Review: Being Cosmopolitan Demands a Sacrifice

cover-being cosmoTitle: Being Cosmopolitan Demands A Sacrifice
Author: Jamie Brindle
Series: (Yes, but no idea of the name.)
Genre: Trans Fantasy (ish)
Length: Short Story
Available: August 19th


On holiday in a strange and shockingly repressed kingdom, Alex finds herself sacrificed to the local sea monster in honor of the prince ascending the throne. This was not mentioned in the brochure.

The sea monster, however, is less interested in devouring Alex than he is in what everyone will think if they find out he’s hopelessly in love with another monster. Add in a cat too smart for anyone’s good, and Alex is ready to swear off holidays forever.

All she wants to do is escape, but if she’s going to manage that she’s first going to have to deal with lovesick monsters and updating an old-fashioned kingdom with some modern thinking…

Source: ARC from Less Than Three Press via NetGalley

This book sounded like such a short, quirky and fun read that I couldn’t resist. Well, it is short (the title is almost longer than the book) and it  most definitely is quirky, but sadly the level of fun didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Actually, it overdid everything and felt like it was trying too hard for the most part.

Everything starts off quite well with Alex standing on top of the pyramid wondering quite where her holiday went wrong. The talking cat is a bit odd – especially as her humour is a bit forced and dubious at best – but there was a fun aspect to it that I liked. Then along came a sea monster. Still good, until he started talking and proved to be an over-the-top camp stereotype that I found less funny and more sadly predictable. I also didn’t realise this wasn’t the first Alex book, though I did get suspicious when she started bitching at the cat about wanting a holiday and how she specifically said no more adventures.

Then comes a massive info-dump moment to fill everyone in on who Alex is, where she comes from, why she’s on this mission, oh, and the fact that she’s actually a trans character who needs to become a man again for a bit, because else this whole story totally wouldn’t work, ‘kay?

No, actually, not okay. More annoying, really. Add in the dimmer-switch-turned-down-low prince and the whole “Oh, why do I have three hundred wives and am attracted to none of them?” nonsense and I was ready for this story to be even shorter. The best thing about the ending was that it was all over.

In summary:
– The monster is a clichéd let down.
– There’s too much info-dumping with Alex.
– The cat is annoying.
– The prince needs to fall off his own pyramid.
– And did I mention that Alex needed to be a man to achieve anything?

Yeah. I thought the most I felt about this story was a neutral blahness. Turns out I was wrong and it actually irritated me more than anything. Especially as Alex could have achieved a similar amount of stuff as a woman, without having to expose that particular nasty transphobic aspect of the backward country. They’re not as enlightened as Alex’s homeland, yes, yes, you’ve already pointed that out. Lovely, fine, great. Can we move on n-? Oh, no, apparently not, because this dead horse needs to be flogged some more.

It is short, it is quirky but ultimately it devoured its own potential around the time of Alex’s sacrifice.

Being Cosmopolitan Demands a Sacrifice is out August 19th.
Visit Jamie Brindle for more details


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