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Amalthia's Novel Reviews

To recommend a novel please email me at amalthia@slashcity.com

Disclaimer: These novels mainly deal with m/m angst, but some stories may have m/f. I copied all the quotes from the back of the books they belong to.

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Mas-Zine
Various Authors

Main Angst: Mas-Zine specializes in angsty stories, therefore each story has it's own form of male rape, some torture, and other psychological abuse. If you like stories that have these elements in them then this is the Zine for you.

Review:  I've never written a review for a Zine before but when Bluegreen wrote and asked me to review Mas-Zine I agreed for the sheer chance of reading some free stories.  So here are my credentials.... I've been collecting and reading stories with rape themes for over five years, I've read the good, the bad, and the ugly. I consider myself a critical reader, however occasionally I'll run across stories where I know they aren't very good but I like them anyway. I can appreciate some stories because I liked the concept, the writing style, the characters, and occasionally I can forgive grammatical weirdness if everything else flows well together. What this means is I think I can give a fair and accurate assessment as to whether or not a story is worth reading. And I hope I'm able to give adequate reasoning as to why you should read or should not read the stories I'm going to review.

One last note before I get to the reviewing. What I like about Zines and published works is the care and editing that goes into the stories, Mas-Zine is no exception. The quality of the stories I had the privilege of reading was exceptional especially for the novel sized stories.

***Note***

I avoided quotes in my reviews because I personally hate spoilers and I don't want to give away anything on accident.

******

The highlights of the Mas-Zine are Becca Abbott's, Ai no Kusabi stories Wasteland and Fortress. Both of which are set in the same fan fiction universe. These two are my favorites of the selected stories Bluegreen sent me. I've had the stories about a month now and even during my finals when I should havebeen studying I found myself going back and peeking at my favorite parts and then when I had more time rereading the stories. Her characters are excellent, her tight plotting of the story made it enjoyable from start to finish, the sex in the stories ran the wide spectrum from teasing to hot. At first I didn't think I'd like her sequel to Wasteland, Fortress, because she introduced some original characters but soon I was falling in love with the two new characters, she did such a great job introducing them and keeping my interest in their fates and at the same time weaving a interesting story and reintroducing the characters from Wasteland.

I also had the opportunity to sample a few other stories from the volumes #2 and #3, for those who enjoyed Expulsion in Mas-Zine #2 there is a wonderful conclusion to the story in volume #3. Now truthfully, slave stories aren't really up my ally, they disturb me on all levels. However, as a avid reader I can appreciate the way Remy wove her tale and though mildly disturbed by the content I could not stop reading the story until I finished. Redemption the sequel to Expulsion is much better written and therefore I enjoyed the second half more, I think the author is improving with each story she writes. If you like slave stories then this is the story for you. Though, if you are looking for a loving master/slave relationship you may want to look elsewhere, the story is brutal and doesn't pull it's punches.

Black Feathers is probably the only so-so story in the group. It has an interesting premise but some of the writing was odd, and though it wasn't hard to get into and read, some of the writing jarred me out of the story. This story had some good points and bad ones, I liked the descriptions and that the bad guy almost seemed like he might not be entirely evil, I also liked the good guy, yes he was stereotypical but I'm a sucker for some types of characters. The bad was only at the beginning it was somewhat confusing but once I got past the introduction part of the story and got the action, it worked for me.  Overall, it was okay and I'll read the sequel when and if it comes out.

-Finish-

 


Blending Series
Sharon Green

"They are the five greatest talents on a beleaguered world of magic adepts- and its only hope for salvation. But first Lorand, Rion, Tamrissa, Jovvi, and Vallant must prove themselves to be the Chosen Five of the ancient Prophecies. Which means they must first compete in a series of deadly contests designed to reveal the full scope of their powers..and place them at the center fo a corrupt nobility's lethal schemes."

Main angst: Nobility abuse and torture their children, hince the children/teenagers are insane and cruel. A few attempted rapes, mainly m/f.

Review: I liked the concept of the book, but it does drag on a bit, because she has to describe everyone's trials, and you still get the same impression.


Death to Reach a Star
J. Maris Gagnon

"Death to Reach a Star is an epic tale of the fate of a young Russian count whose life is shaped by personal misfortunes and decided by the forces of history." (Russian Revolution and World War 1)

Main angst: It has rape, torture, incest, and "graphic depictions of both homosexual sex and heterosexual sex."

