Title: Lord of Misrule
Author: Alex Bekins
Length: 11,314 words (47 pdf pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m contemporary
The Yule festival of Twelfth Night is a time when servants are the masters and vice versa, and tension and humor fill the air. Dan and his partner, Taj, have busy lives even without their duties as members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. When Taj is selected to coordinate the holiday activities and assigned the title Lord of Misrule, it encroaches on their time as a couple—until they negotiate their way to a happy holiday.
I did not read the blurb before I started this story, and I have to confess the author got me at the beginning. I’m reading away, thinking historical fantasy, then… Gatorade? What? Well done.
Taj and Dan are preparing for their first Christmas together and Taj has volunteered to help with the Christmas celebration of their Society. He’s pretty new to the whole thing (I got the impression introduced to it all by Dan) and is loving the active involvement in holiday celebrations. It seems Taj hasn’t really had a good Christmas history, so he’s throwing himself full-steam into this year, which is leading to a bit of burn-out and overkill. Dan is used to lots of family and friend celebrations and even he’s thinking it’s too much.
I liked the descriptions of the celebration, in which the better halves of the reigning couple (in this case Taj and another woman) are the king and queen of the celebration, forcing their partners to serve them. And the descriptions of jousting and the fair and the easy friendships they had with the other players was fun, however I think the fact that it switched from role playing (with different names and personalities) to everyday life and back and forth kind of kept me at a bit of a distance to the story. Others may not find that.
I also found that a couple of issues were raised, such as Dan’s fear that Taj likes it a bit “too” much when he gets rough were kind of thrown out but then not addressed at any point. So this was nicely written and different with the role playing and different traditions, however I think I would have been more interested in finding out how Taj and Dan met as it seemed an interesting story. Still, a nice change from the traditional “straight” contemporaries.