Book Reviews

Ace by Jack Byrne at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Asexual/Aromantic / Contemporary / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 11-August-2015

Book Blurb

Jake Tanner is a gay asexual man who finds peace on his small Australian farm and is content to lead a quiet life taking care of his animals. Then a random act of kindness on his part sets in motion a complex series of events that results in him playing the piano in a local pub and meeting Damien Jamieson, a sexy gay biker with a penchant for leather. Damien finds Jake instantly irresistible, but that could be the worst thing for their budding relationship, as Damien is determined to bed the reluctant Jake. However, Jake has no intention of going along with his plan. If there’s a chance for anything between them, Damien will have to figure out how to turn Jake on without scaring him off.

 

Book Review

Labels can be dangerous, and in this case, calling Jake “asexual” in the blurb may simplify the situation at first glance, but it is not doing the multilayered truth that slowly unfolds in the novel any favors. And while I am by no means an expert on the topic, from what I have found out by reading about and talking to asexual people, two things stand out. One, not every asexual person is like every other asexual person. This should not be a surprise, since every other label in the GLBTQ+ spectrum can probably say the same. However, it seems that not many people “outside” the asexual label are aware of the wide range of possible expressions of the asexual orientation.  Two, since most people are sexual, i.e., they like and/or want sex, understanding someone who does not want something that seems so natural to the majority is very difficult.

Jake is content with his life on a small farm in Australia. He loves animals, especially dogs, and rescues one right at the beginning of the story. But that is not the only reason I liked him. He knows who he is and what he wants, yet he is also willing to experiment and try something new when Damien comes along. It became clear to me very quickly that Jake may be asexual, but he is not aromantic, and interested in men – just not necessarily in a physical way. So when the right man comes along, one he is interested in and wants a closer bond with, he is willing to open up and try new things.

Damien is a biker (in his spare time), intensely sexual, and knows what he wants. And that happens to be Jake. But despite the fact he is very certain about himself, he isn’t pushy. He is insistent, and asks a lot of questions, and that is exactly what Jake needs to start thinking about things and to begin coming out of his shell.

One of the things I found most amazing and positive about this book is that Jack Byrne addresses asexuality as a spectrum of needs, attitudes, and behaviors. He does this with sensitivity, empathy, and attention to detail in characterization and events that make this book not only entertaining, but informative. He ends up with a story that can open the eyes and minds of anyone who is willing to “listen” to the characters and what they have to say. The author says in his blog that “it reaches across the spectrum of asexuality” and I think that is very true. With an orientation that is so misunderstood by so many people, this is a book that needed to be written, and Jack did it well.
 
If you are open to learning something you may not have known before, if you like characters who are multilayered, not to say complicated and maybe even flawed, and if you’re looking for a read that is as fascinating as it is eye-opening, then you will probably like this novel as much as I did. It is not only a wonderful story about great characters, but a valuable contribution to inter-human understanding.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook, print and audio
Length Novel, 210 pages/61216 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 15-July-2015
Price $6.99 ebook, $14.99 paperback, $14.99 bundle, $19.95 audiobook
Buy Link https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ace-by-jack-byrne-6690-b