Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Curse of the Kathoey by Lyka Bloom

While I always look forward to new stories from Lyka Bloom, I do believe Curse of the Kathoey is her best in quite some time, right up there with The Lipstick Lounge and Muffy the Demon Slayer.

For starters, the characterization of Gene and Ron is established very well in the opening scenes. They have authentic, distinctive personalities that suggest precisely what kind of roles they will ultimately play in the story. I liked genuinely Gene, and found him even more endearing after his nervous, tentative exploration with his petite kathoey lover. At the same time, I knew Ron was going to be trouble, and I looked forward to his comeuppance - even though I knew Gene was going to get dragged into it. While I thought the Bangkok setting could have used a little more sensory detail, there was enough there to clearly orient the reader in the story.

As for the heart of the story, the transformation from American boys into Thai kathoeys, it is wonderfully done. Bloom has the transformation happen gradually, over the course of a couple of days, with Gene and Ron changing physically, emotionally, and even culturally. There were a few nice twists on observations other people made, that they themselves were not aware of, that really sold me on the curse. As has been the trend for her most recent stories, the erotic scenes here are brief, with most of the sex happening off the page, but they are still lovingly detailed, driving home the true consequences of Ron's misbehavior.

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