As much as I enjoy writing romance on occasion, I’m not usually one for reading a romance novel. Give me action adventure in any setting, give me a furry graphic novel instead! Heck, I will take my dull-as-drywall college biology textbook over anything to do with mushy love stories that are long winded period piece dramas involving tea and crumpets any day of the week! Or worse, the “love stories” that are just Harlequin Romance novels…you know the ones. The trashy 50 Shades of Gray, hot dude on the cover with some topless babe swooning over him novels, the ones that portray lovers as one-night stands only, with maybe some cheesy dialogue that makes me cringe and re-read twice just to get the gist of it. Those.
Cait’s story, The Stealth Lovers, has changed my mind about the romance genre, and touched my heart.
Now, to be fair, Cait’s story is set in space, which for me is an automatic plus, and probably drew me in in the first place. I love Star Wars, Star Trek: The Next Generation, all of that space geek goodness! Then, the lead characters are Draga, alien reptile beings that hiss, flare their scales when angry, and have beautifully brilliant scales in purple and orange. Another plus, rare is the read for me that includes scalies with any level of accuracy, much less being protagonists in this space opera. And I am very fond of purple.
Even better than all this is…the fact that the protagonists are gay male Draga who will do anything for each other, and prove it true in their deeds and words. The moment they meet, they feel destined for one another, and keep finding one another throughout their lives. They are expert pilots, with wonderful banter that made me laugh quite a bit. Their comrades are also gay, and one is trans! Which is amazing, so few sci-fi stories have trans representation, and I am glad that was included in the tale. Besides the openness of the characters, their sharp wit and humorous asides, several parts of the tale touched me deeply.
My own love story never went quite as well as that of Xaxall and Vivoxx, yet so much of it resonated with my feelings for an old flame multiple times that I wept on remembering how I felt. The feeling of love has been captured so well, so effortlessly, that on reading Cait’s words, in an instant, I was taken back through time to my own once-beloved, rather than watching two enamored Draga…I remembered him, and how he was the Xax to my Viv (or maybe it was the other way around, who knows now lol). Later on, the story reveals crushing heartbreak, and the grieving process is again beautifully captured and resonated fiercely with me (as I am grieving the loss of my own current relationships, much less the past one this book unintentionally excavated and brought to light once more). In short–I laughed, I cried, and I had no idea how much I would love this story on first purchasing it! It will definitely be re-read later on, when I am less emotional…and very few stories can touch me in this way.
Cait confronts norms with care, precision and humor in her work, and that has deeply affected me as a writer. Her storytelling is concise, powerful and weaves worlds wondrously. I’m glad to have found her work, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her writing in future!
Now I will have to read the sequel, Life in the ‘Cosm!
Thank you, Cait, for an amazing book. Send Xax and Viv my love (and young Darrick, too)!