Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Fenton: The Loneliest Vampire (e-short story) by Kate Aaron

Fenton: The Loneliest Vampire is a m/m fantasy short story. It's 9,300 words long, which came out to 23 pages on my Nook, not counting the "here is some other stuff by the author" page at the end. This is work 1.5 in Aaron's Lost Realm series.

I'm not sure what counts as spoilers in a work this short, especially one that doesn't actually tell a story (more on that in my review). So, I'll just be safe and say my synopsis has spoilers.

Synopsis:

Ever since he was a child, Fenton knew he wasn't like everyone else. He wasn't interested in girls. Not only that, although he liked men, he didn't have any desire to have sex with them. This becomes a problem when he meets Alec. Although Fenton loves Alec, he feels no more desire to have sex with him than with anyone else. This puts a rift between the two men that only widens after their relationship is discovered and they're cast out of their village.

Eventually, Alec leaves Fenton for someone else. A distraught Fenton ends up in the arms of Kali, a vampire who swears he can give Fenton what he needs, desire demonstrated not through sex, but through blood drinking. However, even as a vampire by Kali's side, Fenton still doesn't feel he belongs. When Kali leaves him for someone else, it seems as though Fenton might be alone forever. Then he hears of Prince Skye, a fae so compassionate that he spared the vampire Azrael after finding him in the hands of a bunch of witches. For the first time in centuries, Fenton feels hope, and he is consumed with a need to meet Skye.

Review:

When I saw that this story and the next work in the series, Fire & Ice, were tagged “asexual,” I decided to give them a shot. I wanted to see how an asexual character would be handled. Since I hate reading series out of order, I bought the first work, Blood & Ash, as well. If you've been keeping track of my recent reviews, you already know I was disappointed by Blood & Ash. Fenton: The Loneliest Vampire (hereafter, FTLV) wasn't an improvement.

A big part of the problem was that FTLV was not actually a story, but rather a series of events connected by lots of summarizing. It began with Fenton's birth, and it wasn't until halfway through that he became a vampire. The last half of FTLV spanned several centuries and ended not long before the start of Blood & Ash. I think FTLV would have been much stronger if Aaron had focused on one particular event, such as Fenton's time with Kali. All that summarizing really weakened the story, and the portion focusing on Fenton's time as a human felt unnecessarily long.

When I first started planning out this review, I thought I would at least be able to say I liked Fenton better than Ash, but that wasn't really the case. True, Fenton didn't annoy me the way Ash did, and I found him to be more interesting. However, it was the idea of him that interested me more than anything. I loved the idea of an asexual main character who still wanted love, but wasn't interested in or comfortable with expressing that love via sex. It was too bad that "asexual and lonely" seemed to be all Fenton was.

Part of me is looking forward to seeing the development of an asexual relationship between Fenton and Skye, which reviews tell me will be happening in at least part of Fire & Ice. Unfortunately, I have little faith that Aaron will be able to make the characters and their relationship as complex and interesting as they should be.

Additional Comments:

The bit at the end, about Azrael's torture at the hands of some witches, only emphasizes how surface-level the characters in this series are. In Blood & Ash, Azrael is captured by witches again while trying to save Ash. Was there any mention of his previous capture and torture? No. I didn't even know about it until I read FTLV. There should have been some mention, maybe even some residual emotional effects.

Read-alikes:
  • Interview with the Vampire (book) by Anne Rice - If you'd like another moody vampire story focusing on those vampires' less-than-happy relationships, you might give this a try.
  • The Heart of Aces (anthology, book) - I haven't read this yet, although I plan to. If you liked the idea of an asexual main character and found yourself looking forward to the possibility of some kind of asexual romance between Fenton and Skye, you might want to give this a try. All the stories in this anthology deal with asexual relationships.

2 comments:

  1. When I saw the title, I thought you meant this:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3GRSbr0EYYU

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's hilarious. That particular Fenton definitely knows what he wants.

      Delete

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