Beholding the Moon by Augusta Li and Eon De Beaumont

Beholding the Moon by Augusta Li and Eon De Beaumont
Publisher: Phaze Books
Genre: Futuristic, Paranormal, Action/Adventure
Length: Short Story (84 pgs)
Other: M/M, Anal Sex, Multiple Partners
Rating: 2.5 Cherries
Review by Cactus

Taro Miyake, half-demon sorcerer and flamboyant international criminal (and star of Lockdown) is accustomed to getting exactly what he wants. What he wants is control of Shanghai’s underworld and the love of the beautiful assassin, Qi Lu Bai. But with both the city and the man resistant to Taro’s desires, he’ll need use all of his wit, charm, and supernatural power to exert his control. Shanghai’s current crime lord and other, unpredictable forces threaten Taro’s life. What could be more fun?

If you like futuristic stories with a strong yaoi theme mixed in with gods, mobsters, assassins, and an innocent by-stander or two, this action packed story set in the steamy atmosphere of Shanghai may satisfy you. Li’s distinctive voice is clear in this novella that features a demi-god and his manipulations of various mortals to ultimately achieve everything he wants, in sex, power and love.

Taro Miyake is part-god, part-gangster as he rules various cities through his seemingly endless mystical powers while having sex with anyone who strikes his fancy. When he meets and has sex with legendary assassin Qi Lu-Bai, he falls instantly in love with the man and is determined that Lu return his affections. To this end, Miyake corrupts and destroys an innocent couple vacationing in Shanghai as a means to show Lu that love conquers all. Unfortunately all this book did was manage to show that true love can be manipulated and ultimately killed through the actions of a half god with no conscience.

As a romance or mystery story arc, the secondary plot simply tried to do too much. With almost no world building, the authors set their own rules, which seemed to change at their whim, leaving no restrictions on what new super power Miyake would have next. Furthermore, his corruption and use of Song and Dylan is frustrating, as is the author’s thinly veiled acceptance and resolution of their conflict. Dylan was perhaps the only character in the story that showed sparks of humanity, depth, and true emotion and even that was contradicted at the end.

The authors’ combined voice is very distinct with a vivid world that by turns glitters and stalks in its seedy underground and ritzy towers. The sex between various men is plentiful and hot making the book an easy read if you ignore the plot arc that was not well executed. The characters didn’t work for me either with the lack of depth, coming across as one-dimensional and unable to draw me into their plight and emotion.

For those that enjoy hot man on man sex and can ignore the motivations and thin plot surrounding them, the backdrop of Shanghai and the authors’ vivid voices can make this enjoyable and unique. If nothing else, this book certainly brought to life the tourist and non-tourist aspects of a city not commonly used in erotic romance and I was happy to delve more deeply into that. Perhaps you will too.

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