Spoiler Alert floored me because it does so many things so very well. Let’s tick them off, shall we?
It’s a love letter to fandom/the fic community (and even provides some tips on how to interact with AO3…)
It gently lampoons Game of Thrones and the artistic, erm, struggles, of Benioff and Weiss as they outpaced the source material, and more broadly, the, erm, struggles Hollywood has in treating non-male characters as, y’know, fully human.
Its protagonists are both fully realized, with rich backstories that credibly inform the choices they make in the present, both good and bad.
It’s a work of fat pride, simultaneously angry and joyous.
It has some serious advice to offer about identifying and managing relationships that have toxic elements.
It contains purported excerpts of scripts and fics that are dangerously funny.
Although the protagonists are presumably not on equal financial footing, the characters’ wealth or lack thereof is never foregrounded.
When it’s heart-wrenching, it’s heart-wrenching in a way that is really earned by the characters.
It kinda-sorta fits within the “mistaken identity” romance trope? but in a complex and layered way.
It does a very good job of setting up Alex and Lauren’s journey, and I’m relieved that I have that book ready to hand.
What it’s not so good at: As a whodunnit, it’s lacking in both red herrings and clues. 🙂
Olivia Dade has been a ride-or-die author for me since Driven to Distraction, but I think she may have a hit a new high-water mark here, at least for me.