For 7 years Marcus Caster Rupp played Aneas on Gods of The Gates, a high-budget fantasy television show based on a popular book series. He’s also secretly Book!AneasWouldNever, a prolific writer in the Gods of The Gates’ fanfic community.
When geologist April Whittier is harassed online for posting her cosplay of Marcus’ onscreen love interest, he publicly asks April on a date and quickly learns that April is his one of his best online friends. Now he’s falling for her, but can’t tell her his secret without potentially ruining his career.
This book reads like a love letter to the Gen X / older Millenial generation of fanfiction writers who found a niche community through writing about their favorite ships. Within the story, fanfiction writing is validated by every character who comes across it and we never see the toxic or problematic side of fandom. I’d also argue it has a lot of fandom deep cuts. Terms like OTP, beta, AO3, AU and cosplay are used with very little explanation. I think someone unfamiliar with any of these concepts could feel confused.
The romance is propelled by April and Marcus working through the trauma of emotionally abusive parents and finding acceptance in each other. But the main tension in the plot is Marcus not telling April he is also her online BFF. I didn’t realize this was in the book and hero-keeping-a-secret it is one of my least favorite tropes, I’m always like:
The audiobook is narrated by Isabelle Ruther and her narration didn’t add anything and at times felt out of sync with the dialogue tags. Ruther seems to have only gotten into narrating audiobooks in the last year so maybe she’s still working it out.