It’s always refreshing to see depictions of people who are not straight or cisgender in any medium or genre. Fantasy is the biggest culprit of homogenisation in that it portrays a very white, straight, male world, but A Matter of Disagreement breaks that mould by envisioning a world in which magic and mechanics coexist, and where aristocrats can be openly gay.
The setting is a world in which mechanical animation is starting to displace the use of spell craft to animate. Lord Ashcroft (who prefers the name Andrea) is a scholar, and campaigns against the field that is ruining his life. When his ambitious brother drags him to a party, he meets the man who pioneered mechanical animation, Leon Gregory de la Marche VI, Marquis de la March.
While it was a little disappointing that there were no major female characters (only one woman has dialogue in the story), A Matter of Disagreement should be applauded on its core plot, which follows Lord Ashcroft, who prefers the name Andrea, and that age old trope of enemies finding they actually quite fancy each other. It’s a simple trope that comes to life in this story, and it’s a treat to read a gay romantic plot in a fantasy/sci-fi setting. On top of that, the author includes a transman in the story in a way that humanises rather than sensationalises.
A Matter of Disagreement is light on background but heavy on the main romantic plot. Here, the length of the story is a disadvantage. At only 23,000 words, it’s a light read but has a rich setting and touches on many fascinating ideas. Other stories from Ottoman that explore the world of the story would be happily received by myself.
All in all, an excellent read from a competent author.
For more information and to buy the book, go to the Less Than Three website.