Guest Post: Alex Stargazer’s Review of Vivaldi in the Dark

This post was written by author Alex Stargazer, blogger at http://alexstargazer.blogspot.com/?m=1.


Vivaldi in the Dark was a book I hoped to enjoy greatly; alas, I found it somewhat disappointing. Although the character-building was excellent, a number of other things held it back.

Vivaldi in the Dark, as the title may suggest, is about a certain reluctant violinist known as Darren. The meat of the story centres around his relationship with Jayden—a cute, rather effeminate young man with a penchant for writing plays. The author has also woven in a little additional detail: Jayden is a working-class boy suffering in a comprehensive, whilst Darren is a posh boy in a private school. I admit I am a fan of class differences in relationships; they make things that much more layered.

Anyway, back to the main plot. Vivaldi certainly has plenty to recommend it: the character portrayal is adroit, sensitive, and convincing. It’s a proper romance novel, unlike too much of the sad drivel bearing the moniker ‘LGBT’. It is also, in fact, quintessentially British; I suspect many American readers will be left in quite a fuddle.

Nonetheless, despite these strengths, several aspects of the book fell short.

To begin with: the sex. I know it’s politically incorrect, and somewhat offensive, to say this—but the interests of reviewer honesty compel to say it as it is. An a-sexual transgender man doesn’t get what it’s like to be a horny gay male teenager.

This I could overlook, if the book also didn’t suffer from some technical issues. The pacing is not well done: the story seemed to stutter towards the middle, while the ending felt a little rushed. The writing is problematic; there were, simply, too many occasions in which I was wondering who was doing the speaking. The copious use of italics began to annoy after a while.

The biggest technical problem, though, is point of view. Though written in third-person, the book actually feels like it’s been written in first person. Point of view transitions are clumsy and confuse the reader.

In short: this book could have been better had it been stronger technically (a little more editing might have helped with that). As it is, despite enjoying the story, I still struggled to finish this book. The pacing and points of view errors jarred too much.

Rating: 3/5.

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