His Quiet Agent

Yesterday, I introduced a comic for Asexual Awareness Week. Today, I want to continue with a novel: “His Quiet Agent” by Ada Maria Soto.
There is also a short story titled “Merlin in the Library: An Agency Short Story” around that is apparently something of a sequel but I haven’t taken a look at that one yet.

“His Quiet Agent” directly brings up the asexuality spectrum, as well as other sexual identities like bisexuality or pansexuality, in conversation between the main characters and the protagonist does muse about his love interest’s sexuality and what that’ll entail. Also, even the synopsis states that the story has a “Heat Rating of zero” so you totally know what you’ll get in here. 😉

 

What is the story about?

Secret Service Agent Arthur gets a promotion – albeit not the one he had in mind when he applied for it. To better his chances for the next time, he has to strike up some friendships and make himself visible. Unfortunately, he’s kinda awkward and thus ends up with the other weird person in the office: Martin. Well, first of all, Arthur has to work hard to actually get to some semblance of a relationship because Martin isn’t the most approachable guy.

 

What is my opinion?

I’m honestly not sure what I should say about this book. First of all: It’s a short read. Like, I finished about half of it on a two-hour train ride and really felt how short it was.
Maybe it’s that I’m spoiled by web novels where chapters upon chapters are used to develop things but I would have wished the novel took some more time to explore – especially in regards to the beginning stages of the relationship between Arthur and Martin. As it is now, several weeks of getting to know each other are summarized in a few sentences and I had trouble comprehending just how Arthur ended up falling in love with Martin.

Maybe I also went at this book with the wrong expectations. When I saw the synopsis, I was head over heels. The story sounded interesting, different from what I usually read, and like a good mixture of romance and action.
In the end, the romance fell flat for me and even though I can’t say the story was boring, it wasn’t as exciting as I had thought it would be. Like, the first half of the novel went by without anything I’d deem a major event. It felt a bit like watching somebody’s everyday activities: They push a heap of documents from one side of their table to the other, eat lunch (they do that a lot in the novel), then maybe go grocery shopping and that’s it. I definitely didn’t see any secret service agent-adventures in there even though I would have expected that with how Martin was announced in the synopsis.
What was most interesting to me was probably the small conversations Arthur and Martin had and those only lasted for a few sentences.

Oh, there is one other thing I loved about the book: Carol, the lesbian, well … friend Arthur makes toward the beginning of the story. She seemed fun and her conversations with Arthur were also one of my highlights but, unfortunately, they were just as short as the ones he had with Martin and Carol rushed in like lightning and was gone just as fast only to re-appear like three chapters later again. I certainly could have lived with seeing more of her.

Overall, I liked “His Quiet Agent” but I’m sure I would have loved it if it had been just a hundred pages longer. I’d still recommend this book if you can live with a fair share of summarizing and description of everyday events and appreciate quieter stories. Just don’t do the same mistake I made and expect a thrilling adventure with guys in suits. I mean there are guys in suits but they don’t seem to have thrilling adventures.

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