Thursday, July 4, 2013

Hers To Command - A Book Review in Two Parts


I'm a diverse reader: my bookshelves are a hodgepodge of works ranging from literary fiction, biographies, historical fiction, mysteries, thrillers, horror, paranormal, humor, history, romance (mostly Jane Austin), and - of course - tonnes and tonnes of scifi, fantasy and my new love: steampunk. What I don't have on my shelves is erotica. Nope. Not a smidge. I'm not a prude but it just didn't seem to ever cross my path until about a year ago when a friend of mine and I were in our cups. When I confessed I hadn't ever read any she gave me a copy of a certain very popular book another friend of mine had once called "TwiPorn."  I blearily thought, "I like vampires," and took the book.

After I sobered up, I cracked it open and read one random chapter. When I recovered from the shock of there not being a fang in sight, I was horrified by what my friend had recommended I read.  At best I could call it the worst example of sophmoronic drivel I had ever read.  Cliché-rich and repetitive writing, and an unbelievably ridiculous story premise made me want to use a fruit spoon to scrub the memory of E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Meh from my brain.  Sadly, I don't think even that would have worked.  What really cracked my brainpan was that I could be so put off by one short mid-book chapter (presumably easier to like because the typical back story info-dump is over) and yet she has made a ridiculous amount of money off her book...I mean books. Yes, sadly there is more than one book in that heinous series.

Colour me Fifty Shades of WTF!

So after this near miss with a surgical fruit spoon, I gave up on erotica.  I figured I had finally met my literary Kryptonite because if that was the best erotica had to offer, I was tapping out. There was simply no way I could read it.

It turns out I was wrong - very, very wrong.

And now, on to the part you've all come here for: The Review

A couple of weeks back, there was a call for readers to provide honest reviews of a book by Patricia A. Knight, HERS TO COMMAND and I was happy to throw my hat in the ring for the chance to read something new.  I will admit, before I began to read I was nervous but cautiously optimistic.  I follow Patricia  Knight on Twitter and, despite the 140 character per Tweet limit, she's obviously someone who knows her way around the English language so I thought it unlikely that her book was going to force me to make a run for the flatware.  On the other hand, her book bridged one of my favourite genres with one I had recently decided I hated with the flaming passion of a thousand suns (see above). Happily, after reading less than a chapter I was already thoroughly enjoying this steamy scifi and my initial reservations were long forgotten.

I don't want to ruin the fun of discovery for those who haven't yet read this book but I'll give a brief general overview: when the book begins there are three people living on the embattled planet Verdantia who don't yet know it but who are destined to be together for love, for lust and to save their entire (semi-sentient) world.  Hers to Command is about Fleur, Ari, and Doral - three complex and strong yet realistically flawed heroes with complicated pasts who weren't immune to anxiety or self-doubt as they tried to build a strong polyamorous relationship while knowing the survival of their people and their living planet depended on their ability to do so.  No pressure there, right?

I thought the planet Verdantia and its people were well developed and the creative story premise gave clear reasons behind the early sex between near strangers so it didn't feel gratuitous or contrived.  The author also managed to skilfully balance the various story elements while still presenting a very sexy scifi so there was never a cheesy boomchickawrowwrow vibe or a point where the reader would be left wondering what happened to the story's spice. I also really liked that as the story progressed, the relationships between the characters deepened and their sexual encounters reflected that change, adding a whole new layer to the experience for them and for me as the reader.

All in all, this was a white hot supernova of an erotic scifi. The story was a good one and Patricia Knight's writing didn't disappoint. Would I recommend this book to everyone? Well let's just say I'm not giving it my granny for Christmas this year (her loss) but if you're up for a scifi with a smart and sexy MFM twist, this is definitely for you.  I think it also says a lot that this book made me reconsider a pretty strong bias against a whole genre (quite a feat!).

HERS TO COMMAND gets an enthusiastic 5 stars out of 5 from me.

1 comment:

  1. Desperately relieved I didn't induce another flatware encounter. *smiles* I'm saving this hilariously entertaining review for my memoirs.