Peter Styles. Worth Trying, Worth His Salt, Worth Wanting, Worth the Payne, Worth a Shot.
So, I’ve read rather a lot of this author’s books. There was a time when I used to routinely check for new releases. For a while there seemed to be a lapse, and I stopped checking. This week, I found there was a whole new series, so I eagerly downloaded the first half of it and set to it over the course of the week. Shall we just say that if this was a new author I was considering, I would have chucked the whole thing by page 10 of book 1. Peter, where has your proofreader gone? (And, we could have a whole conversation about who I think is actually writing under this pseudonym, because I have a very strong feeling, but that is neither here nor there for the purposes of this review.) Horrific typos both of the fat-fingered and homonym variety, and grammatical torture that even an algorithmic based program can’t justify on nearly every page! This is not the quality of craft I remember. And, against every instinct of self preservation, I persist out of loyalty, because there are not that many men (or people presenting themselves as men) writing in the M/M romance space.
So, let us put that aside and move on. I hate to be a bunch of trash talk (unless it is, yanno, chatting about the Real Housewives with my bestie), but the hits are going to keep coming. I don’t recall Styles’ books being quite so … generic. Sure, these mass-produced “romances” are overwhelmingly trope filled, but this particular series was a bunch of cookie cutter characters and plot points in a way that could not possibly have been the norm in Styles’ other works or I never would have gotten this far. (More evidence for my argument about who is writing these.) Otherwise, the writing is on par with what it has always been.
And then I need to talk about the sex. This is typically a make or break thing for me in this genre, because the majority of M/M writers have clearly never had M/M sex, and just write what they fantasize straight sex would be like if you swapped out a vagina for a dick. No thank you. In Styles’ work there is a consistent masculine voice which includes the sex, and if nothing else, that is rare enough to justify a few hours of my time. And while the sex between men was not unpleasantly feminine, I did still just feel like the only rationale for these books was just a cursory veneer of character and plot development to justify the blow jobs. And, while I understand that that’s a thing, it is still disappointing. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but if all I want is an excuse to wank, I can hop onto PornHub; I’d really rather become invested in compelling characters or riveting plot than just skimming along until the next ejaculation.
And so, I will continue to check occasionally for Styles’ new work because there is a dearth of masculine tones in the M/M world (whether or not Styles is actually a man), but I will cross all my fingers and all my toes that they at least go back to the quality and substance of earlier works and, please sweet merciful sky wizard, let them get a new proof reader. If you have Kindle Unlimited, I’d say there’s no harm in giving this series a chance, as long as you can overlook the issues noted.