Thursday, February 22, 2007

Blood Brothers by Michael Schiefelbein

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Alyson Books (October 1, 2002)
  • ISBN-10: 1555837298
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555837297
  • I finished this book on Feb. 21
Let me paint a picture for you, boys and girls. Imagine me (diminutive librarian wannabe) looking for fun vampire books to inter library loan. Blood Brothers comes up and the way I understand it is that it's a vampire book about gay boys. Now, I heart vampires, and I love the gays, in other words, I'm so there. So, I order it. Now imagine me going to pick it up and getting a load of the gayest cover ever!!! I mean, really kids, this cover is not joking around at all. The title might as well have been Gay Porn. Needless to say, I was embarrassed to check it out, and I am never embarrassed about stuff like this. Folks, I chuckled about this one all the way home. Which I feel is healthy, because everyone should have a laugh at their own expense once in a while.
So, okay, now let me tell you this: I get it home and start to read (how can you not?)'s not about vampires. I was a little annoyed at this, but I must say that the plot was really not bad, even though there was no creatures of the night. Turns out that every other book by this guy is a vampire book and I'm an idiot. What it is about is Spanish monks. Seriously. Their names are Juan Ramon and Bernardo. No, really. So anyway, Juan Ramon's parents were brutally killed in front of him when he was a wee boy. The guy behind the killing is his father's business partner Esteban (seriously). Juan Ramon lies out a Count of Monte Cristo style revenge plot, centered around getting to Esteban through his monk son, Bernardo. Things don't turn out the way he planned, of course, because they fall in love.
The book is written from the points of view of both men, in alternating chapters. Juan Ramon's chapters reminded me a little bit of the narrator Frank, from The Postman Always Rings Twice, not big on emotion and a bit vulgar, but sort of likable. In my head I kept trying to set this book in the past, but then a computer would show up and it would ruin my mojo. I guess I don't think of monks running around on trains in Spain in 2007.
To be honest, the book also raised some interesting ideas of God and chastity and sin. The problem of sexuality for the monks was more about temptation and celibacy, not the fact that they were homosexual. I did have a little problem with the end because one of the characters does something so against what the previous 200 pages has told us about him. But I can't really dog it too much, I was, after all, expecting vampires.
I wouldn't recommend this for anyone offended by man love (obviously) and if you are new to gay literature, I wouldn't start here. This is more a gay harlequin romance than literature, per se. There are a lot of good gay YA books out there that aren't too graphic. Those interested should read Geography Club by Brent Hartinger or Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez. The latter is written in the same style as Blood Brothers, with different characters narrating in different chapters. For the latest gay news online check out The Advocate or

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