“I’ve never had a crush, I’ve never wanted anyone in my bed. I’ve never looked at anyone and wondered what they looked like naked. I’ve never wanted to… to see anyone or touch anyone.”
We all know the classic fairy tale premise: A prince rescues a princess, they get married, they live happily ever after. Now, of course, we’re living in modern times. Princes can marry princes; princesses can marry princesses and so on – as long as they stick to the premise. Rescue, marry, live happily ever after. But what if a prince doesn’t wish to be rescued?
Aro-ace Prince Gerald teams up with a no-nonsense dragon to fight against the Thousand Kingdoms’ marriage traditions in ROYAL RESCUE, a fantasy adventure with magic, rebellion, and queer happy endings! https://t.co/slNMermv3P pic.twitter.com/Wt2iSJHS8y
— Alex Logan (@AAlexLogan) June 12, 2021
In A. Alex Logan’s Royal Rescue, Gerald, the protagonist, identifies as asexual and experiences exactly this problem. Although the world around him is very open-minded about all the other identities under the queer umbrella, they have trouble understanding asexuality.
To ‘modernize’ the marriage system of fairy tales, Logan builds a world in which royal offspring must choose between becoming a rescuer or a rescuee. Therefore, Gerald is in the unenviable position to be either locked away in a tower (or a similar fairy tale place without any option to escape) or forced to rescue the person locked away. Gender or sexuality doesn’t matter, you can marry whoever you want – as long as you do marry. When Gerald tells his mother, the Queen, that he does not wish to participate in the kingdom’s tradition, she goes against his wish and sends him off to be a rescuee instead. This decision leads to Gerald waking up on his 18th birthday in a tower guarded by a dragon. However, not for one minute does he consider sticking to the rules.
When he discovers that his jailor – the dragon – is treated badly in a way that’s bordering on animal abuse, he decides to overthrow the system and free all the prisoners. When Gerald frees the dragon as well, the animal is willing to help him on his quest. Just when they are about to start their journey of self-acceptance and identity-embracement, they meet another prince named Omar.
As long as Gerald can remember, he’s never been interested in being with another person. Throughout his life, people have told Gerald that “he will find love eventually,” asking him repeatedly: “How do you know you don’t like to have sex if you never tried it?” Still, the idea of nudity or having sex repels him.
These toxic remarks and questions are exactly what most asexual people have to endure in real life, too, which makes this story so easy to relate to. In addition to his own insecurity, Gerald has to navigate a society that is hyper-focused on topics such as relationships and marriage. What will his future look like if he’s unable to love the way everyone else does? Will he stay alone forever? The book does a great job elaborating on these questions and explaining how there is not one form of love, but indeed several.
Gerald doesn’t know about asexuality at first and believes that he’ll never find love. Here, his friend Omar does a great job explaining the variety of love:
“So you mean you don’t like people physically. You don’t like people sexually.”
“You say that there are other ways to like people.”
“Well, there are.” He started ticking them off on his fingers. “There’s liking friends, liking family, liking the way people look – in the same way you’d like a painting or tapestry or work of art, I mean. Aesthetics, not physical attraction.”
I think it’s extremely important to represent asexual people in the media and show that there’s nothing’s wrong with them. Nevertheless, many things would be easier if everybody knew about all sexualities under the queer umbrella.
Many queer books (especially in Germany) either belong to the Young Adult genre or depict high school life with its usual teen problems. Royal Rescue has that, too, but with the addition of a fantasy world and fairy tale sparkles. However, most importantly, the novel is about finding your place in the world and making friends along the way.
If you’d like to learn more about asexuality, read more here.
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