Monday, May 10, 2010

Necessary Madness by Lisabet Sarai

TITLE: Necessary Madness
AUTHOR: Lisabet Sarai
PUBLISHER: Total-e-bound
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 47k)
GENRE: Paranormal gay erotic romance
COST: ₤2.99

Kyle has been plagued by the violence of his precognitive visions since puberty, driving him in and out of psych wards, on and off the streets. When Sergeant Rob Murphy finds him, he’s moved both by how fragile the young man is and by how attractive he is. He offers his help, but when he learns the nature of Kyle’s abilities, he attempts to put some distance between them. Lucky for Kyle, it doesn’t work, especially since Rob is probably the one man in the world who could understand…

I bought this book both because the premise intrigued me and because I wondered if I was too harsh with the first story I read by this author. I had a rather negative reaction to it, so I hoped that it was a one-off. Unfortunately, the issues I had with this short novel, though different, proved that this author is likely not for me.

It starts out well enough. Kyle is young, highly tormented, and seeking any kind of relief. He’s very sympathetic, and Rob’s dedication to help him admirable. However, as we learn to more about Rob, my misgivings grew. His position of power, as well as his age, cast him into a caretaker, and it feels a little creepy seeing him lust so fervently for Kyle, especially since Kyle is the last person to effectively gauge his own well-being. That falls completely on its face when it comes to the first sex scene. Kyle woke up from a nightmare, Rob walked in to see what was wrong wearing only his underwear, then, when Rob asks if there’s anything he can do to help, Kyle asks him to climb under the covers and hold him. And of course, he’s been sleeping naked. It’s such an obvious porn set-up that I rolled my eyes. It's unsubtle, and a little insulting in how blatant it is. This is the point the story lost me, and the writing in the sex scenes kept me from ever getting back in.

The problem is prose like this: Rob’s cock throbbed in his hand like a juicy heart. and At the same time, he squeezed a line of lube down the length of his cock, like mustard onto a hotdog… The author also has a propensity to use the word bowels during anal sex scenes, like …Rob exploded in Kyle’s bowels. It’s not sexy, and when there are so many sex scenes, it’s a killer for the mood. It's not just limited to obvious erotic text, but I won't complain about Kyle asking Rob to let him ease his pain. I've probably seen Field of Dreams more times than a lot of people.

The paranormal aspects help to maintain interest until the end, but it’s just not enough to counter the uncomfortable characterizations and the unsexy erotic scenes.


6/10 – Too many things pulled me out of a good flow, including homonym misusage, bad imagery, and erotic terminology that turned me off

Hero #1

6/10 – Though sweet, he seemed so badly damaged that it was hard to buy the “sex will fix everything” switch

Hero #2

5/10 – Considering how damaged Kyle was, and the age difference/power differential, I found it incredibly difficult to support his decision to pursue a relationship

Entertainment value

4/10 – Between my problems with the relationship and the sex scenes, I’m almost surprised I finished it.

World building

7/10 – Interesting elements, but none of it was explored to any measure of satisfaction




Kassa said...

I'm a long time lurker but I had to comment on this. I had this in my "to be read immediately" file and almost picked it up this weekend. Unfortunately after your review, I think I'll put it in the no thanks.

Your examples of the erotica language turn me right off. I hate prose like "chute" or "bowels" or the like because it reminds of well the *other* action happening back there and nothing sexy about that.

Great review and you really helped me make a choice on this one.

Book Utopia Mom said...

There was even more in the sex scenes that I didn't include (like sphincter, repeated reference to the shaft as a stalk, etc.) that convinces me you made the right decision. I'm glad I could help in this case. :)