Posted by Miranda Heart ::
9:44 PM ::
Title: Lady Dragon
Author: JJ Giles
Content: M/M, F/F, Master/slave, BDSM, incestual behavoir, heavy bondage, implied rape
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
There is so much to say about Lady Dragon, that I am at a loss of where to start. This novel is a very deep and involved story. This book sets you up for the several that are to follow and just when you think it can't get anymore confusing, any deeper, JJ takes you to another level that you never thought existed. In the end she makes every page before make sense and are satisfied with her ending.
What I enjoyed most was the way that she pulled you into each character. There were aspects that you loved and hated of each one. Even the most hated of them all, Phillipe, you understand a little better by the end of the book. This is a sign of a very talented writer. JJ has an imagination that stretches beyond the usual BDSM tale. For that I thank her. A story of this nature has been something I personally have been searching for.
That is not to say this story is for the faint of heart. Lady Dragon, is dark, mysterious and down right shocking at times. JJ searches out any of your limits and pushes them, sometimes gently, sometimes forcefully, to make you accept where the author is sending you. After awhile I accepted where I was being taken and enjoyed the outcome. Not every scene is designed for the sexual pleasure of the characters involved. This is a tale of Masters and slaves. The Masters understand what their slaves seek. The slaves seek the redemption and healing. No one can deliver that better than Master. In showing these aspects she showed me a deeper level of submission than what one can find just in the bedroom.
The areas that I had a hard time adjusting to, were the POV switches and the lack of sensory detail. The POV switches I did get into the groove of. As a writer and a reader I find it difficult to truly understand a character that I am not allowed to fully engross myself in for a scene. That said I did get into the voice of the writer because she did know her characters so well. Looking back on it now, I don't believe it would have done this book well to have been written in the textbook sense of writing. Some things just should not have been revealed so soon. JJ is not a writer that portrays stories through visual detail. Instead she chooses to grasp onto emotions. Not the characters emotions but, your emotions. She writes her scenes in the moment and though she will easily give a short detail of what a person looks like or what is going on in a scene, she saves the details for the reader. By doing so, it captured me emotionally more than visually. This is something that is not done very often, so again I struggled for a few chapters before realizing this and then quickly caught up to her style. The final problem I had was the amount of drug and alcohol use. This is a personal preference of mine and although it fits the story line, they are two things I steer clear of in this lifestyle. However, I know I'm not necessarily the norm, so you decide.
The actual point of this book begins over 300 years before the story actually begins. Backstory is interwoven through riveting dialogue that drags you to the edge of your seat with your eyes wide in fascination. Just the sheer idea that anyone's mind could work in such a way to weave this story was mind blowing. Each character is fighting a battle that began long before the bodies they reside in today. Still, this story does not somehow fit under the heading of paranormal or fantasy. This story fits very well into a contemporary setting.
Sean is the lead character in Lady Dragon, he is fighting so many demons he doesn't even know where to start. There is the demon of his first wife, Claudia, a memory that he wishes he could get away from. Then there is the love he feels for his Master, Phillipe, yet Phillipe has shown no interest in three years. Sending him to live at his estate. There, he has fallen into a deep depression that marijuana and alcohol do not seem to assuage. He is called back into duty by a man he hates more than anything, to do a job he wants to be away from desperatly. This is his last Entrant, his final slave to train and then he's done and can be reunited with his Master. This is what brings him to open the file. The file of the pictureless Entrant, Mary Jo Mason. Curious he seeks to read more and comes across an entry from his own book, Lady Dragon. His life only worsens when he meets her. She is the splitting image of his first wife and he mistakes her as just that through out the whole book.
This is where the book takes it's first big turn. You see, The Acadamy has available to it, the resources to clone people. Thereby making anything that seems odd, somehow normal. It would not have been impossible for Phillipe to have cloned Claudia, except that Phillipe hates Claudia with a passion. So here is your first delimma. Believe Sean, who has gone crazy, or seek out how that could be impossible. Sean spends the rest of the book trying to make sense of the new world he has been thrust into with Mary Jo Mason.
Sean is also still dealing with the loss of his brother and father. Phillipe scooped him up just as his brother took a turn for the worse and developed cancer. His new Master soothed the pain of his loss and taught him all he needed to know to become a Foreman and prepared him for his eventual coronation. In the process, he made him a prisoner in his own home, put him in charge of a responsiblity that very few can find solace in and then left him to his own devices. A man under this sort of emotional strain can not possibly function as well as he did.
