Fraternal Devotion is an anthology published by Storm Moon Press and can be found here. The book contains five stories about brothers loving brothers. And while I know a lot of people tend to automatically frown or push away that concept, but I think that people should always give everything a try. You never know what will inspire you, or make you smile unless you try it. And by try it I mean give this book a try and read it. Especially since this book holds a lot of good stories in it.
Over all rating: 3.5 Stars
The first tantalizing tale, War and Peace and Brotherhood by D.K. Jernigan (4.5 stars) unfolds the tale of brothers Keith and Riley. In this world, a mutation has started turning some of the population and it has split sides. Riley had left a number of years ago and Keith had no idea where he’d gone until he shows up on the wrong side of the line that Keith’s been walking. This book is set in a world where an infection has started to change people, to those changed a lot of them see it as a gift but to those unchanged they see them as abominations that must be eradicated at any cost. The infection that changes you is spread by having sex with someone that’s already been changed, and personally I have to say it’s an interesting way to explain people gaining the ability to change into wolves or make themselves invisible, though that’s only a small example of what people have gained in this world. The world building in the story is imaginative and interesting, and the interaction and relationship between the two brothers in engaging and makes you want to keep reading.
The second story is Analgeisa by Alisha Steele (4 stars) and tells the tale of Brandon and Ethan. After a rather bitter divorce, their mother is trying to fix up their childhood home so she can sell it and move into something smaller and more affordable. There’s no hiding the fact that Brandon wants his brother, from the get go we know that the feelings are there. And watching the interaction between the two, the story of why Ethan ran to England with his band nineteen months before the story started, is extremely interesting and hot. This story, with it’s teasing, flirting, and jealousy is a very steamy read.
Third in the tales of brotherly love comes Depression, Love, and Swimming Pools by Leigh Wilder (3 stars). The story starts with Cale coming home on Spring Break to see his mother and his brother Derrick. His mother is quick to tell him that something is wrong with his older brother, and without actually saying it she thinks that Cale should fix whatever is going on as Derrick seems to have taken to just floating in the family pool nearly naked. The story overall is a relatively sad one, as you come to find that the brothers have gone through a good deal of loss between them, and that both are trying to cope as they can though Derrick is having a tougher time of it through everything. And while I didn’t gel all that well with this story, it is well written and the characters are engaging. Well worth the read.
Coming in fourth is On Clouds of Obsession by Azalea Moone (2 stars) where we meet Jeremy and Matt. It’s a week before Matt’s wedding to Candy, and Jeremy is not all that enthusiastic about the wedding. Matt invites Jeremy to the Bachelor party and despite his reservations agrees and goes. Things escalate from steamy to depressing and then around to sweet. If you follow Jeremy’s emotions, this story is a roller coaster of emotions, though I feel that it’s written extremely well. Neither the story nor the emotions lose you but instead make you want to continue with Jeremy to see how the shoe will fall when all is said and done.
And finally, but certainly not least is On the Edge by S.L. Armstrong & K. Piet (4 stars). Ben and Andrew are two brothers that have moved out on their own, sharing an apartment to support each other in the city away from their parents. Though there’s more than just trying to make it as a musician on Andrew’s mind, namely struggling through the guilt and shame that come from loving and sleeping with his brother. Ben doesn’t have any of the guilt or shame, but rather embraces that they’ve always gone against the grain and this was no different, and so long as it made them happy it was alright. The tug back and forth between the emotions is definitely a powerful one, and the story has a darker edge to it because of Andrew’s drug use.