Hayden Thorne, Queerteen Press

Small Gem – Erl-King by Hayden Thorne

Fairy tales are dreams and dreams are fairy tales, and they both bear a striking resemblance to Hayden Thorne’s Erl-King, a story that resonates with vivid imagery, a dream-like quality, and the pain of a boy who denies himself the right to be whom he was born to be.

Baltasar is a young man of seventeen who is imprisoned by expectations, bound by duty, alone in his conflict to be someone he isn’t meant to be. He is a young man who, in an enchanted forest far different from the black/gray/white of his own existence, is confronted by his own sexuality in the form of the beautiful and timeless forest spirit, the Erl-king. In a realm that allows Baltasar to see all the possible colors his life could be, he discovers his own desires but betrays himself and the one who teaches him what it means to feel and to be true to oneself.

Erl-King is gorgeous and reminded me not only why I love folklore so much but also reminded me why I love Hayden Thorne’s writing so well. There is always more to see beneath the surface of the story. On its surface it is expressive and vibrant; underneath it is rich in symbolism and eloquent in subtly relating the trials of coming of age and coming to terms with the challenges of being different than the world expects you to be.

Buy Erl-King HERE.

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