Famed opera singer Aimé has a lot in common with Badri, the Royal Ballet Company's most popular male lead. They have both dedicated their entire lives to their art, and struggle to be taken seriously among the Empire's elite. And both harbor a secret admiration and desire for the other.
This year for his birthday Aimé treats himself to a night at the ballet seeing Badri perform, and after the show decides to meet Badri and confess his admiration for Badri's skill. But when that first awkward meeting turns to more, they are left wondering if there is room in their lives for both career and romance…
Oh, how I loved this book! I can't put into words just how much it touched me.
Firstly, I adored how art was portrayed as a vessel for life. That was something I could totally relate to and I felt E.E. Ottoman managed to put that across beautifully. But most of all, this is a fabulous love story. Aime and Badri aren't perfect. But they love each other, imperfections and all, with that total, all-consuming love and fascination.
It is intense. It is passionate. In fact, my heart almost leapt out of my chest because their relationship was so beautiful and tender and real. And I think I developed a bit of a crush on Badri too. Partly because he was so wonderfully dedicated, partly because of his love for Aime, partly because he places such importance on family by doting on his brother Sushil.
I can't really compare it to anything else out there. It kind of defies genre. Duende is otherworldly. It is romance. It is erotica. And (although I hate classifying things this way) it is GBLTQ.
But above all it is fantastic.
I didn't realise it was part of a series, but have now greedily got my hands on part one. And part three is in the pipeline! Yippee! I just hope there will be more of Amie and Badri somewhere along the way, even if it is a cameo or reference. I love them like I love Jane and Mr Rochester. I want to write fanfics about them. I want them to be adapted into a TV series shown late night on BBC3 (or maybe E4).
Basically, I want more.
Bring. It. On.
Duende is out now, published by Less Than Three.
I was given a copy of this book in return for an honest review.