The Age of a Lobster – A Review

by Stephen Mathews 

*I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

I was SO excited to read this book! I love LGBTQ fiction and romance, especially, and have been looking for more new authors and books to add to my list in 2024. Let me say right off the bat that I was not disappointed.

Initially, I was drawn in by the title and the art of the cover. Reading the blurb, I was even more intrigued – a story of a queer mortician? Losing love? Finding himself again? Finding love again? I needed to know more, and so I dove right in (many thanks to the author!).

Stephen Mathews’ novel, The Age of a Lobster, gracefully navigates through the life of Ian Marlow, a young mortician in Colorado who embarks on a dramatic voyage of self-discovery prompted by an unexpected invitation from his estranged cousin.

First Impressions: The Hook

Mathews captivates readers from the first line of the novel, with fascinating style and a narrative promise that unfolds wonderfully as the pages turn. The first paragraph introduces Ian Marlow, a figure full of potential and complexity, portrayed with a seamless blend of wit and melancholy. This captivating beginning sets the tone for a novel rich in emotional and existential explorations.

Storyline and Story Arc

The narrative framework of The Age of a Lobster is well-crafted, with a storyline that combines romance, self-discovery, and drama. The plot revolves around Ian’s return to San Diego, which provides him with a reprieve from his life as a mortician—a career characterized by permanence and endings—as well as the opportunity to revisit unsolved chapters in his past. This voyage is not just geographical, but also deeply internal, inviting readers to consider the meaning of honesty and freedom.

Character Development

Mathews excels at character development, creating a protagonist who is both relatable and flawed. Ian’s internal strife and development are depicted with real honesty, giving him a character readers can root for and empathize with. The minor characters, like Andrew Reyes and Alli, are equally well-crafted, bringing dimension to the plot and having a big impact on Ian’s journey.

Writing Craft and Uniqueness

Stephen Mathews’ writing is clear and expressive, conveying complicated emotions with accuracy. His ability to build a story that is both unique and universal is impressive. The conversation is sharp and realistic, moving the plot forward while maintaining the prose’s introspective tone. The novel’s distinctive setting of a coming-of-age story in a funeral parlor adds a fascinating element, questioning traditional themes and settings.

Editing, Formatting, and Continuity

The book is well-edited, with a focus on language and organization, making the reading experience smooth and entertaining. The storyline is consistent throughout, with each chapter contributing to Ian’s development and the general progression of the plot.

The Ending: A Satisfying Conclusion

Without spoilers, The Age of a Lobster’s ending is satisfyingly realistic. It avoids clichéd resolves, instead opting for an ending that is consistent with the novel’s themes of personal sincerity and the intricacies of human relationships. It leaves the reader with a lingering sensation of introspection, which is characteristic of every excellent novel.

Final Thoughts

The Age of a Lobster is a compelling and beautifully written novel that I am so happy I was able to experience and I will whole-heartedly recommend, especially to those looking for great LGBTQ fiction. Matthews has written a novel that is interesting, unique, and also deeply moving. It’s a must-read for anyone who appreciates the beauty of a well-told story that reflects the flaws and challenges of humanity and real life.

It’s going on the 5-star shelf for me!

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