Friday, 8 April 2011

Book Review: Slave by Cheryl Brooks

Slave (The Cat Star Chronicles)Title: Slave
Author: Cheryl Brooks
Series: Book #1 in the Cat Star Chronicles
Number of Pages: 314 pages
Release Date: 1 April 2008
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Source: free Kindle download
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Kindle Store

Grade: 2.5 stars

Novellus malus!

Goodreads appetizer: "I found him in the slave market on Orpheseus Prime, and even on such a god-forsaken planet as that one, their treatment of him seemed extreme."

He may be the last of a species whose sexual talents were the envy of the galaxy.

Cat is an enslaved warrior from a race with a feline gene that gives him awesome beauty, fearsome strength, and sensuality and sexual prowess unmatched by any other males in the universe. Even filthy, chained, and beaten, he gives off an aura of power and virility and his feline gene gives him a special aura.

Jacinth is an intergalactic trader on a rescue mission and she needs a man she can trust with her life.

She has spent years pursuing her kidnapped sister from planet to planet. Now her quest leads her to a place where all the women are slaves. "Jack" needs a slave of her own-one who can masquerade as her master.

Enmeshed in a tangle of deception, lust, and love, they must elude a race of violent killers and together forge a bond stronger than any chains.

My thoughts: Slave is a whole length sci-fi erotica novel. It was a quick read and I have to say I thought Cheryl Brooks' worldbuilding was great: she created different alien and animal species on the various planets with typical facial and physical traits as well as characteristics, strengths and weaknesses. The description of these beings and the surroundings were detailed and descriptive enough for the reader to picture them quite easily.

My problem was the characterization which was flat and not well developed.

I found the heroine Jack one dimensional and inconsistent: at first she is a cynical, independent, capable woman in charge then quite suddenly - and without much transition - she becomes a sappy, starry eyed teenager girl in love, forgetting everything (the rescue of her sister from slavery!) to just stare at her lovely Cat and spend all day and night having sex. (Jack and Cat's constant love declarations to each other in the last third of the novel were way too syrupy for me.) Also the heroine's inner monologues were tiresome: they went on and on for pages while the hero was waiting for an answer to his question!

Then the problem of the hero: it felt as if there was no real hero: he was there but didn't speak much, do much, was just there to be the irresistible eye candy. Which is a yummy place start with if he had been given some substance. But unfortunately he didn't have too much going on for him: he had charisma and a brain constantly focused on sex. 

Though especially with aliens in the mix I can accept that sex gets a bit unusual, but there was a scene which I found was distasteful and left me queasy: the hero and heroine are in a restaurant and since sharp, big noses are uncommon on that planet, the locals find the heroine's nose fascinating and stare at her. They approach their table and ask the hero for permission to touch the heroine's nose, which he grants, but then, not only does the man touch it with his penis, but jacks off on her nose! And all the male in the restaurant stand in line to do so with the blessing of the hero! WTF?

Verdict: Slave was an ok read, though it showed potential and could have been better. Cheryl Brooks' ideas and worldbuilding was the strongest part of the novel, and I have to say I enjoyed her easily imaginable picture-writing when it came to the different planets and species. However, the characterization was flat and practically nonexistant, and Slave could have also done with some editing.

Despite these I believe that Cheryl Brooks is a sci-fi author worth checking out and I'll give a chance to her later novels to see if they got better. 

Plot: 6/10
Characters: 5/10
Ending: 7/10
Writing: 6/10
Cover: 8/10

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