Title: Exodus 20:3
Author: Freydís Moon
Publisher: NineStar Press
Length: 93 Pages
Category: Horror, Erotic Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Stars
At a Glance: This novella packs a lot of punch, and I was completely absorbed by the author’s voice and their storytelling. I’ll be watching for their next release to see what boundaries they’ll explore, and maybe cross, to challenge and push me outside my own, next.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: Religious eroticism and queer emancipation meet in a claustrophobic monster-romance about divinity, sexuality, and freedom.
When Diego López is guilted by his mother into taking a low-key construction job in New Mexico, he doesn’t expect to be the only helping hand at Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. But the church is abandoned, decrepit, and off the beaten path, and the only other person for miles is its handsome caretaker, Ariel Azevedo.
Together, Diego and Ariel refurbish the old church, sharing stories of their heritage, experiences, and desires. But as the long days turn into longer nights, Diego begins to see past Ariel’s human mirage and finds himself falling into lust—and maybe something else—with one of God’s first creations.
Review: Freydís Moon has written a story unlike anything I have ever read before. Whether that’s due to my not being well-read enough or because they have penned something so uniquely and personally theirs that the odds of my having found something like it by another author were close to nil, is anyone’s guess. I’m leaning towards the latter, though.
I’ve read plenty of books in which a human and an angel fall in love, but Exodus 20:3 goes beyond that. It’s an erotic fantasy that brushes up against spiritualism and upends most people’s concept of what an angel is. It’s a story in which a trans man hits something like rock bottom, and the only way he can begin to pay his mother back for the damage he’s done is to take a construction job restoring a dilapidated old church in the middle of nowhere. Diego is in a near-constant state of fight-or-flight from the moment he meets the man who hired him, the only other person on the construction “team”, Ariel Azevedo. There’s something different about Ariel that Diego can’t quite define but which sets him on edge, while Ariel sees Diego altogether too clearly. Perhaps more so than Diego would have preferred. Being seen for who they each truly are is a significant component of this story, and it’s both its conflict and its resolution.
Whether readers will find Exodus 20:3 (“Thou shalt have no other gods before me”) sacrilegious will hinge entirely on one’s beliefs. Moon deliberately pushes the boundaries of what is largely accepted as blasphemous, and does so deliberately in order to drive the relationship between Diego and Ariel and to create the analogous theme of their individual appearances and how they each see the other in their purest, truest form. There is also a point at which readers learn the church’s dual purpose, which ties in with something Diego’s mother said about him, and I found it a clever way of turning the analogy into something more than what was intended in the narrative.
This novella packs a lot of punch, and I was completely absorbed by the author’s voice and their storytelling. I’ll be watching for their next release to see what boundaries they’ll explore, and maybe cross, to challenge and push me outside my own, next.
You can buy Exodus 20:3 here:
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