Author: Kai Ashante Wilson
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Series: Standalone Novella
Buy on Amazon!
(An advanced copy was provided by the publisher).
In Olorum, Aqib is a distant cousin to the emperor and the Master of Beasts. Same-sex relationships between men are shunned and severely punished by law, and are particularly disliked by Aqib's brother and father. When Aqib meets Lucrio, a visiting Dalucan soldier, a romance ensues, but will it survive everything that's thrown at it?
I'm usually don't read romances, but I had heard good things about Wilson's last story, and at times I like to step outside my box and see what else is out there. Usually this doesn't go well, but in the case of A Taste of Honey, it did.
There's a lot to appreciate besides the romance. Wilson manages to introduce a lot of interesting worldbuilding concepts, concepts that certainly have convinced me to read any other stories he might write in this world. A particular standout are the Gods that appear midway through, and have magical abilities and knowledge that bleeds fantasy into science fiction. Although not a lot about the history of Olorum is revealed, there appears to be plenty of room to grow and develop it.
The subplots, especially those involving Lucretia the brilliant mathematician, and her interactions with the Gods and Aqib allow the story to enter the realm of unpredictability. And unpredictability is served especially well with the main plot and the ending that Wilson has conjured up. I also appreciate that Wilson doesn't try to cram any messages or morals down the reader's throat, which was something I was worried about when I first read the synopsis.
And now I must mention the prose which was probably my favorite part. It's not overly fancy or lyrical, it's more focused, but no less elegant or lacking when it comes to descriptions or expressing emotions. I found myself being reminded of the way N.K. Jemisin writes, and I wouldn't be surprised to find fans of hers enjoying this, as well fans of romances.