Book Review: Torsten by Joshua Kalin
Disclaimer: I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway on the premise that I would review it.
Aznaro, Cordin and Osoro, three blood brothers, have returned to Spain after a tour of the known world. Already feeling restless, Aznaro becomes interested in a proposed voyage by one Christobal Colon, who thinks he can sail to India faster by heading west across the uncharted ocean. The brothers sign up as rookie sailors, although there is a bit of a hitch, since it turns out that Aznaro had sex with Torsten Rentier, first officer of one of the ships, the night before.
Worse, Aznaro soon makes an actual enemy on board the Santa Maria, a man who comes to share a dark secret with the brothers. And as you might have guessed from your history classes, the voyage is taking them to a destination they could never have guessed.
Though not listed anywhere on the book itself, this is the second book about the brothers, the first one being titled Aznaro. The main characters have something in their blood that makes them unaging and very hard to kill. They have in fact been alive nearly three hundred years at the start of this book. This causes them a certain amount of angst, and the need to move on frequently.
While the point of view skips around quite a bit, sometimes between paragraphs, the primary character is Aznaro, with the major plot threads being his struggle with the new immortal Rodriguez, and his romance with the man he calls “Reindeer.” The other brothers are on other ships and play very little part in the story. Indeed, one vanishes from the book altogether around the 3/4 mark!
While the book is quite good on the details of being a sailor in Christopher Columbus’ time, said personage himself plays a very tiny role, seldom interacting with the crew. So I can’t really recommend this book to Columbus fans.
While yes, Aznaro and Rentier have sex, it’s not on camera or explicitly described. The movie if one is made, could probably get by with a PG-13.
Some issues: There are a couple of brief torture scenes, the viewpoint switching can be confusing as the author doesn’t mark the switches well, and there are numerous missing words and some dubious grammar that points up the need for a good editor/proofreader. (this book was self-published.)
If you are in need of a gay romance novel with some paranormal elements, and a bit of history, this might suit your fancy. But everyone else might want to wait for a revised version with better editing.