Snare by Racheline Maltese and Erin McRae. 2016.
I enjoyed this m/m/m novella so much. Vampires and snowed in and age gap and polyamory, oh my! This is the first book I’m reading by this writing duo and I am definitely going to be devouring their backlist, because wow did this work for me on many levels, but most especially the writing style, which is spare and quiet and beautiful.
I loved the meet cute, the way geeking out over paperwork was how it all began. The chemistry between Matthew and Eli is just lovely, and the instalove aspect of how Matthew felt about Eli worked for me really well, because it was so quiet and just accepted by everyone without it being overly determining. I liked that Eli was so into him and into understanding life in the warren that he seemed to not understand he was going to be snowed in. He is such a great mix of not grasping his own agency and just letting things happen to him without asserting himself and demanding that he must have choices that it made me grin.
I loved that the vampire was stocky, broad shouldered, chubby, ordinary looking, and middle aged, and was intensely compelling, so much so that the other MCs could not take their eyes off him. It made me so happy as a middle aged fat trans masculine reader to see the MC’s attraction to Richard, and to have the MC so deeply witness Matthew’s attraction to him as well. There are so few characters who even look a bit like me in m/m romance, and I really appreciated that Richard did. I also really enjoyed reading a vampire story that was not an erotic romance (as most are, in my experience), one that centered relationships. It’s one of the ways this book defied genre expectations that I really appreciated.
I liked watching the arc of the relationships flow together as they dealt with the aftermath of the accidental bite and the forced proximity and how what was going to be a one night stand turned out to be much more complex for everyone. The story really allowed for both misunderstandings and accidents and also held the rage, fear and a sense of betrayal that characters felt over the impact of these things in a way that made the world of the story feel safe to me. It wasn’t demanding that people act perfectly, or that there be no consequences or anger over violation and harm. The story clearly cared about consent and autonomy at the same time as it held the realities that constrained and occasionally violated those things. I haven’t read many vampire stories that have done this, that were thoughtful about power in this way, and I really appreciated it.
I cared about all of the characters, and wanted them to find a way to be together that would work for all of them. This felt like very real polyamory representation, like the kind of polyamory that I experience personally, and I particularly loved seeing them talk about their relationships and negotiate. I rarely find polyamory representation where I feel like, oh, this resonates. I could be in community with these folks. It was lovely to have that. (Another recent read that felt real and close like that for me is Tactical Submission by Ada Maria Soto.) I also really appreciated a representation of polyamory that wasn’t erotic romance, that centered the relationships. I value erotic romance with polyamory, but it’s rare to find anything else, and I treasure it when I do.
As someone who grew up in NYC and adores that city quite a lot, I really appreciated how much the story honored the city I love, and played with it in the worldbuilding. It made me smile. More specifically with regard to setting, I loved how much the building that was the setting for most of the story felt like it’s own character.
I liked the way the story resolved, though I did ache for just a bit more, or perhaps a second volume where we got to see this triad again, got to see the next stage of things for them. I will definitely be seeking out other work by these authors, and particularly other polyamorous romance they have written.
- Gay MCs
- Gay chubby middle-aged MC
- Queer non-binary author
- Queer woman author
Content Warnings (in white, highlight to read)
Alcohol use. Sex on the page. Non-consensual biting (framed as accident that has huge consequences, including trapping the MC there for a year). Consensual blood exchange.
- Source of the book: I bought it with my own money.
- I have had conversations with the author on Twitter.
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