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Torque by Charley Descoteaux
I was soooo excited about this book. It focuses on Mick, a young man on the run from his past, who ends up working with Scotty, who has a complicated relationship with his childhood friend, Mercy. The three of them grow closer and feeling emerge and… It sounded good. You just don’t see a lot of books with asexual characters, or poly relationships, or trans characters, or even bi characters, and this had all of that. And the plot sounded interesting, too. And, man, was I so disappointed.
Okay, so there were just… a lot of things that didn’t work for me here. Honestly, I think a big one was that the sexualities presented were just… presented really oddly? For me. This is personal, I think. But everyone experiences their own sexuality in their own way, so… I dunno, maybe there are asexual people who enjoy having sex ALL THE TIME, which happens in this book. For example. I certainly can’t say that there aren’t people who have and enjoy sex and also identify as asexual. I just felt… like we had all these unique genders and sexualities and the author worked really hard to make them as… palatable as possible. I wasn’t really looking for palatable. I was looking for honesty, and this simply didn’t feel honest. And I felt that downplaying genders and relationships and sexualities that are already shoved into a dark corner, making them, maybe, reader‐friendly for a very specific reader group, was… not quite right.
But, okay. That’s a personal problem and I don’t think every reader’s going to have that same reaction.
So let’s talk technical. This is not well written. The writing is really clunky. It moves at a very fast clip, which is completely fine in many books, but here it felt like that pace was achieved by… leaving things out. The characters’ emotions change in sharp leaps, instead of a natural arc. I couldn’t understand why any of them liked each other at all, because one minute they don’t know each other, and the next they’re in love.
Speaking of the characters, I had a really hard time connecting with any of them. They never felt like real people to me, at all. Instead, they seemed to be cutouts of themes, without real personalities or wants or feelings. There was a lot of drama between the three main characters, as well as the side characters, but it felt kind of overblown, a way to eke out emotion, and I just couldn’t make myself care what happened to these people. There was also a lot of action, but again, I just didn’t care.
The dialogue was stiff. The sex was stiff (and not in the good way.) There were a lot of quick viewpoint changes (although not the worst viewpoint changes I’ve ever seen. But they were still uncomfortable.)
So… I guess that’s how I felt about this book. I didn’t care about it, or for it. Between the choppy writing and the blah characters and the weird way genders and sexuality were looked at, I simply didn’t like this.
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