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Anyplace Else (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah…

Anyplace Else (2016 Advent Calendar - Bah Humbug)

by Kim Fielding

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Recently added bySerenaYates, schatzi



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Talk about “Bah, Humbug” – Grant has that down to an art form. He is in Hawaii, with nothing to do but attend his twin brother’s wedding and enjoy himself, and he manages to produce such a cloud of misery around himself, that I was beginning to scowl just reading about his mood. Sheesh! I wasn’t sure anything would enable him to have a happy ending.

But then, based on the recommendation of a very cute cocktail waiter, Grant wanders off into the rain forest adjacent to the resort and has an encounter that changes his life. The man he meets makes all sorts of claims and one is more outrageous than the next. At first Grant is incredulous, then a little scared, but when he has had some time to consider what he has learned, his perspective changes. So does his understanding and that is when he begins to see himself and his life in a different light.

If you like mysterious stories, if you want to find out more about what happens when a modern-day man meets an ancient legend, and if you’re looking for a read that provides great perspective life and what makes it worth living, then you will probably like this short story.

NOTE: This book was provided by Dreamspinner Press for the purpose of a review. ( )
  SerenaYates | Oct 14, 2017 |
It seems that the reviews for this story are pretty mixed, and I can understand that. However, in the end, I did enjoy this story - I wouldn't say that I loved it, but I liked it.

Grant is spending the holidays in Hawaii, but he's not thrilled about it. His twin brother, Ulysses, is getting married to a great guy (Filip, who also happens to be - or at least says he's- a Croatian witch), and Grant can only think about how unhappy he is. He doesn't have a boyfriend, he hates his job, and he can't even remember when he felt passion for anything. Given an odd drink served by a waiter, Grant finds himself wandering in the rain forest by himself and coming across a peculiar man named Perun (aka Predimir), who isn't exactly a man. At least not anymore.

Once I saw that Kim Fielding had written this story, I expected something good, and I got it.

What worked for me:
-I love that this isn't set within the Judeo-Christian framework (said as a Jew, though an atheist one), which seems to dominate December, at least in the "western" world. There are so many other traditions that view the solstice and/or winter months as magical, mythical, and/or spiritual! So I was thrilled to see a story that was "different." And I mean, let's be honest, that is what Kim Fielding does best, and that's why she's one of my go-to m/m authors.
-Mythology and gods and magic, oh my! This ties into the first point in this section, but I just love it. Some of my favorite m/m authors (Kim Fielding, Ariel Tachna, Kelley York [although she writes f/f too]) just go so freaking far out of the box and I love it.
-I like how Grant's interaction with Predimir made him take a hard look at his life. Grant knew that he was unhappy with where he was currently, but he hadn't done anything to take a step past that. He was content to be unhappy with his life, mostly, until he met Predimir. The whole "I quit my job" thing was a bit of a "whoa wait what" moment, but this is a short story, so I could mostly forgive that.

What didn't work for me:
-Grant and Predimir totally had instalove going on in this story. After the brief meeting in Hawaii, Grant apparently couldn't get him out of his mind. When he does find him, Grant pledges his eternal devotion - it even says so in the story - to Predimir, even though the two of them barely know one another. They've had minimal interaction at this point. I know that instalove is a trope prominent in short stories for expediency's sake, but I just wish they'd skipped the whole "love" part and Grant had just said that he wanted to hang around with Predimir. But I guess that wouldn't have worked, since I think the stories are supposed to be HEA or at least HFN in this anthology. But I just think it would have worked better with this story, maybe with a brief epilogue set many years in the future showing they were still together and now in love or something. Hell, I don't know.

This book isn't heavy on the romance, which some might find disappointing. I am totally okay with it though, and I enjoyed that there was a story in the collection that was so different. Magic? Myth? Hallucination? Fantasy? I don't even know what to call this story or what, exactly, really "happened" in it and what didn't, and that alone makes it great in my eyes. I debated between 3 and 4 stars, and I ended up going with 4 because this story had me riveted to the end. ( )
  schatzi | Dec 3, 2016 |
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