Nicole's Reviews > Duck!

Duck! by Kim Dare
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May 11, 2012

it was ok
Read in May, 2012

Well, if I wasn't convinced that people's experiences with books could be vastly different, I sure am now. I hate leaving negative reviews. As if it isn't hard enough for an author to get the cojones to publish something in the first place, but then to see that there are people who genuinely feel you have no or very little talent. I'm sure Ms. Dare will not read my review, but I'll try to be constructive regardless.

What I liked: The idea. It was a great premise. I love fairy tales. I love gay sex. I have loved some D/S stories something fierce. So...why didn't this work for me?

Execution.

There were so many things wrong with this, I feel like it must not have been edited at all. Of course it was full of typos. Missing words, extra words, wrong words, and glaring punctuation errors. I caught over 30 typos, and those were just the unambiguous ones. That's more than most m/m I read, though not quite uncommon. Sadly.

But typos were not what really bothered me. I'm used to them in the genre, since I read a book every two days. For me, the thing that sapped nearly all the enjoyment from this book, was the clumsy prose. Those beginning writer problems that someone should have helped Ms. Dare edit out of her book.

Things that didn't work for me:

1) Fifty ways to name your lover: Nouns, pronouns, epithets--you don't need to vary them all the time. It's great to describe people, and to get out that they are multifaceted. Raynard is a Hawk. He's a dominant. He's an older man. He's larger than Ori. Okay. We don't need to hear all of these things, over and over again, in the same paragraph. I mean, we're in the middle of a sex scene, for goodness' sake! Just call him one thing, and stick to it, so I'm not forced to keep parsing who the heck is doing what. It's just a tag--a handle. We're trying to visualize the positioning. PLUS, those descriptors are not telling us anything new when they're used like that. It's just because someone taught the writer that you can't keep repeating the same thing over and over again. Well, they were wrong. You can. If it's a proper name, or 'he', we just don't notice. Read a book on writing if you don't believe me. It's in every writer's manual I've ever read.

Also, doing this is kind of dangerous, because sometimes the particular epithet you're using doesn't fit the circumstance. For example, there was one part that, without spoiling anything, would have called Raynard's status into question. It's the point of that part in the book. And yet that questionable status is used as an epithet. It was...really badly out of place.

2) Stereotypes. Okay, I rarely care about this at all. In this case, though, something bothered me. Ori's background is barely glossed. He's been in the foster program. Not everyone ends up identically 'damaged' from being in foster programs. The writer has an idea of how Ori is damaged, but the reader isn't given all that backstory. So for a moderate amount of damage, I'd say that's fine. But for someone to end up basically a child in a 20-year-old body...well, I just think that needs a little more 'splaining. Either that, or perhaps a more specific definition of 'submissive'. People will likely disagree with me on this one, but I feel like a submissive can still be an adult. I assume there are childlike submissives, just like I know there are adults who want to be diapered and bottle-fed, but it feels a bit extreme and...well, lacked basis. It didn't work for me, but I know it works for a lot of people.

Now that I think about it, I suppose it could be a by-product of mixing extreme 'romance', hurt-comfort tropes, and D/S. But I don't think so.

Also, sometimes this extreme naivete made Ori just...stupid. Blinder than anyone has a right to be and still be acknowledged as of normal intelligence by others around them. And that makes the plot points that rely on this stupidity/blindness feel utterly contrived. The same went for Raynard, actually, even though he's not supposed to be naive.

3) Whips: bother me when they are not acknowledged as being extreme. If someone longs to be whipped, they are longing for extreme pain, not just submission. But that's only because I can't imagine how (or why) someone would use a whip in a gentle way. There are lots of toys for that. So, take that as a failure of my imagination, if you will.

4) The sex was not hot for me. Ori was not a man to me, and I do not find sex between an adult and a childlike man sexy. The sharing of fluids was nice, and there were occasional images that were spot on, but mostly, it was...meh. YMMV. The main problem was all the naming going on, distracting me. And the sanitized nature of it all (men without body hair, although it can make sense since they're not human, I don't particularly enjoy it, because it just feels unrealistic).

Okay, I'm tired. I regret reading this. The idea was good, but not worth it for me. Hard-core yaoi fans (and others who prefer their men a bit womanish) who don't mind unprofessional writing, and enjoy D/S, should enjoy this. If the same things bother you that bother me, I can say it was not apparent from the 10% sample I downloaded that it would be as bad as it was. In the beginning, I was intrigued, but by 1/3rd of the way through, I wanted my money back. I only finished it so I could review it fairly.
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