Book Review: Untethered – R.A. Thorn

UntetheredBlurb: Determined to help the war effort, Frankie Norris joins the US Air Force in 1943. Braving intimidating drill sergeants and unending marches, Frankie struggles to hide his secret—he’s queer. But having passed basic training, he’s not going to risk an undesirable discharge or any of his fellow recruits finding out. Then he receives word that he’s been granted a position flying the plane he loves, the P-51 Mustang.

But as Frankie finds his wings in the sky, feelings of isolation may keep him grounded. Slowly making friends among his squadron, Frankie realizes he may not be as alone or as abnormal as he thinks. Other queer men have formed a community in the Armed Forces to offer support. Then Frankie meets his crew chief, Jim Morrow. Initially antagonistic, they slowly become friends and a mutual attraction develops as they join the Eighth Air Force in Britain. Confessing their feelings, snatching what time they can together, and wary of discovery, Frankie and Jim are there for each other through dangerous missions and the loss of friends. It’s a long war with enemies on both sides. All they can hope for is to survive long enough for a chance at something more.

Review: After reading this book, my first thought was that the author was perhaps more focused on giving out history lessons than actually telling a story.

First, it feels like forever before we’re introduced to Frankie’s love interest. And when we finally meet Jim, we didn’t really get much from him. The romance was just lacking. There was no chemistry at all between them. It felt like Frankie’s friends Ed or Pete would’ve been better partners for him. I liked Jim but there’s just not enough of him in the story.

I would’ve been okay if the “lack of romance” in the story was sufficiently replaced by something more fulfilling like something that was heart tugging or thought-provoking or just something better! (Although I kinda felt like reliving some scenes from Band Of Brothers).

Even the subject of homosexuality in the war facing our main characters almost became too enclosed if not robotic – it was supposed to be one of the main topics but it kept on veering away to other things. There was no warmth in that part of the story – maybe when Frankie got together with Ed and the others like him – but I don’t think that one actually counted. The ending isn’t even hopeful at all. I usually loved these kinds of stories but this isn’t just one of them. Don’t let me discourage you though, I think a lot of folks into historical mm romance will get a treat out of this debut!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Published April 6th 2015 by Dreamspinner Press

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