As I was reading GitBT, I found myself changing the meaning of scenes in...more
Clarissa Stacia Explains it All.
Yes, I am dating myself with that reference.
As I was reading GitBT, I found myself changing the meaning of scenes in order to entertain myself. Entire passages of dialogue and bland scenes were spiced up in my head as I made the Sheikh more of a jackass and the woman less intriguing than she was supposed to be.
Here's the book as I saw it :
The book states - Amir had his pick of gorgeous women on six contents. He chose his own bed partners.
Translation - Amir knew that he had hos in different area codes.
The book states - Unusual was right. In Monte Carlo, Moscow or Stockholm her coloring wouldn't warrant a second glance.
Translation - Men always want what's different. If you feel unattractive, move to another country where people don't look like you, and you'll be an instant bombshell.
The book states - She'd stabbed him!
Translation - Foreplay!
The book states - "I prefer my women willing."
Translation - Fear and wealth make everyone willing. You'll get there soon enough.
The book states - "Come! You need sustenance." He didn't quite click his fingers, but his abrupt gesture made her step automatically towards a low, brass-topped table.
Translation - "Bitch, get over here!"
The book states - He trusted her with the blade? Or was it a trick to lull her into relaxing?
Translation - He thinks you're so weak, he'd have no problem overpowering you.
The book states - Her only hope lay in not giving up. She still had to find a way out of here.
Translation - Her only hope lay in getting laid.
The book states - It must appear we spent the night as lovers.
Translation - I have a rep to protect.
The book states - Amir shuddered as desire racked him.
Translation - He really had a seizure.
The book states - She dropped to the ground, her legs opening in perfect splits. Desire surged. He wanted her wrapped around him.
Translation - My translation would be the same here.
The book states - Only days ago the thought of Amir looking at her desire had made her reach for a knife. But now.
Translation - But now, she reaches for a vibrator.
The book states - Some strange version of Stockholm Syndrome?
Stacia thinks - You wish the explanation was so easily explained. That's all you.
The book was fine - everything was pretty much surface level, so we never got to really see more to the characters beyond basic and weak sexual tension. If I'd read Girl in the Bedouin Tent before I'd read Sheikh's Scandal, I might have given a more satisfactory rating. Even while Sheikh's veered off course with some hard-to-believe moments (not buying that a man abstained from sex for 3 years for a woman he didn't care about, when he had a harem at his disposal), at least I felt like there was some weight to the story itself, cheesy as it was at times.
DNF just shy of 30%. Will not rate because I'm not sure if my expectations screwed with my ability to enjoy the book. I was curious to see if my issue...moreDNF just shy of 30%. Will not rate because I'm not sure if my expectations screwed with my ability to enjoy the book. I was curious to see if my issues with KA were strictly contemporary-related, but I realized that it's not going to matter what genre she writes - I just can't seem to enjoy enough about the story or characters to justify the problems which stick out.
I'm not sure why I was expecting more of a high fantasy offering (maybe it was the repeated comparisons of the main characters to Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen - Song of Ice and Fire this is not). Instead, The Golden Dynasty reminded me of the caveman book I'd recently read with its simplistic language and repeating sounds.
Lahnahsahna reminded me of this scene (the part I'm referencing starts at 1:05)
So maybe the book was on the more basic end of fantasy. I could probably try to overlook it, right?
But when you add in this...
Holy freaking moly...my husband was hot!
...I was pretty much done for.
I might have chalked the book up to being its own category and not a book trying to be high fantasy, if there hadn't been scenes in the book which were trying to be high fantasy. That kind of screws up the message.
Comparison number 1 : It is possible for a romance book to incorporate elements of high fantasy and do it well. I can easily offer up Lord of the Fading Lands, which is definitely more of a romance book than a straightforward fantasy, yet the author manages to incorporate a strong language, lush world details, and well-drawn racial characteristics to serve as a fantasy background.
Let's compare :
Lord of the Fading Lands - "Ver reisa ku'chae. Kem surah, shei'tani." (Your soul calls out. Mine answers, beloved.)
The Golden Dynasty - "Kay me ahnoo!" I snapped into his neck. "Rayloo, kah fauna," Lahn murmured.
The base for the language in Golden Dynasty sounded childlike and primitive. One could argue that in Game of Thrones, there was a distinct difference between the Khal's people and the other kingdoms - perhaps what could be seen as a more primitive way of communicating - and that was high fantasy. I'd argue that George RR Martin also knows how to pull it off better.
Comparison number 2 : It is possible for a romance book to incorporate the idea of sending a woman from our world to live in another world and not sacrifice on the creativity. Wicked as They Come tackled a similar idea (albeit more as a whimisical paranormal) and managed to do it with more flair.
Adult review for erotic content. Warning : some spoilers will be present.
There are few story crimes greater than the one of wasted potential.
What I ex...moreAdult review for erotic content. Warning : some spoilers will be present.
There are few story crimes greater than the one of wasted potential.
What I expected : Superhero by day. Sadist by night.
What I got : Passing mentions of a superhero by day. Manufactured Stockholm Syndrome by night.
