Title: Modest Proposal
Author: Felicitas Ivey
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Publisher: Dreamspinner press
Amazon: Buy Link A Modest Proposal
Genre: Sci Fi /Yaoi-ish Gay Romance
Length: 118 pages
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
Summary: Interesting sci fi romance with a Yaoi-ish feel, where the characters and settings were pretty well-developed for its length.
Hagar is the captain of the cargo ship Midgard Serpent. Most of his shipments are legal, but he has a reputation for being an honest smuggler—a reputation that lands him some troublesome cargo. Shibito, an exiled member of the Nipponese imperial family, meets Hagar on Dunmore Station. Keeping his true identity secret, Shibito tells Hagar he’ll do anything to get out of there. Never one to turn down an offer like that, Hagar accepts.
But Shibito doesn’t have just any destination in mind, and Hagar is furious when he discovers that his mysterious passenger has altered their course without telling him. With no way to change course a second time, Hagar has no choice but to trust—and face the temptation of Shibito’s request for some rough handling, a proposal Hagar isn’t sure he can resist.
Hagar and Shibito meet in the bar on a space station. Shibito needs a ride to get to another planet and manages to convince Hagar to give him that ride in exchange for anything, anything meaning sexual services. Needless to say the ride does not exactly go like Hagar planned.
I actually quite enjoyed this one. I spent couple of days wondering whether I am being too gentle with evaluating this story, but for its length I could not find much to criticize. (and just an aside that although the page length is 118, it seemed much shorter than that) Granted, the sci fi settings are mostly just the frame for the romance, but it is a very well done frame, which consists of interesting elements in my opinion. While the world is not portrayed with a lot of detail, it felt like the author oriented me quite well in the place and made sure I understood the basics of where this world was located at least and what are the main players in that universe.
The main reason why it gave me yaoi-ish feel is because Shirito’s home continuum was based on customs of Japan. It is mentioned in the text that they have planets named after the cities of earth Japan, they have Imperial family, etc, etc. The story itself and the characters are what reminded me of yaoi too, even though I do not read too much of it.
I enjoyed how Hagar and Shibito met and I felt the characters were interesting, although I thought they could be developed in more depth. I liked how Shibito did not hesitate to use any means to get what he wanted, even if he felt guilty afterwards. Shibito was an intriguing mix of strength and vulnerability and one could not help but wonder whether this is the real Shibito we saw in the story, or the Shibito after what was done to him. Hagar is not as complex, just kind, gentle and at the same time tough character, whom I liked.
I always like when an author avoids the Insta!Love trap and welcomed the fact that initially their connection was mostly sexual. I was also glad that even when the connection between them deepens, they talk in terms of wanting to get to know each other better, not of wanting to spend their life with each other and right now.
The doors for a series are open very wide at the end of the story. I am actually looking forward to the next book if it were to come.