He takes many twists and turns in coming to terms with Phillipe's delusions, the idea that Mary Jo is a hermaphodite that was or was not cloned. Moving past his ex-wife that he never felt he would be able to do. And getting to know family members that he never knew existed. In the process he meets a man named Barry, personally, I dislike Barry, but you decide for yourself. These two have a fast growing love for one another, just as Barry comes to terms with being gay.
There is such a psychological depth to Lady Dragon, that there is not enough space or time for me to break it all down to explain it. Lady Dragon, is a worth while read and is going on my keeper shelf. Literally. It was such a large book it was sent to me through mail. I say this from experience, this is a book that you will want to hold in your hand and take everywhere you go. It was a novel to be savored not skimmed through. If you miss even a paragraph you could have missed the whole point of a scene. You know these characters so thoroughly by the end of the book, that like or dislike them you still want and need to know what happens next. I hope there is another to follow soon because these characters will stick out in my head for years to come.
Thank you JJ Giles for such an intellectual read.
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Friday, December 15, 2006
Eternal Bonds: An Erotic Anthology
Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Eternal Bonds
Authors: Lauren Mills, Rachel McIntyre, Amber Hipple, K.M. Hoover, jules, Ann Cory, D.L. King, Erich Mass, Danae Klimt, Destiny West, Pat Harvey, Edwin Morrow, and Jude Mason
Publisher: Logical-Lust Publications
Genre: BDSM erotic fiction
Publication Date: 2005
Rating: 3.5 of 5
This anthology contains fourteen short stories with a strong BDSM theme. As with all anthologies, some offerings are much stronger than others. Of course, the main benefit to an anthology of this type is that all the stories are BDSM themed, and there is something for nearly everyone.
The strongest pieces of the anthology were, in my opinion, the stories by Harvey, Klimt, and the two pieces by Morrow. The Harvey piece was very hot and extremely engaging. The internal dialogue allowed by the first person narrator made this piece work – without it, the piece would have fallen flat. It is one of the few pieces I would say absolutely needed to be in first person, and the author does it well. The Klimt piece was beautiful in concept and execution, with somewhat florid and formal prose that was completely keeping with the theme of the piece. The two Morrow pieces are connected (I must admit to wondering why they were split into two stories), and are a rare example of both well-done sub perspective and well-done Dom perspective. As an added bonus, there is some nice Japanese rope bondage in these pieces, and the ending to the second story is very clever.
There were a number of good pieces with some weaknesses. The Mills piece was hot, but the Dom wasn’t terribly convincing to me. There were also some prose issues – switching points of view and some dialogue issues – that pulled me out of the story. The McIntyre piece is nice, with very hot scenes, but the ending seemed a bit abrupt to me. The Hipple piece was a lovely – really good – thought piece inside subspace for a bit more hard core sub. There was a bit of topping from the bottom in this piece, and it wasn’t so much hot as interesting. The piece by jules is not so much sexy as sweet, and some editing issues pulled me out of the piece. The King piece is a nice Domme piece, but the weird history bits distract from the main story – I really did not need to hear about her mother. Also, the disconnect between the expectations of the sub and the intentions of the Domme are a little sad. The Hoover piece was jumpy, and could have used more dialogue rather than narrative. The lack of world-building in this piece bothered me some, but there was a completely hot scene that made up for some of the weakness of the story. The Mass piece had a nice bit of history and was an interesting story, but the characters just didn’t come alive for me, and the lack of sympathy/empathy for any characters snapped the tension of the story for me.
The weakest offerings in this anthology, in my opinion, were the pieces by Cory, West, and Mason. The Cory piece is rife with euphemisms, odd sentence structure, and strange punctuation, all of which pulled me out of the scenes. Additionally, there is a large amount of topping from the bottom, and the use of the term slave here is odd, as she is clearly not only not a slave, and does not seem to even be truly submissive. The Mason piece is an interesting idea, but the execution goes awry. The action moves back and forth in real-time and some kind of fugue state (not subspace – a true alternate reality) for the sub, which is disconcerting, especially when the author starts adding flashbacks to past lives and tosses in vampirism to boot. Additionally, my willing suspension of disbelief only extends so far, and this story moved right out of bounds for what I am willing to believe as even fantasy realistic. Finally, the West story is the weakest offering of the entire anthology. Not only does the author revert to a cop-out stereotype by equating the Domme with Satanism, but the use of the second person point of view here is a poor choice – especially given the use of Satanism in the story. Frankly, the use of second person here is probably what killed the story for me, because there was no way I was identifying with the role assigned to me as the reader.
I would recommend this anthology for people looking for a lot of variety. There is a lot from which to choose, and most of it is good.
Posted by Elise Logan ::
6:04 AM ::
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