Reverie, by Ryan La Sala (Review)

This book is a roller-coaster, but you know what? It’s “just gay enough to work.”

Rating: 4 stars

Reverie is a wild, slightly very wacky and completely heart-warming story about a gay teen trying to piece together his memories after an accident left him with amnesia. As those pieces start to fall together, Kane starts to find himself in a world of magic and super-powers, and he’s missing more memories than he thought he was. Not just his teen years, but his best friend too, and nobody seems to remember her. I’m usually very iffy about amnesia in books because it’s often handled poorly with things over-explained too early and eliminating the uncertainty of missing memories altogether, or with pieces of the puzzle scattered too scarcely leaving the reader as confused as the character. Ryan La Sala manages to leave enough breadcrumbs to keep a reader engaged in the story, revealing Kane’s memories slowly and without masses of exposition. And I particularly loved that as Kane’s past becomes clearer and clearer, there’s ambiguity about whether or not the before-Kane is a good person at all. No main-character-morality armour here. 

The premise of this book is one that I’m insanely jealous I didn’t think of, and even when I’ve explained it to people at work who don’t generally read fantasy at all (let alone queer YA fantasy) they’ve still wanted to read it. Reveries are formed from the daydreams of ordinary people, and therefore are filled with quirks and curiosities specific to that person. I loved the idea that a reverie could have been inspired by fiction or pop culture but twisted, because I was exactly the kind of awkward queer teen that spent my bus-rides to school picturing myself at Hogwarts, picturing myself an Avenger, the main character in the novel I’m most recently reading, basically as anything ‘cooler’ than I am. I could see my own reverie with startling clarity (and I’d be so sorry to anyone dragged into my crazy daydreams, really). The reveries made this book chaotic as hell, plot-twisting at a moment’s notice and throwing the characters into a new world with no backstory, no exposition, like a cross-over fanfiction on crack. I loved it. 

I don’t want to delve too deeply into the characters, because Kane discovering each of the characters in this book is part of the joy of reading it, but let it be very clear that ‘drag queen sorceress’ does not disappoint, and she is as fierce as she promises to be. The romance in the novel is played beautifully, and I could honestly read another whole book just about the happily ever after these characters deserve, and I think this novel is the portrayal of queer friendships and relationships that I need in my life. It’s a big part of the book, this book is unapologetically gay, but there’s so much more to it than just that (even when Kane shoots rainbows out of his hands) and I’ve been waiting forever for queer books to show up that understand that queer-ness is a huge part of someone’s identity but doesn’t have to overshadow the whole plot of the damn book.

Note: This review was copied verbatim from my Goodreads account dated August 24th 2019.

2 thoughts on “Reverie, by Ryan La Sala (Review)

  1. Pingback: Ryan La Sala’s Reverie; fierce, queer and heartwarming | El's Book Reviews

  2. Pingback: August Round-Up / September TBR – El's Book Reviews

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