Summary: "You'll like supper today," he says encouragingly. "They have pheasants with the apricot glaze. You like the apricot glaze."
"I know I like the apricot glaze," snaps Isengrin.
This is another great fic given to us by the illustrious Shousetsu Bang Bang, a long-running m/m webzine. Written by Oishi Maki (prodigy) and illustrated by Uehara Kazushi (also called Relia on AO3), this is a great medieval-times fic, with main characters being a king, a queen, and the king's hierophant. It reads a bit like a fairy-tale, with some nice magical elements, but overall it's a really well-written period piece.
There are two things that I ADORE about this fic:
1) The two main characters (three, actually) are all older. There's no specific age given, but the timeline in the story and the graphics for this fic both give us slightly graying, later middle-aged males. We've got no young, inexperienced bishounen, and it's nice to remember that experience can be HOT too.
2) I love that this is a piece about an established relationship, but with period appropriate complications. We see too much cliche stuff about how couple gets together, and then they just ride off into the sunset after the first time they have sex. (I'm throwing stones here, but I literally just wrote that exact thing for this same issue of Shousetsu Bang Bang in The Red Hood and the Bad Wolf. If there were shame left in me, I would probably be ashamed of myself.) So I love that this story does NOT show you how these two got together, but focuses more on the trials they have as an established couple in a period where that's not widely accepted and in a political position that necessitates a marriage.
I'm throwing out some bonus points to the fact that the female lead in this fic was really cool. Like, an actual, real person with failings of her own, but not a ditzy bimbo or a shallow tramp. Kudos for that since a lot of M/M stories either don't feature females at all or throw them into a villain role. (Which seems particularly ironic considering these fics are mostly written by females.)
The artwork adds a gorgeous touch to this, so kudos to Relia for these gorgeous scenes. I love the way the characters are drawn, but I also really like how she captures the lavishness of the period in the costumes and backgrounds. She really puts a lot of details in that capture the feel of the story. Plus, naked men? Yummy!
There's a warning tag on this fic for rape/non-con, but it happens off screen so I don't think it's a big deal. Honestly, I didn't even notice it the first time I read the fic through, and it wasn't until I saw the tag and went looking for it that I figured out what they meant. It's more of an IMPLIED rape/non-con, as it technical doesn't happen in the text of the story. (I can't say much more than that without spoilers, so I'll leave it there.)
If I had to give one criticism, it's probably that the summary they use on AO3 doesn't really tell you anything about the fic, and that's the only one they have listed, so I felt like I had to use it here, too. So, yeah, the summary doesn't really capture the fic, but it's still awesome.
Shousetsu Bang Bang
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