Title: Written In The Stars
Author: Alix Bekins
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Genre: contemporary m/m romance
Length: Novel (210 pdf pages)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A Guest Review by Feliz
Summary Review: A cute, funny and very entertaining comedy of errors.
The Blurb: Bailey McMillan’s life is a mess. The general public blames him for his former employer’s nuclear pollution, resulting in professional disgrace. Humiliated, he takes a job as an editor at a science magazine run by his best friend, John. That part isn’t so bad; Bailey is fond of John, who seems to find Bailey’s abrasive nature amusing.
Unfortunately, working for John also leads to writing an astrology column in exchange for getting free rein in some op-ed articles—and then being sued over one. The (totally coincidental) accuracy of the column offers opportunity for further professional disgrace if anyone discovers its author—and then Bailey digs himself a little deeper.
In an attempt to prove astrology is bogus, he agrees to an experiment to date someone from each star sign. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Bailey’s got a stupid crush on John, who stubbornly insists on a detailed breakdown of every date—bad and otherwise. Bailey’s luck has to improve sometime… right?
The Review: This story took the clichéd slightly nutty, head-in-the-clouds professor and brought him back to earth with astrology, of all things. It was witty and funny to read; I especially liked the way I, as the reader, got to be ahead of the supposedly genius Bailey as for what was really going on with him and John, as the two of them getting together in the end was never really a question. Bailey’s so JUST like brainiacs should be – juggling atomic nuclei for kicks and giggles, saving the world from going up in flames on his lunch break, but totally clueless when it comes to matters of the heart. Impatient with people he thinks are slower than him (which would be 99% of the global population), self-confident to the point of arrogance, Bailey is a picture-postcard condescending prick most of the time. Still, some people know how to handle him, especially John, Bailey’s friend and new boss, who likes him despite, or perhaps even because of his bristles.
Bailey and John had some hilarious pieces of dialogue. Like this: (after Bailey’s horoscopes, much to his distress, turned out surprisingly accurate):
John shook his head and finished his beer. “So prove it.”
Bailey looked at John like he was nuts, which clearly John was, and this was simply more evidence. “Prove what, how?”
“Prove that the romance crap is wrong. Wow me,” John challenged him, grinning.
“Of all the idiotic, pointless, futile theories to waste my time on…. You might as well ask me to disprove the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”
“Praise His Noodly Appendage,” John said, raising his glass in a toast.
Bailey grew on me quickly – he is how he is, he just can’t help it. His verbal jabs at other scientists and his casual, seemingly unconscious contempt for normal-minded people (among whom I count myself) were actually amusing, even bordered on comedic, especially as Bailey tripped over his own overgrown intelligence at times.
Bailey took up so much space in the book that all other characters paled in comparison to him, even John (whose alternating POV disappeared somewhere after the first third of the book). Still, there are many memorable characters in there, for example Vaclav, Bailey’s Czech colleague, or Dan, friend and would-be matchmaker. Even all the men Bailey dated over the course of the “experiment” were distinctive, though some remained more one-dimensional, in keeping with their respective impact on Bailey.
I must admit, when I took up this book I was a bit apprehensive of having to sit through the full dozen of Bailey’s zodiac dates. How could such a thing NOT turn repetitive? Yet, it wasn’t. Every date was different; Bailey even met his match once or twice in others who were even more arrogant, or more geeky, than he was himself. He despised some of them, clicked with others, even had sex with some.
[spoiler name=”spoiler”](off-page, for those who need to know. The only explicit scenes are with John) [/spoiler] I thought that being forced to interact with so many different personalities taught Bailey a lesson; he came out mellowed in the end. The lawsuit that resulted from one of Bailey’s “corrections” on the opinion of a fellow scientist served a similar purpose – Bailey had to trust the lawyers to handle things right, which apparently taught him that he couldn’t control everything and sometimes had to trust in other people to do their job without him telling them how.
In the beginning, Bailey was far from ready for the compromises being in a committed relationship takes, but by the end, when he and John finally got together, I could actually buy their HEA.
John also grew over the course of the book; watching Bailey go on date after date made him realize how much he cared for Bailey – and yes, he put the “rating tables” he made Bailey fill in after each date to good use. I really liked watching them together, cheered them on on their way towards each other and was happy for them and with them in the end.
For all that I really enjoyed this book, I have to comment on something I admittedly wouldn’t have noticed on my own hadn’t someone pointed it out to me. Apparently, the main character Bailey McMillan shares quite a number of defining character traits with Rodney McKay from the TV series Stargate Atlantis. I haven’t followed Stargate Atlantis so I had to check with Wikipedia, according to which Rodney, just like Bailey, aside from being quite well liked by the people he works with despite being arrogant, is a condescending genius, allergic to citrus fruit and bee stings, gave up playing the piano in his youth for the same reason as Bailey did, claims to suffer from hypoglycemia, likes cats and dislikes children, is friends with a Czech fellow scientist and has a close friendship with (in Bailey’s case, a crush on) a former Army pilot named John who is an easygoing personality, qualified for Mensa but never joined and is clever in math.
Now I’m no expert in fanfic or former fanfic of any kind, but the above mentioned facts would seem to indicate a certain similarity between
Bailey of “Written In The Stars” and Dr. Rodney McKay of the television show Stargate Atlantis. Also John, Bailey’s love interest in Written in the Stars and John, Rodney’s colleague in the SGA series seem to have identical character traits.
I nevertheless thought this story enjoyable and fresh, it was told in a light-handed, fluent style and gave me a good time reading it. Recommended for high entertainment value.
I’m a fan of the Stargate Atlantis series and have seen it many times and I can confirm that the character traits in this book are identical to the main characters in Written in the Stars. I watched the t.v. series again on the weekend just to be sure. You can draw your own conclusions as to whether Written in the Stars is formerly fanfic or something completely different.