I have spent the last week under a ton of blankets trying to shake the chills and sleeping off some sneaky poorlies. I wanted to get a good deal of reading and other assorted “life necessities” taken care of before the beginning of October. But alas, the cold hand of illness brought me to my knees and I only read about four books this past week.
My Makin’ the Love Monday selection of this week is one of the Brides of the Kindred novels by Evangeline Anderson, book four, Found. I started reading this series after finding one of the titles on a Listopia lists, Mars Needs Women Trope, which just made me giggle to no end. When I read the first book, Claimed, I was about 70% on board but I had this really horrible problem… I truly HATED the heroine and her sister made me want to eat glass. I really liked the males though, Sylvan who is a main character in the first and the hero of the second–Hunted, is one of my favorites. BUT I hate his HEA too. Then there was Sought… Deep is so yummy–all broken and tortured and his light half and eager to please brother, Lock. But Kat was freaking irritating as all hell. There was this ray of hope… In Sought Lauren is introduced and she is Xairn’s mate for the fourth book, Found, and she is wonderful. How could this possibly go wrong?
Prior to Found, Xairn is introduced in all his messed-up, maladjusted, daddy-issues, big wounded soul self and he is pretty damn intriguing. As son of the ultimate evil, the AllFather, he is the spawn of everything that is wrong with the universe. I think even gray-skinned and red and black-eyed he sounded a thousand times hotter than Baird. Once I heard he wanted you to call him ‘Daddy’ and he liked taking care of bad girls I wanted to know if I could order two of him on Amazon. He’s one of those tortured souls that you just want to see find some sort of freedom and some kind of happiness. When Lauren and Xairn begin to connect in Sought you get to see more and more of how the Scourge Warrior ticks. I was not only on board, I had paid my admission, packed enough clothes for a lengthy stay and intended to move there once I saw enough of the landscape. But then… Evangeline Anderson made me almost hate Xairn.
So I had to ask myself WTF is happening here? How can I hate a character that I had loved so dearly before? Is it that he is written vastly different? No. Is he a bad character or poorly written? No. Is it that Lauren is so well written that she deserves someone better? Still I came up with a huge no. So I took a good look at Liv, Sophie and Kat and while they bothered me because they didn’t seem to know how the hell to end a vidscreen call or not to disclude someone from an inside joke, I found that alone they aren’t actually enough to make me drink bleach. What was it that was burning my toast for four books straight?
I read in a forward to one of Albert Camus’ books in high school that Man only has one story to tell and he tells that story over and over and over again. Well Evangeline Anderson has incredible variety of Kindred in her novels. She has managed to distinguish between the females and the personalities of twins and I give her kudos for skillfully varying the sexual appetites of each of the kind of warriors. Incredibly inventive. Where the redundancy and frustration comes is that in all FOUR books the same mechanic is used within the relationship. One person is deeply in love and wants to consummate or be with the other (Liv, Sophie, Kat & Xairn) deny and resist. Perhaps if it were a different sort of resistance in each story it might not be so monotonous but in essence each love story is about pursuit and chase. And in my opinion, the ultimate surrender of each of those hold-out parties was underwhelming.
Xairn is a compelling and intriguing dark character. It is alluded to throughout the book that he has all these dark urges. For him to not only deny these cravings they entire book, but to give such an abbreviated pay out at the end is almost criminal. It’s the equivalent of short changing your best customers. It doesn’t matter if you make a new dish every night of the year if you won’t let me eat it until you feel like I’m hungry.
When I began reading these books I firmly shelved them in the sci-fi category but I do feel that these books are really more of a space fantasy or perhaps even a future fantasy. Pure sci-fi lovers may find these books rather difficult to stomach as they contain little explanation of techie advancements and innovations. The amazing animals that dry them off and become dresses for them and whatever else, as innovative as they are really are more fantastical than innovation and even the pregnancy test with it’s blooming flower sounds a great deal more like a faery gift than an alien invention.
As far as being erotica, I can’t deny that they are erotica but I am going to say that despite the occasional risky business of some backdoor action and some dirty talk (which might just be what Evangeline Anderson is best at) these books really don’t sizzle enough for me to put one of my stamps of “TOO HOT TO HANDLE” stamps on it. Even when things get inventive and there is a, “two poles in one hole” or DP, which would make me be like, “woahwoahwoah, erotica here we come…” She provides a mystical solution to make it sound less erotic, less dirty and in a lot of ways, less sexy. Two poles in one hole when they merge into one is called one pole in one hole. Not to mention that one of the characters is angry about being turned on through 80% of the book and it just feels a lot less hot that way.
I do have to reiterate that Evangeline Anderson really does an amazing job of creating very unique Kindred Species Warriors for each new book. I really enjoy a lot of different sci-fi and fantasy series and when they have something of this sort they tend to introduce two, maybe three varieties and from that point they create varying situations rather than varying of species. What Evangeline Anderson is doing is very interesting but I can’t help but wonder if it will only convolute the remain sci-fi elements that the series has now. It’s nice that we can count on a new sexual proclivity with every book but I’d really like it if more development was done with the relationships instead of the polarizing of desires.
The other thing I think could use a good deal of work is the idea of the Mothership as a commune. As everyone has married and mated they have all found themselves hanging out eating disgusting things with a pregnant Liv while Sophie groans about her cravings and Kat grosses her out. Are Joey, Ross and Chandler going to be bringing take-out over for Phoebe, Rachel and Monica tonight or should someone call for delivery?
There are four more books published in this series at this time: Revealed, Pursued, Exiled and Shadowed. Evangeline Anderson has four other series entitled: The Assignment, Born to Darkness, Dangerous Cravings, Pure and Tainted, and Swann Sister Chronicles.