The Man On Top Of The World, by Vanessa Clark
Publisher: Bold Strokes Book
Release Date: August 1, 2016
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars
Jonathan Maxwell’s life can’t get any better as the drummer of the world’s hottest glam rock superstar, Izzy Rich. Despite the money, the nonstop excitement of touring, and the groupies, Jonathan wants something more. He wants Izzy to be his lover.
Unbeknownst to his team, his fans, and the world, for fun, Izzy transforms in drag for Jonathan, becoming a songwriter/songstress called Holly. Though meant to happen for only one day, Jonathan and Holly’s relationship lasts for weeks. Until one day, Izzy rids himself of Holly forever.
Transitioning from boyfriend and girlfriend to boyfriends, Jonathan and Izzy are on cloud nine. Their love is still a secret, but they couldn’t be happier. Until the tour jumps across the pond to America, where a bold, teenaged fan-girl, Roxanne Shengyi, will impact their relationship—and their lives—in ways that none of them can imagine.
The Man On Top Of The World is set in the 1970s and follows the turbulent, secret relationship between our main character, drummer Jonathan Maxwell, and his love interest, glam rock superstar Izzy Rich (try to picture a less dignified David Bowie). If the warnings listed under Tropes & Tags didn’t already clue you in, there is a lot of sex, drugs and rock n roll in this book.
So let me start with some of the things I liked about this novel. First off, I thoroughly enjoyed Izzy’s genderfluidity. And unlike his bandmates, it went beyond just crossdressing for his live shows. Sure, it definitely made for some thrilling performances on stage and some mind-blowing sex scenes, but I loved how he embraced his feminine side far beyond playing dress-up.
Which leads me to Holly, Izzy’s secret alter ego brought to life expressly for Jonathan. The love affair between Jonathan and Holly was easily my favorite thing about this novel. Their fling was absolutely delightful – it was sweet, romantic, incredibly hot – and altogether much too brief.
Unfortunately, the end of their affair pretty much marks the point where the book falls to pieces for me.
The author’s writing style, which was pretty clunky from the start, even in the dialogues, did not improve for me as I read on. It also crossed my mind more than a few times that the book could have probably used further line editing, because large portions of the book were really repetitive.
Things that I initially liked, such as the hedonism, started to get old. The drug use, which I had shrugged off as part and parcel of their rock-star lifestyle, switched from recreational to dangerous, and the casual glorification of it left me a little uneasy.
And then there’s the relationship drama, which went from zero to sixty. I felt that their relationship’s lack of defined boundaries increased the drama factor to toxic levels, especially with the introduction of Roxanne’s character. In retrospect, I would even go so far as to say that, post-Holly, they were never even in a relationship. They were basically fuck buddies who kept hurting each other.
Even with the meandering plot and non-stop drama, I think the biggest dealbreaker for me was the fact that I started straight up hating the MCs. As much as I adored them during their Jonathan-and-Holly days, I couldn’t stand either of them in the entire second half of the book. Jonathan was super frustrating and Izzy was downright hateful.
The Man On Top Of The World has been categorized as Romance (and General Fiction) by the publisher, but frankly, there is no HEA for Jonathan and Izzy, and it’s definitely for the best. The book may have concluded on a HFN, but only if you’re a very forgiving, wildly optimistic sort of person. But even after I stopped viewing it as a Romance partway through, it was still an extremely frustrating read.
Purchase The Man On Top Of The World at:
Bold Strokes Books
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.