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Friday, July 9, 2010

House of Stone by Vaughn Demont

House of Stone by Vaughn Demont
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Full Length (180 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3.5 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

A modern knight, a noble quest, and a magical sword. What could go wrong?

Welcome to the City, where gods run nightclubs, goblins hire out as mercs, sorcerers work their magic, the Fae hold court over every neighborhood…and humanity is blissfully ignorant of it all.

For minor Fae noble Richard Stone, life is going well. He has a decent fiefdom (okay, it’s a slum), a budding acting career (okay, so it’s porn), and one of only five magical swords in the City. An arranged marriage is barely a blip on his worry meter—until his family blade loses its magic. The shame of it puts his noble standing in jeopardy.

To regain his status, Richard needs help. Fortunately, his new bride is a sidhe knight and his servant Simaron has, er, his back. Together they embark on a quest to find the demon who slew his father, investigate a conspiracy that goes to the highest echelons of Fae nobility, and discover a secret family legacy that could ruin his House.

All while keeping up appearances to a society that demands perfection. And they say a noble’s life is easy…

What’s a gay porn star to do when his arranged marriage comes due? Go on an epic quest of course. This fantasy story delivers a quest to defeat evil and save the princess with a few side trips such as falling in love with the butler and learning about responsibility. Richard, aka Dick, thought his life was pretty well settled with his job as a gay porn star and a satisfying sexual relationship with his friend and butler, Sim. Unfortunately when his aunt and royalty call Richard to get married, trouble starts brewing in all directions. Only with the help of an ancient ancestor can Richard save both his new wife and his long time lover while realizing his fate and responsibility.

House of Stone is a humorous romp with some great characters and a fun plot. Although the summary may make this seem like a ménage, it’s not. The main relationship is between Richard and his butler, Sim. Richard’s arranged marriage to his wife Jen provides some interesting conflict and adventure, but this isn’t a love match and Jen has her own lover causing problems. There are a few sex scenes, though very brief and mostly alluded after the initial porno opening. The setting is classic fantasy in a contemporary setting. Imagine the modern world as you see it but behind the illusion there is a world of Fae creatures, trolls, brownies, etc that have complicated politics and responsibilities of their own.

The story is told in first person present tense and the narrator, Richard, talks to you the entire time. Whenever something comes up that pertains to the background or world building, Richard takes a few moments to explain everything to you, the reader. This is both humorous and slightly frustrating since this isn’t a story you experience. It’s told to you from beginning to end, which puts all the pressure on Richard as a narrator to engage the reader. If you like Richard’s humorous voice, you’ll likely enjoy the story. If you don’t, this isn’t going to appeal. I personally found it funny for the most part but it starts to wear as the story goes on. There are a few inconsistencies that, while meant for a laugh, feel forced.

For the most part though, House of Stone is an entertaining, fun, adventurous tale. It has a lot of classical fantasy elements while still giving a fresh, contemporary feel. The narrative nature means you may not enjoy this totally but it’s worth the time on a lazy afternoon to be swept away in Richard’s dysfunctional world.

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