Book #85: Something Like Lightning (2014)

Something-Like-Lightning_by_Jay-Bell_Cover-ArtAuthor: Jay Bell
Language: English with a bit of German
Length: 367 pages (virtual)
Finished reading: April 22 2015

I read the previous book in Jay Bell’s Something Like… gay romance series, Spring, about a year ago, and I think the series dropped off my radar for a little while because I didn’t realise this was out until this year. Fortunately, this is written as a much more original story, similar to its direct predecessor and unlike some of the previous entries in the series.

It’s from the perspective of Kelly, the boyfriend’s ex in Spring. There he was quite a minor character, and it took me a while to remember any details about him, so I was midway through the second or third chapter before I remembered that he loses his leg, as is depicted on the front of the cover. To be fair, this is a known event if you’ve read the last book, but I imagine it would have had more impact if I hadn’t been expecting it.

Perhaps that’s the danger of reading about the sane events again. That said, I had either forgotten or not realised in the first place that Kelly was black – I think I’d pegged him as an emo kid when the last book described him as “dark” – perhaps it’s my personal failing that I don’t pick up on similes so easily. Or I just didn’t remember anything about him. Anyway, the author doesn’t explore racial issues as much as he explores the identity crisis that happens when Kelly, formerly a star athlete, loses his leg and becomes disabled.

I thought the writing was, as always, compelling enough to keep me reading at a fast pace, and like the last book, I was finished in a few days. I thought the characters were fleshed out well. I was a little disappointed that it was moving so much further from the original storyline – in particular, the character Ben from the first book is met only briefly, and it’s not clear what his relation is to the other characters. Maybe that’s realistic, though.

I was also rather disappointed with the ending – it’s not as unambiguously happy as the previous books, and it ended on a sequel hook, as it looks like Bell has actually planned the next book now, from Kelly’s new boyfriend’s perspective (it turns out he’s another character that was briefly mentioned in the last book but not fully explored – here he seems troubled but we don’t really know why).

I’m still wondering whether the reason why I like these books is because they’re one of the vanishingly few gay-themed series I’ve read, but I find them so easy to read that I have to recommend them whole-heartedly! But as I think I’ve said before, this is the fifth book in the series, and it’d be better to start with the first.

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