This was dark erotica with no real direction. The book read like Batman fanfiction without the action and suspense. I need to make a superhero shelf at some point because I don't have it in me to shelve this as sci-fi.
This book was about yet another TSTL female who couldn't make up her mind. It was about yet another TSTL female addicted to a man like he was a drug - for no reason other than he gave her an orgasm.
I'm not making this shit up. It's all right here in black and white.
My mind is as high as heaven...
"Fuck me," I tell him. "I'm so high on you."
I sigh, sated. "Is that what it's like to get high?"
His kiss is like a drug, feeding me, quenching my thirst, my never-ending thirst, my infinite void, and planting himself inside me again.
Prose, thy name is purple utterly fucking stupid. And don't get me started on the awkward ways the word "sated" was used. It was a verb, a noun, a thought, and a conversational reply.
Let me set the record straight. I like dark/taboo/mindfuck erotica - when it's DONE RIGHT. A big part of the draw when it comes to books like these is getting to dissect what makes a screwed-up character tick.
Hero himself wasn't the issue here. I knew what I was getting into when I picked up this book. I knew that he was a rapist. I knew that he was damaged. I knew that he was a contradiction between caring human and irreparable monster. I didn't flinch when he acted upon evil impulses...because...DUH. Taboo mindfuck erotica. It's an actual book category. I've read it many times before, and been able to (enjoy is so not the right word, is it?) understand the book for what it is.
It always comes back to idiot females. If a man rapes you and takes your virginity (oh and btw, you don't really know him, so there's no emotional connection to start) - that FEAR, that PAIN is real.
It takes time to attach to an abuser. There was absolutely no time (I don't count the time she spent alone) for Cataline to attach. I'm thoroughly sick of dubcon being misused in stories as a means to jump ahead to an emotional attachment. The "no really means yes" type of story has it's own niche in erotica. No, it's not just used in monster porn (although, if I'm going to read dubcon, I'm more likely to seek it out in unusual places).
She got an orgasm, then turned into a cat in heat. The fear didn't even come close to overtaking her lust - not even for a second. The (view spoiler)[escape and suicide attempts came after the fact (hide spoiler)]. She went from adamantly stating that she wouldn't give her body to Calvin, then begging for him to take her WITHIN A FEW PAGE SPAN. I'm not expecting full-on accurate realism in taboo erotica, but FFS, I want at least a shred of something that resembles how anyone (yes, even a damaged person) would react. Hell, let me give another taboo example to give some perspective. Take the book Comfort Food. In that book, it was at least explained how the chick would not be able to survive without human contact because she was internally wired to need the companionship of others, so she gave in to her tormentor out of fear of losing herself. It wasn't the most stable explanation, but AT LEAST IT WAS AN EXPLANATION. Cataline's reasons for wanting Calvin/Hero were shaky at best, and explained way after the fact, even though we were in her head and she didn't give me reason to believe she wanted Calvin, other than "it felt good."
Rapists - as long as they're hot and can get you off, it's all good.
My brain hurts.
I wanted to like this story so much. With the right execution, we could have seen a good man fighting his demons with the help of a patient and caring woman.
Taboo erotica is a viable subgenre of erotica. But it's not a trend to be written haphazardly. Unless a dinosaur is running up into the mix and causing havoc, there should be a rational thought process somewhere.
The "superhero" side of the story was COMPLETELY underdeveloped. Outside of a few small snippets scattered throughout the story and some explaining which takes place in the last 20% of the book, this could have been any other kidnap story. I say it all of the time with non-contemporary genres - RESEARCH, DEVELOP, COMMIT to the theme. If you're going to half-ass it, DON'T do it.
Did I mention already that the heroine was TSTL? That entire scene where she threw herself at Calvin and begged him for sex and told him she loved him after he left her alone for a while - that was simply painful to read.
I never realized Hero was different from us.
Wait? Is this the same chick who kept WISHING FOR HERO TO COME SAVE HER? What kind of normal human comes to save the day when he doesn't know where you're at...unless he's DIFFERENT from the rest of you???
Yeah...Cataline. Not the brightest crayon in the box.
Surprisingly enough, the best and most emotional moments came from Calvin/Hero himself. Well, except for this gem of nonsense. "I bet you taste like cotton candy."
He's the reason I'm not 1 starring the book. Sure, he was a rapist who gave his woman a serious bitch slap (I laughed, I'm not gonna lie). But I wanted to read about a disturbed man who had a shred of humanity deep down inside of him. And I got that.
If I let myself too close, there will be nothing to protect her from the monster that lives in me.
Every day I walk a line between my need to defend and my desire to hurt, maul, and kill. To kill a predator makes me high. What kind of a predator does that make me?
Cataline continues to shake, even after she falls asleep. Or maybe I'm the one shaking. I'm holding her tightly. Too tightly.
I've always loved you, since you were a little girl. I just didn't know I was allowed to.
If this entire book had been in Calvin's PoV and had a little more superhero action, it could have easily been 4 stars. The start of the book was interesting. The emotional connection at the end was actually engaging.
It's really too bad Cataline was such a horrid character, which made being in her head a terrible experience...and it didn't help that most of the middle of the book was frustrating to the point of almost making me DNF.