Review: The story is long, but well worth the read. The best place to find it would be in a library. The book is out of print the last time I checked at local bookstores.


Deverry Series
Katherine Kerr

Reincarnation, magic, and lots of sword fighting.

Main angst: Some minor characters are raped and tortured. One character was abused as a child.

Review: Excellent fantasy series. I highly recommend reading it. I can't say much without ruining the story, but it worth reading twice. A lot of the angst takes place in the first book Daggerspell and its spread throughout the rest of the series. This is one of the few series, where I actually enjoyed every book in it.


Anita Blake Vampire Hunter Series
Laurell K. Hamilton

This is unlike any vampire novel I'd ever read. Make sure you read from the beginning.

Main angst: This series has everything, torture, off screen rape, attempted rape, mental abuse, prostitution and whatever else you can consider angsty.

Review: I can't begin to express just how wonderful these novels are. This is the only series I'd ever read where each book is better than the one before it. This series has everything in it, romance, horror, action, fantasy, and lots of death.


Enticed
Virginia Henley

Something about Irish gyspy girl falling in love with a landowners son. They argue a lot so she marries a man who is gay. (she didn't know this of course) Her married her because her brother is really cute. This is not the main focus of the story.

Main angst: contains non-graphic rape scene (well maybe a little graphic)

Review: I've read a couple hundred romance novels and this is the first one that actually has a m/m rape scene. Overall I think Virginia Henley is a great writer. I've enjoyed all her novels and Enticed is one of my favorites.


Farseer, Liveship Traders, and Tawny Man Trilogy
Robin Hobb

Main angst: m/f rape, child abuse in Liveship Traders, some torture of main characters.

Review: This series is hard to review for me because it's a rather long series, all three are related to each other in some way. I think the reviews at Amazon.com say it best. The best complement I think I can give is that her books are consistantly well written. She doesn't do the shit Robert Jordan had done and expand a series just to make more money. She tells her story and does it in a exciting fashion without drawing it out until no one cares about her characters anymore. The story is both character driven and still has a good plot. :) I'm amazed and awed by her talent.


Flowers in the Attic
V.C. Andrews

Four children are locked away in a big attic so their mother can inherit millions from her dying father.

Main angst: m/f rape

Review: This is one of my all time favorite books. I read it when I was thirteen and for days afterward I couldn't stop thinking about Cathy, Chris, Cory, and Carrie locked away in the attic. This story brought tears to my eyes time and again. I still like this story, years after the first time I read it. Flowers in the Attic does contain incest, but in the context of the story it wasn't a big deal to me. It added more depth to the story.


The Front Runner
Patrica Nell Warren

Closet track coach falls in love with his top runner.

Angst: Minor character (raped and tortured) not graphic. Told as a short explanation.

Review: Great story. I couldn't put it down until I finished reading it. I cried, laughed, and sat on the edge of my chair in anticipation. I ignored the outside world until I finished reading this story.


Last Herald Mage Trilogy
Mercedes Lackey

True love ends in disaster, boy gains magical powers.

Angst: Happens in book three, Magic's Price. Rape. There is also a lot of emotional angst in book one, Magic's Pawn.

Review: I loved this trilogly and I love Vanyel. I think this is the best set of books yet for the Valdemar series.


Vorkosigan Series
Lois Bujold McMasters

"Discharged from the Barrarayan academy after flunking the physical, a discouraged Miles Vorkosigan takes possession of a jumpship and becomes the leader of a mercenary force that expands to a fleet of treasonous proportions."

Angst: mentions of non-con in some of the books. It's really best to just start at the beginning and go from there. m/f non-con is the most common in the series, though not limited to just that category.

Review: This is one of my favorite science fiction series of all time, I'm completely in love with Miles and reading his adventures broght tears to my eyes and made my stomach hurt from laughing, all in the same book. I don't know any other author that can combine, comedy with military space opera, romance, drama, action, and politics. In this universe there is something for everyone.


