, in one place they have hours and tell each other they don't have time for sex. Not even a quickie? The stereotype of an enigmatic old Chinese man is used. Ugh. But he is a cool character.

The author appears to make the assumption that all male escorts are gay. There are plenty of straight ones; they just sleep with men because that's who usually hires them. It's not about sex with the gay ones, either. They all have to fake it, so there's no reason that it would be any harder for a straight man. In fact, he might be able to distance himself more. There are plenty of straight porn stars, too.

At one point, the idea that a man with Down's Syndrome would come live with Hunter was brought up (never dealt with, though). When Toby gives the father, Garret, some reasons why it might not be the best plan, he thinks to himself, "And of course, there was the fact that Hunter was gay, but that didn't need to be spoken by either of them." Why is that a problem? There was absolutely no mention of homophobia or impropriety, although later there was something about Hunter's "indiscretion" by riding in a truck with Garret. None of this is ever explained, though. Maybe in the second book?

The worst thing, though, was the unsafe sex. At the beginning of the book there is a disclaimer saying that the book has depictions of unsafe sex and that you shouldn't do it. But really, why? There was no plot need to portray unsafe sex, and the fact that they did it without either one mentioning it, was just dumb. Who the hell would have sex with a prostitute without using protection? It's not just AIDS you're worried about! And then to continue doing it when you know the guy is still hustling?

Okay, this last thing is a pet peeve of mine. One line is "He had been both a dominate top and submissive bottom..." I see this all the time in M/M books, the idea that if you receive then you're submissive. As a woman, I find this offensive for obvious reasons. There is no reason why having someone stick something in you makes you subservient. I get that it's partially a gay cultural thing but it certainly doesn't have to be and it pisses me off.

The ending was very abrupt and random, but most things were resolved. I will probably read the sequel even though this was so so. 2.5 stars rounded up because of the amazing way being blind is presented.