Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Raising the Dead
Author: Angelia Sparrow
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Publication Date: October 2007
Rating: 5 of 5
It is rare that a short story is so complete, so like a perfectly cut and polished jewel of erotic literature. This one is, absolutely.
Shane and Victor are an established couple, and the author does a fantastic job of getting the reader into the rhythm of their relationship without sacrificing the flow of the story. Their characters grow and develop through the story, and there is some real depth of motivation. The dialogue is excellent – snappy, tender, harsh, broken. The author mixes hard core sensation and dominance scenes with emotional tenderness and stellar communication. In fact, the author does such an amazing job of creating good communication between the characters that I am tempted to use it as reference for how such communication should work in a relationship.
There were a couple of little points that kept the story from being absolutely perfect, but they were so minor as to be nits that I am picking. The abrupt resolution was a little jarring, but that stems mostly from the fact that the story is entirely from Shane’s perspective, so we don’t get any peeks into Victor’s internal dialogue. Still, I wouldn’t change it, since the firmly consistent point of view does a lot to maintain the flow of the story.
So, the story itself features Shane and Victor at a bit of a crossroads. Victor wants more from Shane – more dominance, more sensation, more verbal abuse, more humiliation, just more. Shane, a horror writer, is afraid that he will go too far. He doesn’t want to lose Victor as an individual – he loves and respects him. Shane is terrified that Victor will push him to go further and further and will have no stopping point. He is horrified at the prospect of what he thinks he could become. In reaction, he tries to pull Victor back from the dark edge, but Victor resists. He wants to be dominated, he wants to be abused. The tension over this issue could be very destructive (the author handles this with finesse and skill).
Shane hatches a plan. He thinks that if he goes suddenly very hardcore lifestyle, into the realm of complete slavery, then reverts back to what he considers to be sane levels of domination, Victor will be shocked back from his darkest desires. This works only somewhat, but then backfires completely. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice it to say that there is a satisfactory resolution.
The scenes in this story are completely hot. The characters are memorable and engaging. The story is interesting. The writing is well done, and the dialogue is superb. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read this story, and it’s a sheer joy to review. Thank you, Ms. Sparrow.