- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 1718 KB
- Print Length: 363 pages
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0076PHCQM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Average Customer Review: 72 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #697,665 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Future Queens of England Kindle Edition
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Having ignored the blurb it was with a mild jolt of alarm that I realised several pages in that the Future Queens in the title are a class of homosexuals completing a one year course in the gay arts at the specialist college that our chief protagonist, hirsute lager-swilling alpha-lad Tony, is sent as punishment for an incident of aggravated assault. This could get very silly very quickly, I thought, which would be a shame; I'd been initially impressed with the poise, clarity and pace of Matthew's prose.
I was right...and wrong. It does get silly, but what an enjoyable silliness it is. No sooner has Tony begrudgingly checked himself in to the school for Future Queens when he is introduced to the band of gay men who will be his room-mates for the next year, a motley crew including the pun-obsessed Bruce, the icy uber-gay Uwe, and our secondary protagonist, the insecure Hugh, whose own story arc runs parallel to that of Tony's.
The real laughs for me came in the first half of the novel, as Tony struggles to maintain what little dignity he can muster; some of the slapstick scenes in which he (literally) falls victim to his own needless paranoia are particularly funny, Matthews' dead-pan delivery serving up some genuinely laugh out loud moments.
I must admit that I began to struggle around halfway; the strange phantom drawings that keep appearing around the college add a mystery element to the plot, though other than this there isn't a huge amount driving the story forward. The Future Queens' efforts on the hockey pitch, where we find them slugging it out against a Weightwatchers team and a particularly vicious crew of Lesbians, are fun, if a little repetitive. Tony's conversion from gay-hater to 'Bender Defender' is nicely done, and his romance with tutor Louise adds a further (if a little predictable) dimension to the novel, though at times I just felt that we needed something bigger and more dramatic to happen - or failing that for the book to be twenty percent shorter.
That saying, I would not hesitate to recommend this book to readers gay and straight alike. Of course there are some out there who will take offense at Matthews' use of pejorative language (I think pretty much every term of abuse one could find for homosexuals, male and female, is to be found within the pages of the novel) though at the glowing heart of this novel is an emphasis on friendship, empathy and understanding, a genuine warmth that allows the reader to put aside all thoughts of political correctness and just enjoy the experience for what it is - funny fiction, eloquently written, and well worth the time.
Ryan Matthews I can't wait for the next one!
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