Jane Stewart's Reviews > Olivia

Olivia by R. Lee Smith
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's review
Jan 17, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: erotic-paranormal-fict-with-romance

4 stars for the first 75%. 2 stars for the rest. The ending was untidy and not complete. This is a very long book, like reading four to six books.

The gullan are cave dwelling bat creatures They had no offspring for 30 years due to reproductive problems caused by disease. They will die off if they don’t get healthy new DNA into their offspring. So they kidnap seventeen human women for breeding.

The life style is caveman style. Their food is strange hard bread, fruits, roots, and meat from hunts with spears and traps. They make soap and candles from animal wax. They make tools from metal. Their bedding and clothes consist of items stolen from nearby human campers and towns.

This cannot be easily described with one genre label. It starts off as paranormal fiction, with almost a bestiality feeling of bat creatures taking human females prisoner for breeding. Some women react with horror at the forced sex. It then has romance but not the typical one mate for life. Olivia has one mate for part of the story and other mates later. Warm feelings and pleasant sexual experiences occur for some humans who form bonds with their bat mates. But these did not have the intense feelings of “I love you forever” that romance novels provide. They are more of a caring companion feeling. There might have been more loving bonds among secondary characters, but if so, the author didn’t go into those much. The best part is the interesting paranormal world. Also very good is the wide variety of interesting characters. The last segment of the book is a story set within the spirit-god world. This felt like mythology with conflicts among a god and goddesses and how they influenced lives and events for the mortal bat creatures and humans. Here sex is used in a strange and painful way, not for reproduction or pleasure.

I liked it. It’s different, and that’s why. But I did not like the ending. I didn’t know what happened to the male at the end. I didn’t know where Olivia was going, what she would do, or what abilities she had. I also wanted more details about the success or resolution (if any) for the gullan reproductive problems.

If you’re in the mood for suspense and action, this is not for you. Most of the story is about relationships and interesting things happening among characters and learning about their community. There’s some mystery which is wondering what will happen to various characters and the offspring problem. The first 75% was enjoyable. It was humans and bat creatures together. It made me think about what is missing from many typical paranormal romances. (They don’t bring in this amount of creativity and originality.) But the last 25% wasn’t as good, and at times I wanted that part to be over. That was the story about the god and goddesses. It was odd. I like the author doing odd things, but that part just didn’t hold my interest. It would have been better if I were in the heads of the gods. I wanted to understand their feelings and motivations better. I’d suggest changing and shortening that part. Although I was intrigued with some of the ideas, especially the goddess who connects with mortals through water. Water is everywhere around us and in us. We drink it. We are made of it.

I’m used to paranormal romances having passionate sex scenes between creatures and humans. But when it happens in this book, at first it has a bestiality feeling. It’s freaky. The gullan males are up to 6 feet tall, with broad black horns going up another foot, covered in sleek dark fur, talons on their three toes with a declaw on each ankle. The mouth is snoutish shaped. Later the sex scenes turn more pleasant. There is a lot of sex in this book. Sex scenes include rape. Two scenes include rear door activity and menage a trois - MWM.

The first chapter is a great example for authors as to how to create drama, emotion, mystery, fear, and horror as monsters are kidnaping humans. After that the focus is characters. I enjoyed the variety of personalities among the women and bat creatures. I felt the leader’s anguish over decisions he had to make. He hadn’t sought the position of leader. I found him interesting to watch. He made hard choices showing strength, but low on compassion. Cheyenne a human was a terror to her compassionate mate and others. I admired the leader who was the only one who could control her through fear. He threatened her and did something bad to her. Normally I don’t want to see a man abuse a woman, but here I saw her more as an evildoer who needed to be stopped. In her defense she was an unwilling prisoner who would never give up. But she was hateful and cruel to others, both humans and bat creatures.

I was intrigued with how Olivia adapted and her actions. She wasn’t a typical heroine. Some might find her bland, but I found her different. I liked her morality. She embodied compassion and forgiveness. At first, I didn’t like the way she avoided conflict and confrontation, but later I didn’t mind so much. Initially I didn’t like that she never told on anyone when she saw wrong doings. Later I decided I was glad she didn’t tell. I liked the scene in which someone felt Olivia had a connection with a spirit-god and asked her to pray for food. So she did, not expecting anything, and then was shocked when it worked.

This is a very long book, about the length of four to six books. Don’t expect to be done quickly. I think too many publishers force authors to shorten or lengthen their work to fit 300 to 350 pages. I like the idea of ebooks with no length requirements. I say let the author keep going until the story is done..

Kindle count story length: 21,015 (1,534 KB). Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: strong/erotic. Number of sex scenes: at least 41. Setting: current day mostly northwest US and Canada. Copyright: 2009. Genre: erotic paranormal fiction with romance. Ending: mostly good but incomplete and unfinished.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 17, 2012 – Shelved
January 17, 2012 – Shelved as: erotic-paranormal-fict-with-romance
January 17, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

So what's the verdict? Would you recommend reading it? I'd avoided this one because I read another review over on Amazon that made me think the ending might be the apple that spoils the barrel.

Jane Stewart Mlle. wrote: "So what's the verdict? Would you recommend reading it? I'd avoided this one because I read another review over on Amazon that made me think the ending might be the apple that spoils the barrel."

Oh gosh. You have zeroed in on my biggest problem with this book. I don’t know whether to recommend it or not. I was hoping that by giving it 4 stars, people would consider it and read my review and other reviews to make up their own minds. But apparently you’ve read the review and still don’t know. I gave it 4 stars because there is a lot in there that is creative and different. But I think the whole package needs to be changed to make it good for more people.

I guess I would say if nothing appeals to you in the review, then don’t read it. After reading Heat, I wanted to try more to see what she’s all about. I’ll be doing the first book in the Arcadia series soon. I value her talent. Maybe she needs some editing influence.

Thanks Mlle.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Well, I read the sample for this one and thought, "Um...I dunno," and it seems like you managed to read the whole book and end up in the same place. I think you put it well when you say you value her talent. I feel the same way, I think she writes so well and doesn't pull her punches, but I'm still not ready to pull the trigger on this book.

There's a downside to the fact that her books are so long and so intense, I guess - I need to moderate my consumption.

The bestiality stuff is worse in the Arcadia books, btw. The main character's main love interest is a minotaur.

Jane Stewart LOL... I love your phrase “Um...I dunno.” That really fits. Now I’m second guessing myself. Do you think I should change it from 4 stars to 3 stars? Would that be helpful to readers? I don’t want to mislead, since I guess I’m not recommending it.

BTW thanks for the bestiality warning for Arcadia. I’m looking forward to it - you know, the weirdness and all.

message 5: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael I wonder if anyone has asked Robin about a sequel to tidy things up?

Jane Stewart Michael,
Oh I wish. But I’m not holding my breath. How about Stephen King? It’s common knowledge that he has many weak endings. But I haven’t known him to redo and republish anything. He could make some good stuff into great stuff! (Or great stuff into greater.) Oh I wish.
Thanks Michael.

message 7: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael Jane wrote: "Michael,
Oh I wish. But I’m not holding my breath. How about Stephen King? It’s common knowledge that he has many weak endings. But I haven’t known him to redo and republish anything. He could..."


message 8: by Michael (new) - added it

Michael You are absolutely 100% correct. LOL

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