Lord of the White Hell, Book 2
This book is going to have to do some HEAVY LIFTING to make up for the ending of the last one.
After the ends of the first book, Kiram’s family and home are in danger. The curse threatening to overtake Javier is starting to get it overwhelming, and they need to figure out how to stop it and soon. In the meantime, Kiram and Javier’s relationship is in dire need of fixing. With their relationship on the rocks, and Javier losing control, they have to band together against the darkness.
Like I said in my review for the first book, this book deals with a cultural, religious, and racial divide between a white majority and a POC minority, which you don’t see a lot in fantasy books (except like the elves versus humans thing). That, and themes of sexuality and how they play into each culture are front and center. I also loved the exploration of Haldiim culture in Anacleto. Women in charge? Widely accepted and celebrated LGBT? Religion centers around nature and its preservation? A utopia. It’s so colorful and lively and Kiram got to be himself. It was a refreshing juxtaposition to the school, and the rest of the world that Javier and Kiram inhabit.
Now, my issues are few, but heavy hitters. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The first book ends with Javier saying and doing some very shitty things to Kiram, to put it lightly, and Kiram essentially tells him to go fuck himself, as he should. In the first 50 pages, this is completely resolved because the curse nearly kills Kiram and he seeks comfort from Javier, and even gets on his knees to beg Javier to share his bed. I’m sorry, but what the fuck? Kiram was in no way, shape, or form in the wrong, he’s just had this traumatic experience, and he just gives in to Javier’s ridiculous demand?? No. Unacceptable, and a terrible way to shape their relationship. Anything built on this action is disgusting. I don’t care if Javier grows later in the story, but he never once apologizes or offers any indication that what he did was beyond fucked up.
There is a white saviordom to this story. Javier, a privileged white man, having control over this ancient power sacred to the Bahiim, POC holy people, seems wrong. And then he lights up a tree and is the only person who can stop the Big Bad and his curse, et cetera, et cetera. But also, as a white author who has created this world with a beautiful POC culture, a POC main character, and Javier is the real savior? Well, I know Kiram actually saves the day because he’s a genius and Javier doesn’t deserve him, but it was just a poor decision on the author’s side.
Just because you have supressed homosexuality and a deep seated self-hatred because of your internalized homophobia does NOT mean you get to murder/attempt to murder your crush’s boyfriend. Stop that shit. We get that Elezar is gay and in love with Javier. He didn’t need to go off his fucking rocker and try to kill Kiram.
I’m not going to read the others, because I think it would just make me angry.
Trigger warnings: sexual content, homophobia, violence