Book Reviews

The Musician and the Monster by Jenya Keefe at Riptide Publishing

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Queer / Pansexual/Panromantic / Urban Fantasy / Elves/Fairies/Sidhe / Magic / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 30-September-2019

Book Blurb

Ángel Cruz is a dedicated session musician, until loyalty to his estranged family forces him to work for Oberon: the feared and hated envoy from the Otherworld. Overnight, Ángel is taken from his life, his friends, his work, and trapped in a hideous mansion in the middle of nowhere, under constant surveillance, and with only the frightening fae for company.

Oberon’s poor understanding of humans combined with Ángel’s resentment and loneliness threaten to cause real harm to the pair. Then a long winter together in the mansion unites them in their love of music. Slowly, Ángel’s anger thaws, and he begins to realize that Oberon feels alone too.

Gradually, these two souls from different worlds form a connection like none other. But hate and prejudice are powerful things, and it’ll take all the magic of their love to stop the wider world from forcing them apart.

Book Review

“Music is a universal language insofar as you don't need to know anything else about a musician that you are playing with other than that they can play music. It doesn't matter what their music is, you can find something that you can play together, with what their culture is. The dialect part of it comes into play, but nothing like the differentiation that language sets up, for example.” ~ Jerry Garcia

Oberon, of ‘The Musician and the Monster’ by Jenya Keefe, is a being from the “Other World”. He is wealthy and famous almost beyond belief, but, as the old adage goes, money can’t buy happiness. Oberon’s mission on Earth is to study music, share his unique brand of elf music with the world, and send our music back to his world. But, as humans often are, they are afraid and suspicious of his motives. Many people hate what they don’t understand and react violently to anyone or anything different. They have never given themselves a chance to understand him for who he is and what his motives are. After an assassination attempt that almost kills him, Oberon is forced into isolation.

Ángel is a dedicated musician. His family doesn’t approve of him, because he is gay. When his father is caught running a Ponzi scheme, he is threatened with years in jail. Oberon offers to pay $10,000,000 in reparation to his victims if Ángel goes to live with him as a companion. Ángel is incensed, but doesn’t want his father to go to jail, so he agrees to spend five years as a companion to the fae. He is whisked off by a security team to a fortress in the middle of nowhere. When he first meets Oberon, his other-worldly appearance is unnerving. He looks human enough except for his face that doesn’t show any kind of emotion. Ángel wonders how he is ever going to make it five years with a being with whom he has no idea how to relate.

Oberon isn’t his real name; it is what the humans decided to call him. They aren’t able to say his real name because is a complicated series of notes that must be sung instead of pronounced. He comes from a world where touch is the main form of communication. Since all the earthlings are afraid of him, no one wants him to touch them, much less be touched by him. He has no concept of personal space. Without the tactile input he needs to survive, Oberon is doomed to a slow, painful death. He does not expect anything from Ángel, but Oberon hopes that Ángel can overcome his fear and become the friend he desperately needs. It doesn’t look promising though. Ángel seems to be as afraid of him as everyone else. Oberon has no idea how to bridge the gap between them. Oberon does not understand Ángel’s violent reactions to things he considers normal, i.e., Ángel’s need for privacy. There are cameras everywhere. In Oberon’s world, there is no such thing. His kind live together, often have group sex, at least until they settle down with one person.

Ángel is just as confused about some of Oberon’s ideas. He hates being forced to stay there, never being able to go anywhere. Particularly, he misses and wants to communicate with his best friend Merissa. When Ángel realizes that all his communications are being monitored, he’s upset, but when one is withheld from him because it has been completely misinterpreted, he loses it! Oberon is puzzled by his reaction, but does understand that hearing from Marrisa keeps Ángel happy, he orders his security force to make sure it does not happen again. Still, things don’t seem to be making and progress until, after hearing Ángel play his guitar one night, Oberon decides to join him. Oberon brings his own instrument into the room and together, they begin to find just the right harmony to begin to bring them together.

This is one of the most original books I’ve ever read. The worldbuilding is brilliant. Combined with the relevant social issues are the musical references that I found fascinating. I have always believed in music’s ability to bridge the gap between people, making it universal. This book is an outstanding use of that principle. I’d love to see this story developed into a series. Thanks, Jenya, for helping Oberon and Ángel find the right note.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 300 pages/80000 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-September-2019
Price $4.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $22.98 bundle
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