Sunday, November 2, 2014

Digital Review: Siren of Gaul

Unlike some romance readers I've never really been offended by the term "bodice ripper."  Why?  Because I truly believe that "bodice rippers" do exist as a genre.  That being said?  I do get massively annoyed when ignorant folks throw the term around free and easy.  Oh, like use the term to describe the romance genre as we know it today.  There may be very, very faint echoes, but the vast majority of the genre today has moved on from that earlier era (for good or ill depending on your point of view).

Which is probably why I'm enjoying Lisa Cach's 1001 Erotic Nights serial as much as I am.  No, it's not perfect.  And, oh yes, I've had my issues with it.  But it's such a throwback, gleefully so, to a bygone era of ripping bodices, heroines overcome with lust, barely housebroken heroes, and general over-the-topness - well, how can I be expected to not have fun with any of this?

Siren of Gaul is the third part of the serial and finds our former sex slave Nimia giving birth to a son.  The fly in the ointment?  She's not quite sure who the Baby Daddy is.  Gah, don't you hate it when that happens?  Even though she came very close to dying in childbirth, and even though she's got a newborn to fret over, Nimia isn't allowed to rest of her laurels.  Clovis, now a king, is worried about Nimia's former master, Sygarius, who managed to escape capture in the last installment and is now taking refuge with the Visigoth king, Alaric.  Clovis devises a plan to send Nimia - thinking that the wrongs done to her by Sygarius will sway the pious-minded Alaric.  And if that doesn't work?  Alaric, now widowed, and sexually repressed thanks to his religious beliefs has no prayer of withstanding Nimia - whose lady parts are, essentially, the most magical of ho-has.

So, once again, Nimia is being used by Clovis who, for reasons that escape me, she fancies herself in love with.  What going to Alaric does for her is to show her another side of men.  Clovis is all ambition, war, and screwing her brains out hoping for one of her "visions."  Alaric, while sexually repressed to the point where I want to pat him on the head and murmur "Oh, you poor lad," is a kind man.  And like most men, once he gets a taste of Nimia and the freedom of her sensuality, our boy is all in (in more ways than one).

What's getting troublesome here is that Nimia seems to be a very slow learner.  I would think that her experiences in the first two installments would have helped her catch somewhat of a clue, but she seems a bit thick at times.  Also, she's easily overruled by her lady parts.  One of those heroines who can't seem to control herself.  I don't know, maybe it's just me, but if Sygarius treated me the way he treated her in the last installment?  I would not get turned on when I saw him again.  Maybe that's just me though.

But, it does get better towards the end.  Mostly because I finally feel  like Nimia is waking up.  Making a choice that will better herself, and not being enslaved by her passion for Clovis.
I was no longer a slave, but neither was I free and in control of my own fate.  Perhaps no one was.  But surely some were more free than this.
That said, it's an ending I don't see everybody being wild about - mostly because that choice Nimia makes doesn't paint her in the best light as a maternal figure.  But, bother that.  I know that Pocket has agreed to publish the next three installments of this serial after the first of the year.  Which means Nimia's saga is not yet finished, and is possibly just beginning.  Because like any halfway decent bodice-ripping yarn?  There are more travels, and presumably more men, in her future.

Final Grade = C

1 comment:

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I have found myself enjoying Sheryl Nantus' Tales from the Edge, a romantic space opera. Think Firefly meets a brothel. :)