So, I’ve never read any of the other Belovéd stories. Yaoi Press publisher and author of “Belovéd 4490″, Yamila Abraham, was kind enough to send me a review copy so I could get a taste of the Belovéd series—and what a taste it was! I really, really liked “Belovéd 4490″—and I have to be honest, here: I wasn’t expecting to. I tend to be very picky about the kind of yaoi I like (though I will usually read any yaoi that’s given to me just because there just isn’t enough of it in the world generally speaking), and I’ve found I don’t really take to non-sequential stories very often.
The problem, I think, is that each story has to be able to stand on its own and give information that the other stories have not. Which means that each story has to have some basic information that’s in every story, but also give the reader new
information thrills so they don’t think they’ve just read the same story twice when it’s supposed to be two separate ones. Belovéd is non-sequential, meaning it isn’t written in chronological order and even the chronology skips hundreds of years at a time. When I was sent “Belovéd 4490″, I didn’t know what the numbers in the title meant, but I quickly learned that they represent the story’s year and are therefore important to the title. (Currently, there’s also Belovéd 5860 and Belovéd 3956, and I suspect there will eventually be more chapters set in other years as well.)
The obvious reason why the stories are set so far apart in time is because Malachi, the warlord (standing over Jace, his Belovéd, in this image by Archie the Cat), sleeps for 200 years at a time. During his slumber, the world he dominates is at peace. When he wakes up, he fights seven avatars of the planet in war games; if he wins, he rules the planet until he sleeps again. If he loses, he becomes a slave. He always won, so the war gods that oversee the games gave him “a sexual appetite and the capacity to fall in love”. He becomes fascinated with Jace, the avatar from the world’s most prominent country.
In “4490″, Jace doesn’t even know he’s Jace; he just knows he’s obsessed with Malachi. The plot is a little predictable, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing, and I assume (an hope!) that some questions I had about unexplained history are answered in other stories in the continuum (or will be, when they are published). Abraham’s stories, generally speaking, have a good mix of plot and sex, and this is no exception. She’s really good at making me want it and then (finally!) giving it to me. I think “4490″ is a good example of how I’m basically frustrated by the time I get to the sex, but it’s worth it because I care about the characters once I know them, which makes the good stuff even better.
PLEASE NOTE: “Belovéd 4490″ contains explicit adult content. That means no kiddies, and if you don’t like to see (read about) guys getting it on, this isn’t for you, either. Otherwise, have at it! Each story in the Belovéd series is $2.50, available from YaoiProse and everythingyaoi.