Sunday, January 21, 2007
Vandar's War By: Reese Gabriel
Title – Vandar’s War
Author – Reese Gabriel
Publisher – Ellora’s Cave 2007
ISBN # 9781419907500
Reviewed by – Lanna Morris
Rating – 4.5/5
Vandar’s War is a mouthwatering melange of futuristic, erotic romance and superbly crafted BDSM action.
This is the fifth book in the More Than Male series by Reese Gabriel; the story stands alone but whets the appetite for the other books in the series. Personally, I’ll be grubbing around for the loose shekels and snaffling them up.
Ms Gabriel doesn’t believe in slow buildups. And why would she, when her approach has the reader deeply involved in the immediate, and I mean immediate, conflict between Dr Reeva, a shapely, red haired psychosensologist from the Bureau of Psychosensory Study, and Guardian Commander Vandar, a genetically engineered primale of primales, (or prince of primates, whichever you prefer!) This pair are snapping at each other before you’re halfway down the first page. And it’s well done. Very well done.
For those unfamiliar with the More Than Male series, most humans in this time and place are genetically engineered into:
Primales - warriors with impossibly stiff upper lips and apparently even stiffer dicks under the complete control of their proud owners. These dicks, er sorry, primales, are capable of squirting copious amounts of .. genetic material (I hate the word cum) at will, at temperatures considerably higher than that found in non-primales. Frequently. Domination is bred into their bones and they are biologically and socially engineered to protect the human species. Designed to bond when they so choose, with Obedients, for life. Oh yes, they’re great in the sack, too.
Obedients – beautiful, female and submissive. Exquisitely trained in sexual submission and the giving of pleasure.
Fems – Smart women. Intelligent, scientists and conditioned to avoid Primales. To them, primales are objects of scientific study.
Mems – Smart men. (not a word, Morris, not a word!) Not quite alpha males, apparently. Would like to do considerably more porking of the Fems, but the fems, while tolerant of the mems, aren’t entirely satisfied with ‘em.
The Bad Guys in the book are the Narthians (Bugs) – creepy critters who have a gastronomic penchant for humans a la larval sac. Rare.
Now please bear in mind, that I haven’t read the previous books in the series, so I may have left out some vital characteristic of the above genetically engineered human groups.
Reeva has been sent as a consultant to Vandar’s remote military outpost to report on the prevailing psychosensological conditions. (Insert high-powered, top secret, behind the scenes machinations) Vandar is outraged by the presence of a fem on his well disciplined outpost and the scene is set for the fireworks to follow.
Ms Gabriel has drawn her hero and heroine with a very sure and knowledgeable hand. Both Reeva and Vandar retain character integrity for the duration of the book, no mean feat given the realisations both come to.
The power exchange on the sexual level has been superbly done. Ms Gabriel has given us a heroine with the courage to recognise, in perfect congruence with her profession as a psychosensologist, that she is attracted to the primale Vandar. The beauty of this recognition is in the raw honesty of her sexual response. This heroine is no simpering miss with a virginal reluctance to explore an intrusive, nasty desire. Reeva is sufficiently in touch with herself to acknowledge a raging sexual desire for Vandar, almost from the first contact. The conflict between her desire, yet her professional reason for being there and her determination to achieve her objective is very cleverly done. This is probably the first heroine I’ve ever come across that I didn’t want to shake, or at the very least, give a real fright. If you really want to categorise Reeva, you’d say she was a bedroom submissive. But you’d say it quietly!
Vandar is pure Dominant, yet capable of an emotional response that quite naturally, increases his capacity for Domination and sexual desire.
This is a story of mutual power exchange, synergic in its nature. Reeva freely embraces and acknowledges the effect of the primale’s nature on her, while Vandar conducts his own battle with his growing emotional attachment to Reeva, and the possible negative effect it may have on her. Reeva is not afraid of submission to Vandar; she is well aware of the separation of her submission from her professional ability and her self esteem. Vandar on the other hand, is aware of his desire to claim Reeva, acknowledging that his engineered biological nature to protect and cherish is about to overwhelm him and render him bonded for life to a woman who is not geared to live with the likes of a primale.
Reese Gabriel has demonstrated a beautiful control of her work. She walks an incredibly difficult line between some fairly stern BDSM scenes and romance. Ah yes, nearly forgot the BDSM. Lots of it – spanking, whipping, flogging, nipple clamping, labia clamping and a hint of sensory deprivation. There’s a nice little .. well we won’t call it a twist, but there’s a nice sense of completeness, drawn into a post-coital discussion towards the end of the book.
The plot? I’ve rambled on too long as it is. Get the book and read it. The real story here has already been told. Sure, there’s a bit of battle action with the Bugs which ties the futuristic environment to the story and there are a couple of nicely done flashbacks which serve the same purpose. But give yourselves a treat and enjoy a romantic novel with superbly done BDSM where the true beauty of a D/s relationship and its interdependencies is beautifully told. Brava!
Posted by Miranda Heart ::
6:45 PM ::
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