When Trent Evans describes his latest book as a "dark capture fantasy with intense and explicit sex," believe him.
Taking the Human was my reward for finishing my own book. I'm trying to read more books by fellow authors, something I never seem to find time to do. I've also been wanting to do more blog reviews, since I love talking about what I read.
I finished Trent's 70K word book in two days. I spent the next three thinking about what I wanted to say about it.
It wasn't because I didn't like it. I did. The plot is solid: a female astronomer named Alisse is abducted by an alien who's been secretly observing her. The alien, Lukanos, is All Male — the stuff of female fantasies. He's large and strong and virile, with the size and sexual appetite to back up his proclivities.
He's also something of a rebel, having violated his superiors' directive by abducting a human. What follows is political intrigue in which the reader is left wondering whom to trust. There's also sex and punishment. LOTS of sex and punishment. And this is where Trent's book fulfills a description that should be writ large in flashing letters.
I write dark erotica. Or I thought I did. But I think what I may be writing is dark erotica with an airbag. Just when the sex and punishment in my books edges towards brutality, I provide a cushion for the reader. In my books, the woman is so turned on that all the things we'd expect to happen when we are whipped or take a giant alien cock up the ass are glossed over by her arousal. Yes, there's some pain; such scenes would be unrealistic without it. But I don't delve into the raw mechanics of the act in the gritty manner that Trent Evans does.
Trent Evans provides no airbag. I hit Trent's Sex and Punishment Wall going about eighty and found myself perversely fascinated by the realistic descriptions that went on and on. Lukanos is determined to train Alisse, and he's not all that worried about how much it hurts her. She's whipped and fucked and even though she gets turned on in spite of herself, the natural lubrication of arousal does not spare her the very real physical affects that are described in gloriously excruciating detail.
Some may wonder if that is a good thing. I suppose that really depends on what you like. If you like escapist fantasy that has you squirming from empathy, you'll love it. If you prefer soft romance that treats the act of hardcore sex with a eight-foot tall humanoid as something a woman could easily handle, then you may find this book to be a bit much.
I happened to like it, but I liked it because it pushed the boundaries. That's what books should do. They should take you outside your comfort zone. Alisse is taken outside of her comfort zone, and so is Lukanos as he uncovers dark secrets about the human slave trade on his planets. He develops feelings for Alisse, but at no point do those feelings erode the visceral treatment that makes Lukanos so realistically alien. Don't expect this hero to become humanized. He is not human. His sexual interaction with Alisse is part of his culture, and ultimately she sacrifices all that is comfortable and easy to handle (sexually and otherwise) to stand by his side.
This is a book I recommend for the brave reader, or for the reader wanting to test her bravery. It left me breathless, and thinking that I need to up my game if I'm ever going to describe another of my own books as "dark erotica."
For Alisse Southwick, the problem wasn't just the musclebound 8 foot tall alien who'd taken her from everything she'd ever known. No, the problem was she was seriously contemplating trading the knowledge that unlocked the secrets of the universe, in exchange for her freedom — sexual and otherwise. She was a woman of science, yes, but why did the alien holding her captive have to look like something out of her darkest wet dreams?
From the moment he'd set eyes on her, Lukanos knew only one thing: he had to have her. But there was one minor problem — she was a human. To even show himself to a human — let alone abducting one — was against every law of his people. But each time he looked at her, those sparkling, keen eyes, the long, sable hair, and the lush, shapely body human females were notorious — and celebrated — for, his resolve to follow the law, to obey his people's sacred Directive, was in serious danger of crumbling. He knew he wasn’t supposed to want her — but he knew somehow, someway, she would be his — whether she was ready for it or not.
Taking a human being was much more than an abduction though — it was a taboo act. Fearing he'd lose more than his commission in the Survey Corps, Lukanos quickly learned he was far from the only one of his people obsessed with human females. He wasn't the only one keeping a female slave.
The repercussions for capturing humans were serious, but Lukanos was prepared to endure them. He'd endure almost anything to make the gorgeous human his, in every way.
But what's a captor supposed to do when he begins to fall for his captive? Does he keep her as the only thing she'll ever be on his world — a sexual plaything?
Or must he — for the first time in his life — do the right thing?
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Ava Sinclair is a bestselling author of multi-genre erotic romance. Her latest book, Conquering the Queen, was released earlier this month. Her Web site is www.avasinclairauthor.com and you can find her on Twitter @AuthoringAva