Monday, February 21, 2011

Blood Lust by assorted authors

TITLE: Blood Lust
AUTHORS: J.P Bowie, Amber Green, & L. Picaro
LENGTH: Anthology (roughly 62k)
GENRE: Paranormal gay erotic romance
COST: $6.99

A collection of three erotic paranormal novellas, each about a gay romance with a vampire involved…

I bought this anthology in August 2009, but then buried it in my TBR pile because I’d decided J.P. Bowie’s voice was just not for me after reading other works by him. When scanning through my pile recently, I decided to give it another chance, since I fully understand readers and reading tastes can change over time and because I’ve seen other readers extol Bowie’s work in that time period. After reading this anthology, however, I probably should have shelved it permanently.

The anthology starts out with Amber Green’s “More Than Memories.” This is the story of a ghost named Dick who manages to survive by feeding on other people’s memories. He’s attached to a young nerdy man in a museum named Harry, tormenting him by feeding him memories of lewd acts that drive Harry closer and closer to experimenting with his sexuality. Of the three stories, this was the one I had the highest hopes for, as I’ve had the best luck with this author in the past. While it is definitely the most original – with the most creative interpretation of the anthology’s theme – and Green’s voice my favorite by far, Dick’s 1st person perspective makes it incredibly confusing to follow. It’s difficult to tell what is the present – and when the present actually is – and what is Dick’s past, as well as what memories are Dick’s and which are ones he’s stolen to survive. There are glimmers of a smooth story, when the tale sticks long enough in a single scene to add some well needed coherency to its flow, but not nearly enough to compensate for often perplexing narration.

Next comes “Vampire Dreams” by J.P. Bowie. Edward is an author struggling through his latest assignment, a story about a vampire for a publication named Gayfantasia. Unhappy with what he’s done, he goes for a walk to help clear his head and perhaps find some focus. Instead, he runs into David, a gorgeous Scot who goes home with him. When Edward wakes up the next morning, he’s convinced he had the best erotic dreams ever, but even better, he’s figured out what’s needed to fix his story. But then he meets David again, and realizes none of it was a dream. Though I’ve confirmed his authorial voice doesn’t work for me – I find Bowie a tad too saccharine and idealized for my tastes – his story is by far the most accessible of the three. It’s complete with its romantic flow, and leaves the fewest number of questions unanswered about its particular world. There’s little original about it, however, so it’s a trade-off. When the other two stories in the anthology are this unsatisfying, it was probably a worthwhile one.

Finishing up the anthology is “Blood Lust” by L. Picaro. Set in a futuristic society, Noah is out with his friend Anne when she disappears on him. He’s convinced she’s been attacked or kidnapped by vampires, and becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to her. His search leads him into the path of Russian vampire, Adrian Staritsky, who is in the middle of his own search. They decide to join forces, but other vampires within the city have different ideas for them. This was yet another story where the authorial voice did nothing for me. My primary problems with it rest with word choices, like comparing an anus’s response to a flower opening in the sun. Little thought is given to explaining the world in which this is set, either, though at the story’s end I wondered if its cliffhanger ending meant that it was a prequel to another work. If it is, it completely failed to interest or attract me as a reader, because it left me bewildered and very dissatisfied with its conclusion. Some readers would probably appreciate being warned that this story also has multiple erotic scenes that include both het and lesbian sex. Since some m/m readers would prefer to avoid those, it merits mentioning.

Probably the only thing reading this anthology did for me was confirm I’m not a fan of Bowie’s voice. I’m glad I gave him another chance, though.


7/10 – Mostly clean, but two of the stories suffer from inadequate exposition


6/10 – Only the second comes anywhere close to delivering


6/10 – Problems with each of them leaves a lot of the characters a tad flat, though not always uninteresting

Entertainment value

3/10 – Really not my cup of tea

World building

6/10 – Attempts are made to make two of these unique, but lack of expositional detail and muddied execution means they are only tries, not achievements



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