Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: The Immortals

The ImmortalsThe Immortals by Victor J Banis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strictly speaking, Jason and Peter don't have overly much in common. Peter is a male model and actor, extroverted, flamboyant and loud in everything he does, and also a little superficial, keen on appearances, and quite well-off. Jason goes to school during the days and flips burgers at night; he's more the introverted type, a bookworm and art lover, and thinks of himselve as average and a bit of a bore. So Jason can't help wondering how Peter came to find so much of a fancy in him, and in such a short time, since they've been together for only a few weeks when Peter asks him to move in together. But Peter insists that he loves Jason, and Jason thinks he loves him back, because

"...Peter was a catch, there was no denying that. You couldn’t not love a catch, especially if you’re the catcher."

On that note, Jason allows Peter to make the decisions for both of them without putting up much of a fight. He even agrees to move in with Peter's father, although he's quite scared of Alders, who's as ugly as Peter is pretty and apparently disapproves of his son's choice in companion. But Peter isn't only sure of himself but also convinced he knows what's best for both of them, an so he just sweeps Jason along without asking.

Due to some problems with his school, Jason finds himself with nothing to do and more or less stuck with Alders for his only company since Peter is off at work the whole day. As the days pass by, Jason discovers that there's more to Alders than his ugly face and his trim, fit body. Companionship turns into friendship and slowly, gradually becomes more than that.

It takes Peter a long time to realize that there's something not quite right with his and Jason's relationship. It seems natural, at first, that they would slowly drift apart, with Peter wrapped up in his work and Jason spending so much time with Alders on literature, art, and culture, things which Peter never cared for in the first place. But once Peter notices there is something wrong, he goes about setting things back to right the way he always did, with making decisions for both of them without asking Jason's opinion. It had worked fine so far, why shouldn't it this time? Well, Peter forgot that there was now someone else in the picture too, and this one was a force he'd better taken into consideration before it was too late...

This short story was a fine little piece of enjoyment to me. The writing was great. Smooth, flawless, funny and tongue-in cheek, but with just the right amount of seriousness to keep the story from being superficial. Although there was barely any on-page sex, the story oozed eroticism. And for only under 30 pages, the characterizations were awesome. Jason, Peter and Alders had nothing in common with the unfortunately often prevailing perfect-in every-aspect heroes; neither of those three men was, which made them all the more real and dear to me. Alders, in particular - to me he had some serious Mediterranean macho man charm. While it felt a bit put-on with Peter, the attitude and self-confidence just came naturally to Alders. He didn't have to steamroller Jason, he just needed to be himself - and he allowed Jason space without abandoning him and still kept Jason close without smothering him. Although we only get to hear Peter's and Jason's narrative voices, Alders is actually the best-drawn character. The author uses the narrative for characterization, giving Peter much room and stage time and letting Jason fade a little to the background where he feels most at home. I found this brilliant. The plot broke the familiar pattern of romance in an refreshing, cheeky way which I enjoyed greatly. My only complaint was that this story was too short, though; I'd have loved to see a little more drama after the dropping of the bomb.

I can see clearly why some readers might dislike this story and/or its characters. This story has some elements which generally aren't looked upon overly favorably in general: an apparently weak and gullible hero, a relationship breaker of sorts, something some might consider cheating, and an ending some might find less than satisfying. I couldn't help myself, though: I loved it. Capital L.

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