Seafort Series
David Feintuch

"A hideous accident kills the senior officers of UNS Hibernia leaving a terrified young officer to save three hundred colonists and crew aboard a damaged ship, on a seventeen-month gauntlet to reach the colony of Hope Nation. With no chance rescue or reinforcement, Nicholas Seafort must overcome despair, exhaustion, guilt; he must conquer malfunctions, mutiny, and an alien horror beyond human understanding."

Main angst:Every time the younger officers (midshipmen and cadets) gained too many demerits, they were caned. One of the officers abuses this privilege and makes his crewmate's lives a living hell.

Review: I loved this story and I highly recommend reading the sequel, Challenger's Hope. The rest of the series gets depressing after that, so be warned.


Nightrunner
(Luck in the Shadows, Stalking Darkness, and Traitor's Moon)

Lynn Flewelling

Evil men try to bring dead back to life. A elf and human boy struggle to save their country. Romance and danger ensues. m/m romance. (nothing graphic)

Main Angst: in Stalking Darkness one of the main characters is tortured and almost raped.

Review: I couldn't put the book down. I thought the story was really romantic, and it had just the right amount of adventure, action, magic, and humor. I loved it.


Cat series
(Psion,Catspaw, and Dreamfall)

Joan D. Vinge

"Cat. Homeless orphan, despised outcast, a future street kid with alien eyes and the psychic powers of a god...Without warning, Cat becomes a hunted pawn in a three-sided mind war, and every deadly faction is determined to use him-or destroy him. "

Main angst: Minor torture scene, hints of prostitution, bisexual villain. Catspaw and Dreamfall introduces more angst and info about Cat's past (child abuse mentioned), and more torture for my favorite character. Poor Cat.

Review: This is one of my favorite series. I love Cat. If only he were real. Angst wise, this has a lot, but nothing really graphic until the second book. Most of it has to deal with Cat living on the streets his whole life. It wasn't pretty, and now everyone hates him because he's half alien. Tom Paris fans probably know this situation.


The Still
David Feintuch

The crown prince is a spoiled brat, and he needs all the help he can get to defeat his uncle and claim the thrown that belongs to him.

Main Angst: The prince's best friend is pressured into sex with a man, and the prince has to remain a virgin and stay truthful to use his magic, but he can be with a guy. The prince's best friend punishes the prince to make him start behaving. Truly this prince is a monster.

Review: I sat staring at the book in shock after I finished reading it. I couldn't believe it ended so abruptly. I wanted more, more, and more. As it is the story is a wonderful coming of age tale, and I think anyone who someday wants to work in a leadership position should read this story. It might cheer you up. The story is excellent and it had a few creepy moments. Great fantasy.


Wizard's First Rule
Terry Goodkind

"Terry Goodkind tells the compelling story of a magical world that mirrors our own, a world in which goodness and honesty are besieged by the forces of darkness and deceit. Richard Cypher's odyssey is a journey of the utmost risk and uncertain reward for the sake of love. It's a journey into the darkness of the human soul."

Main Angst: Main character tortured and sorta has sex with his torturer.

Review: This is a rich detailed fantasy with a lot of action and adventure. I loved the story. Realistic characters, romance, some good old fashioned torture scenes, and a happy ending. This story kind of squeaks by in the angst department. It depends on what the reader thinks is angst.


Wraeththu
Storm Constantine

"In this powerful and elegant story set in a future Earth very different from our own, a new kind of human has evolved to challenge the dominion of Homo sapiens. This new breed is stronger, smarter, and more beautiful than their parent race, and are endowed with psychic as well as physical gifts. They are destined to supplant humanity as we know it, but humanity won't die without a struggle."

Main angst: one minor and one major character is raped.

Review: I really loved this trilogy. The first book The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit is kind of slow to begin with but stick with it. The second book, The Bewitchments of Love and Hate, is easy to read. The story keeps you going and the characters are likeable, except for the bad guys. Lots of UST, magic, and angst, and references to rape and torture. The third book, The Fulfilments of Fate and Desire, is my favorite of the three. This book contains more angst than the other two put together. I loved the characters. The story contains a graphic rape scene. The story kind of starts to slow down three fourths of the way through, but overall great storytelling.

The Chronicles of Magravandias Series

Main Angst: A male/male rape in second book, not too graphic. Other implied non-con elements.

Review: I loved this trilogy because of the language and the story. Once I got past the beginning it was an addictive read.