Dreamscape Media. (Spires, Bk. 1). Jan. 2024. 9:05 hrs. ISBN 9781666653717. $17.99. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE
An early work by Hall makes its audio debut. Ash is a posh former wunderkind whose struggles with self-harm left him hospitalized. A chance hookup at a stag party, working-class Essex boy Darian is loud, brash, and disarmingly sweet. Ash thinks it’s a one-off until Darian crashes his next book signing, and Ash can’t help but invite him into his life. Ash realizes that Darian is awakening feelings he thought were long dead: trust, hope, and vulnerability. But he’s so used to things going wrong that love seems unattainable. Will he sabotage this relationship, or can he keep his world lit with Darian’s glitter? The 2013 book by Hall contains their hallmarks, including depictions of mental illness, deepening characterization through sex scenes, and making tired tropes feel new. Some early-writer foibles are present, including flowery similes, but Nicholas Boulton’s expert narration molds it into a cohesive whole. Boulton’s skillfully rendered Essex accent is tailor-made for readers put off by the transliterated accent in the written work. Additional content, including an expanded conclusion, helps round out the narrative.
VERDICT A perfect narrator and a deeply felt romance make this a definitive version of a Hall favorite.
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