Thursday, July 18, 2013

ARC Review: Monarch Season by Mario Lopez-Cordero

Monarch Season
From the blurb:

The lead character of Monarch Season is pot smoking Devin Santos, who believes that image is everything He has a boyfriend in finance, a magazine-worthy beach house, and a closet full of Purple Label—never mind that he’s as jaded as a foo dog and self-medicates with enough weed to numb an elephant. Though Devin can measure success in his cobblestone abs, Italian linen sheets and a gallery’s worth of contemporary art, something is missing and cracks are weakening his relationship with domineering I-banker Charlie Doherty. Enter Frank Duma, a totally different kind of guy, who succeeds in unraveling Devin’s life and forces him to examine what it truly means to have it all.

Sandra's rating:

Monarch Season is an in-depth character study of deeply flawed, complex people, some of whom grow throughout this novel.

Devin Santos, one of the leads, seems to have it all - money, prestige, a hot boyfriend, the finest of the finest things available, a summer beach house - and still, from the first moment, the reader is able to see the cracks in the beautiful facade. Devin's boyfriend is messing around with other men, and not even trying to hide it, which prompts Devin to self-medicate with pot and valium, but doesn't prevent him from trying to hold on to the image and lifestyle he's created for himself.

When Frank Duma enters his life and tries to win Devin for himself, Devin is forced to examine his values, his place in his boyfriend's life, and must realize that self-worth doesn't necessarily come from the fine and expensive things that surround you, but instead from the love and devotion of a man who puts your own needs first.

The book doesn't need to rely on titillating sexual situations to bring its point across, nor does it shy away from peeling back the layers of the rich and somewhat famous who only seek power and pleasure for themselves, without regard for what it may cost anyone else.

The entire supporting cast has a purpose in the novel, and the author manages, with poignant and often witty dialogue, to draw a picture of two flawed individuals who, despite their obvious differences and Devin's initial disdain and denial, find something in each other they were desperately missing.

Monarch Season subtly questions and expounds on themes of false images and real identities, power and intrigues, sex and lust, money and prestige. The author created complex characters, including the supporting cast, that never felt like caricatures or parodies of contemporary gay culture. The writing is crisp and descriptive, the dialogue witty and wry, and this is the perfect book for a summer beach read.

A very impressive debut. I look forward to more from this author.

I received a free ARC from the publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return.

Available now from Riverdale Avenue Books

Buy this book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time, happy reading.

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