Review: Temper by Nicky Drayden

August 21, 2018
Temper, Nicky Drayden, InToriLex
Published By: Harper Voyager on August 7, 2018
Format Read: ARC Edition (382 pages)
Genre: Own Voices/ Fantasy/ Sci-fi
Series: Stand Alone
Source: Publisher Request
Two brothers.
Seven vices.
One demonic possession.
Can this relationship survive?

Auben Mutze has more vices than he can deal with—six to be exact—each branded down his arm for all the world to see. They mark him as a lesser twin in society, as inferior, but there’s no way he’ll let that define him. Intelligent and outgoing, Auben’s spirited antics make him popular among the other students at his underprivileged high school. So what if he’s envious of his twin Kasim, whose single vice brand is a ticket to a better life, one that likely won’t involve Auben.

The twins’ strained relationship threatens to snap when Auben starts hearing voices that speak to his dangerous side—encouraging him to perform evil deeds that go beyond innocent mischief. Lechery, deceit, and vanity run rampant. And then there are the inexplicable blood cravings. . . .

On the southern tip of an African continent that could have been, demons get up to no good during the time of year when temperatures dip and temptations rise. Auben needs to rid himself of these maddening voices before they cause him to lose track of time. To lose his mind. And to lose his . . .


Content Warning: Substance Abuse, Queer Elements, Cannibalism, Sexually Explicit Scenes


When I started reading I was uncertain how this multi-gendered, mostly twin populated world worked. There are four genders male, female, feminized kigen and masculinized kigen. Kigen are created when twins genitalia are mixed in the womb so each twin has different feminine and masculine characteristics. In the book it was described as chimeral gendering. All of the twins in this world share six vices and virtues between them. The vices and virtues do not have to be split evenly.

Once I learned more about the world building I started to enjoy the characters and mythology in this book. The characters are what shine. Auben has five vices and one virtue, Kasim has five virtues and one vice. Their relationship is close not only because they cannot be separated too far or risk feeling pain, but because they have developed a great bond. Overtime the relationship becomes more strained as family secrets are revealed. The extensive religious mythology along with the changing surroundings of Auben and Kasim, was overwhelming as the story progresses.
InToriLex, I'm Lost
While the world building was done well, it took too long for me to get a full picture. Any science based progress or interests are stifled because most of the population follows religious practices instead.  In addition to religious differences there are also major class differences. Many people live in poverty while their twin lives in affluent neighborhoods separated by a wall. The book also includes  mature content, while it is told from a young person's perspective I would not label this a young adult book.  

The story had far too much going on to make it flow well for the reader. In the last third of the book things  happen at a staggering pace. The last part of the book could have easily been the start of the next book in series. Everything felt compressed and the story struggled to keep my interest towards the end. I did enjoy the queer elements, unique concepts, characters and diverse representation throughout the book.

Recommended for Readers who
- enjoy unique diverse fantasy
- look for well explained world building
- enjoy mature content related to sex and sexual orientation

**I received this ARC from Harper Voyager in exchange for an honest review.**


Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required.


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