Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Charade by Sabrina Luna

TITLE: Charade
AUTHOR: Sabrina Luna
PUBLISHER: Sugar and Spice Press
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 20k)
GENRE: Contemporary BDSM erotica
COST: $3.99

It’s an arrangement between a Dom and a sub, a chance for Dixie to learn what submission is all about. But when her Dom’s brother arrives for a short visit, she learns even more about what it means to submit…

For erotica to work, it needs to do one of three things (though preferably all of them) – engage the mind because the prose is beautiful, engage the senses with the erotic imagery, or engage the heart with the emotions. Most erotic fiction fails for me because it doesn’t meet any of these criteria. This short novella was no different.

There’s not much to this. Told in 1st person from the female sub’s POV, it’s basically escapade after escapade of Dixie submitting in some fashion to her Dom, Mitchell. His brother arrives for a short visit, and gets to take part. Supposedly, he also offers insight into their relationship she wouldn’t otherwise have, then he takes off. Simple. Direct. To the point.

And it doesn’t work. The prose itself is unassuming, bordering on the amateurish side (Why on earth is there the need to refer to the hero by his full name after he’s been introduced and you’ve spent the last thirty pages only calling him by his first name? Answer: There isn’t.), and while I’ve definitely read worse in this genre, it failed to engage me either viscerally or intellectually. The characters aren’t people. They’re shells performing these parts. I know nothing about the kind of people Dixie and Mitchell are except in the very shallowest sense. Alex (the brother) isn’t much better, though the fact he actually gets to have a conversation and reactions that don’t involve either Dixie or Mitchell affords him a tad more depth. But only a tad.

These issues might not necessary be problems if it was hot, but it’s just not. Dixie acts like the things they’re doing, the lessons she’s learning from Mitchell are so very forbidden, but anybody who’s read even a couple D/s stories will find little fresh or dangerous in these scenes. She’s late for dinner once, he spanks her. He has her masturbate in public. They have anal sex. Perhaps if the characters were more fully fleshed, or if the prose itself was more sophisticated, this wouldn’t seem so humdrum, but that’s not the case. It’s boring.

And if even the sex is boring in a piece of erotica…I just can’t recommend this with any sense of good conscience. I would have got more pleasure from the nice coffee I could have bought for the cost of this.


6/10 – Unassuming and forgettable, though at least it’s relatively clean


3/10 – An enigma, but then that’s because he’s an enigma to the 1st person heroine


4/10 – Personality-less, a vehicle for the sexual escapades

Entertainment value

3/10 – Boring and forgettable

World building

4/10 – Little attempt to give depth to anything but the sex



No comments: