Artificial Moonlight - D.J. Manly & A.J. Llewellyn

Artifical Moonlight by D.J. Manly & A.J. Llewellyn

Once again Fan Fiction beats Published Fiction. Anyone keeping score?

Basically there are two gay guys who kinda have the hots for each other, one is a biker and the other is a really forward noisy guy who catcalls him in traffic. They hook up, biker guy finds out the other guy is also a biker, and they have to keep their developing hormonal lust away from public and the rest of their gangs. Add in a lot of biker jargon and an overblown plot involving revenge and pot plants, a lot of high strung bikers and you get the gist of this novella.

It took me a while to branch out from marathoning Sons of Anarchy with my cousin into learning more about actual gangs. I learned that for several months I lived next to one very quiet outpost of Germany’s biggest outlaw MC and that biker romance is as much a subgenre as Amish romance. It was by chance that I found out about Artifical Moonlight which didn’t sound great, but I figured that as a novella, not much could go wrong if I read it. I was in for a surprise.

I’m no connoisseur of the genre, despite having many motorcycle enthusiasts in my family, I’ve never ridden one, and my knowledge of American gangs, I mean, real ones, is non-existant. But I’m prepared to say that the drama in this kindle book is so ridiculous, and so obviously setting up a series, I wish you would all just step away and pretend you never saw it.

I highlighted several attempts at connection between the love interests with ‘nope’ and mocked so many of the tough guys swipes at one another for what they were: not badass, certainly not kickass. At risk of spoiling some of the (few) twists in this book, I was shocked at all the gay club members, seeing as they kept saying how being gay didn’t mix with the life. First the Sergeant at Arms for Banni de Louisiane (actually a cool name for a club), then the VP of Death Proof (would mean more if they actually were, yanno, kick ass), then the Pres, then the former pres, then another club’s Sargent and, wait, are you keeping track? Who’s straight?

But I might have forgiven that since it is a gay romance and you gotta have multiple strands of romance to follow, but too much was shoved into this little book to begin with, it felt like a drive through Baton Rouge was on a tour bus where the guide was reading off of the Wikipedia Simple English page. Backstory was weird, and facts about nicknames were just unnecessary. Sometimes a guy is just nicknamed Spider. Sometimes that’s all there is to it. Except:
“Sue Ellen and Jerry have a thing for spiders and the rest of us have learned to suffer in silence. Even their dog has learned to lick sticky spider silk from his fur without a whimper.”
As for character growth, well, the rich boy (because there always is one) is too hot-headed for his health, and snarky.
“That was when I made out the writing on the backs of all his fingers.
Okey dokey then.”
Which is understandable, sometimes hard-core dudes are a little too obvious and we all want them to chill out. But when someone puts a bounty on your head, says “you’re no longer death proof” and then you proceed to reflect on this same tattoo?
“Our baby was dead.
And f--k. He’s right.
Death Hurts.”
Oh for crying out loud! Are you an outlaw gang member or what?

By Manfred Kohrs [CC-BY-SA-3.0],
via Wikimedia Commons
Included is a picture of a German prospect for the Motorcycle Club I mentioned earlier. They are mentioned on their wikipedia page as being an outlaw gang mostly because they fought with a scandinavian club in the 90s, which did lead to bombings and the use of grenade launchers. There’s a fair amount of hang-arounds for all the european clubs who speak english and post on web forums about what's going on, and worth a read if you're interested in outlaw culture. A MC like Gremium considers itself part of the 1%, a patch some clubs wear to indicate they are outlaws. I’m pretty sure they would laugh at clubs like Death Proof and maybe the Banni too.

There's a hard balance to strike between romanticizing criminals and writing romance about criminals who are likable. These guys were just laughable. What a pity, there’s a lot of potential here. With the folding of the publishing company of Artifical Moonlight, it is unlikely, but I hope that the authors will use the lapse of sales to rehash the rough stuff and make this book a little more kickass. At the moment, it’s too short and barely worth the pixels. I recommend you find yourself some SoA fanfiction instead. Unfortunately, there’s some amazing stuff out there that will never get published and is totally worth a read.

Pages: 126
Year: 22 February 2014
Publisher: Silver Publishing

Read: 2014
Stars: 0.5 (hated it)