Sunday, 7 October 2007

Megan's Mark by Lora Leigh

This book caught me completely by surprise.

I knew nothing about the author and thought I was reading just another standard issue paranormal.

Until about half-way through when the true nature of the story was revealed. Basically it’s smut. Not pink or purple either. A solid blue. Fine.

What I don’t get at all is the cultural arena in which it is set. Something like native american via the mengele labs in the third reich death camps with a bit if IVF-ism thrown into the mix. I’m still shaking my head in mystification.

However since I absolutely loved The Odessa File which I read years ago and which unfortunately spawned absolutely no clones, I’ll stick with the series for a little while.

Btw. For those who don’t know. All feral cats have barbs.

This paranormal romance is so obviously based on the administrative practises (and malpractises) of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. So why on earth keep using the ‘Breed’ word throughout the novel? This word has surely got to be as highly emotive to Native Americans as the n-word is to African Americans. During the first half of the story there are many things the human heroine says to the hero that could be interpreted as offensive casual racism and very hurtful.

The world building itself isn’t particularly robust. I had to read and re-read the first couple of chapters to get any idea of what was going on. I still don’t know if The Council is a government organisation or just a bunch of renegade scientists. I didn’t like the fact that some of the non-humans (Coyotes) were obviously being harshly ‘questioned’ by the good guys. If they had experienced the same up-bringing as the hero then they deserved better. Give them their freedom far away from whips and pain and they would soon co-operate.

Also the ‘shields’ business didn’t make sense. Because of a lack of them, the empathic heroine, Megan has to live away from people so that she isn’t overwhelmed by their emotions. Then the hero, Braden gives her his shields to use. How come he has shields if he is not an empath? And suddenly in the canyon towards the end of the book Megan is lowering her own shields in order to find out who murdered Mark and Aimee. So she does have shields after all! All very confusing. And then astoundingly. In the final shoot-out scene the heroine doesn't recognise the thoughts or even the looks of her own uncle. That is just crazy nonsense.

Sanctuary sounds like a complete nightmare. And the way both the hero and heroine submit to the doctor's tests is just plain stupid.

The hero and all his kind are not born but created in labs from a mixture of human and animal DNA. They are treated abominably by the people who created them; tortured mentally and physically for years on end. Yet the hero is not twisted or bitter. (Though he is understandably a little vengeful) He is not afraid to love and is generally highly respectful to the heroine.

He gives one of the best ‘please love me’ speeches I have ever read in a paranormal to the heroine;

“Feel it, Megan. Feel what I know. My soul would die without yours to fill it. Without you to hold me close in the darkness of the night; without your laughter to bring the light into the darkness that has filled every day of my life for as long as I have drawn breath. For the first time in my life I am alive. I live because of you and the thought of going back to the desolation of being alone scares me to death.”

And it is to the heroine’s credit that she does actually hold out for a bit longer.

Also increasingly as the novel progressed, I began to feel the tragedy of the dead couple, Mark and Aimee. That did surprise me. Although the mystery of why they sought out the heroine at great risk to their own lives was not satisfactorily explained.

Rude, rude, rude.

Both the hero and heroine talk and think dirty with a capital D for large parts of the novel. Until eventually they consummate their emotions…repeatedly. The c-word is hardly used. What is used over and over again is the p-word, the cl-word and the f-word. And the words juices, creamed and suck. All to excellent erotic effects. Even the passage where the hero offers the heroine a contraceptive pill I considered very erotic. I feel obliged to add that the hero really does have something special in his pants. The anal scene is very well done although was the spanking really necessary?

Just for once I was quite grateful when the author obviously began laying the groundwork for the other novels in the series. It made for a welcome break in all the intense emotions.

But none of the good things about this novel can disguise the fact that at the end of the day it is utter sheer bad taste trash that often made me cringe. (Think 'Springtime for Hitler' in The Producers.)

On the other hand I would say its 'an unmissable reading experience' if you're a reader who's traveled along the series romance path. You might be shocked though.

At the end of reading this I have decided the following: I'm definitely never again going to bother with the anaemic miserable rubbish of the BDB. Megan and Braden are never anything but happy when they are banging away. Bless them both.

p.s. I need to add that this is a 'Mating' novel. And all other parts of the plot are eventually jettisoned in order to explain and illustrate this aspect of the story. I did a bit of research on the author. Although this is Book 1 in a series by her present publisher, in fact there are 6 previous novels in the series with a different publisher and they are all to do with breeding and mating. I suppose I'll be reading most of them.

The ending to the novel is somewhat weak. Not that the main couple don't have a HEA but that the author makes it so obvious they are just another insignificant pair in her pantheon of characters. As a reader I appreciate an author's skill in making her hero and heroine seem special up to the very last page or so.

And who was the female Breed traitor? The doctor from Sanctuary? Or Aimee? (Am I hooked or what?)

Boy! This review never ends.

I repeat though. This novel is quite different from all the others in my blog. Other reviewers call it 'Hot' but it's basically straight up heterosexual monogamous smut. Set in a highly dubious moral and cultural arena. You have been warned!

I almost admire the author. Takes guts to write stuff like this. And so much of it too.

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