Dynasty of Ghosts by PL Nunn – review

Title: Dynasty of Ghosts
Author: PL Nunn
Genre: Fantasy/romance
URL: bishonenworks.com
Ebook: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/11159
Other Information/warnings: non-con, violence, graphic content

Summary: A young ranger catches the eye of a spoilt prince, and then saves his life, getting himself entangled in the politics of his country and his prince’s affairs in doing so. Things are complicated by the fact he can see ghosts, and the things they tell him, don’t make for an easy existence….
My review:

I’m surprised someone hasn’t fangirled this before, since it’s one of the most popular and oft-recommended original slash stories on the net. Simply put, this is a feast. Romance, adventure, supernatural spookiness, a good bit of exceedingly hot sex and exciting violence, intrigue, twoo wuv – I mean, what on earth more do you want? I freely admit Ms Nunn’s writing has been heavily influential on my own, though I doubt I will ever have her effortless gift of story telling.

To get the negatives out of the way, because they’re unimportant to men, but perhaps not to others. PL Nunn’s work is notoriously littered with punctuation problems, spelling mistakes and homonym abuse. Now, for most authors, that would be a big red light telling me to go no further. All I can say is that the story telling, the writing itself, is so powerful and smooth, that I ignore or forgive all that – I’m not saying it doesn’t bug me, it does. But not half as much as it would do in a less talented author.

The second point is not a problem for me, but I suspect it might bother some – there is a distinct segregation into roles in this story (and in some of the others, though not all). Illya is slight, small, blond – Ashe is big, dark, handsome, masterly…. You get my drift. That kind of inequality might annoy some of you, and just occasionally, Illya is a bit on the spineless side (and he gets into more perils than Pauline). But to simply say the two characters fall into the ‘uke/seme’ division used in yaoi, or into top/bottom, is not representing them fairly. Ashe is a prince, and used to getting his own way. Illya just…ignores that, and watching him run rings around his prince is often very amusing, and shows our ‘little ranger’ is perfectly capable of managing things. In fact, the flow of control in the relationshp shifts back and forth endlessly, and we see a real growth of both men’s characters, something that is utterly fascinating to watch, against a backdrop of some very grimy politics and family history. Everything is writ large – the villians are really villainous, the pretty ranger is lovelier than a girl, Ashe is braver and stronger and more devoted than any of his kin, and the back stories on the ghosts are heart-rending.

It’s a long, long, sumptious banquet that leaves you hungry for more, and which I reread every few months to remind me of just how fabulous original slash can be, and every time I read it, I see the characters and their situation differently, because they are *not* one dimensional stereotypes, and the situation they find themselves in is so complex. Heartily and lovingly recommended to you for your enjoyment.