Sibling Rivals by Summer Devon
M/M Romance Contemporary
October 1, 2013
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “How did it feel to hold the man he’d loved? Rather suffocating was the answer.
Colin never suspected that when he followed his boyfriend Mark home for the holidays, he would end up alone on Christmas. When Mark Stevens decides to come out of the closet, Mark’s parents kick him and Colin out of their home and that ends their relationship. Colin stays in contact with Peter, Mark’s younger brother, though and ends up offering Peter a place to stay when he begins graduate school.
Peter Stevens has always been a ladies man but even he can’t deny the intense attraction he felt towards Colin when they met two years ago. When he gets a chance to stay with Colin while in school, Peter decides this is the perfect time to test that attraction and see if Colin feels the same.
Colin is attracted to Peter but has misgivings towards starting a relationship with him, especially when Mark comes back into the picture wanting another chance. When tragedy hits, Colin finds himself wondering if the Stevens brothers are worth the risk.
Sibling Rivals is an uncomplicated romantic male/male contemporary by Summer Devon. Sibling rivalry, a faint love triangle, humor, and minimal emotional angst makes for a fast read. Two brothers vie for the love and attention of a college professor who has already been burned by one of them. Mark Stevens, the “good” brother dated Colin in college but couldn’t handle the fallout after he revealed his sexual orientation to his parents. Peter Stevens, the “incorrigible” brother, feels a sexual connection to Colin when they meet but waits until he is out of his parents house to do anything about it.
While one part of me enjoyed the somewhat simplistic straightforward romance, another part of me felt the story’s simplicity is what caused the story to fail in development; both in character and storyline. Told in alternating POVs (Colin and Peter) we are told how the romance evolves and how they are feeling but I never felt any real heat or the passion from any of them. It was if they were just going through the motions. Colin tells Mark he’s not interested anymore but it was polite and non confrontational. As if he was ordering tea. Colin and Peter hook up and while the sexual antics are hot, the chemistry between them screams convenience. Even Mark and Peter’s rivalry doesn’t seem real because we don’t really see actual scenes from the past that support it. Mild teasing but nothing that reflects the accusations Mark makes against Peter. Once again we are told but not shown.
Peter was the most emotional and the best fleshed out of the three. A funny playful young man who acts younger than what he truly is. He’s honest yet there is a lack of cohesiveness. He has an innocence to him that is appealing yet doesn’t seem to mesh well with Colin’s seriousness. Colin is English and seems to be built with the English stereotypical “stiff upper lip.” He’s calm, cool, and collected. I was never able to connect with Mark because he seems more of an annoying plot device than an actual person. He has faint excuses (to Peter) as to why he left Colin originally but explains nothing to Colin. Merely tells him over and over that he misses him and wants him back. He blames Peter because Colin isn’t reciprocating his feelings and we never really learn if he ever gets over the rejection.
The main conflict rears its head and forces both Colin and Peter to look deep inside and do some soul searching. While Colin does, I really don’t see the same from Peter. We do see him mature emotionally when faced with the intractableness of mortality, but I never saw where he had any deep emotional epiphany concerning his relationship with Colin or his own sexuality. Peter’s sexuality is as fluid as water and I found it odd that he never had one single moment of angst or conflict concerning it.
Regardless of my issues with the storyline and characters, Sibling Rivals is a fast read whose bits of humor and heat will make a afternoon fly by fast.
Fiction Vixen – C-
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