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Romance and other things

SPOILER ALERT!

The perfect whore by Josephine Myles

Being the object of everyone’s sexual fantasies ain’t all it’s cracked up to be… On a mining colony planet a long way from Earth, bandit Jedd Lightning dreams of making enough money to get his ship spaceworthy again. During a robbery at a high-class brothel, he meets gorgeous alien rentboy Storm and is instantly smitten—but the heist goes south and Jedd has to high-tail it out of there with only half the loot. Enslaved by a fierce Madam, Storm’s shapeshifting talents make him the most sought after whore on Talmak. He literally can’t stop himself becoming his client’s fantasy lover. Sick of enforced transformations, he wants to escape, but he’s closely guarded and has no experience of the unfamiliar city outside the brothel. Storm is willing—and eager—to do anything to persuade Jedd to break him out of his gilded prison. Lucky for him the arrogant outlaw needs Storm’s help to free his crewmate, held as hostage by a vicious mob boss who wants Jedd to complete the theft he was hired for. Storm keeps blowing away Jedd’s expectations—but with both the law and the mob against them, they could end up with nowhere left to run. Review: Dear Josephine Myles, I loved a lot of your stories in the past and was very happy to see a new one (and it was on Kindle Unlimited too). And it sounded as if it was a science fiction romance, which is a subgenre I enjoy very much, so I eagerly dived in. Alas, I was disappointed. I should say that before I read the book I accidentally read one review of it ( accidentally because this reviewer is one of my not very numerous friends on Good reads), which alerted me to one potentially annoying plot point, but I certainly did not expect to be disappointed in pretty much everything else as well. First of all, let’s talk about world building. I understand, really I do, that romance book can use the science fiction background as either complex and interesting setting which is a part of the story, or as a mere window dressing. Honestly, as much as I prefer interesting world-building, I am not about to lower my grade if I am otherwise enjoying plot and characters, I know that romance is the main storyline here. However, the windows in this story were *barely* dressed in my opinion. Planet is what blurb tells you and it has two races or as we are shown a bit later three races living there and it has two Suns and the days are called “Fiveday. Eightday” and such. It was not enough for me. As I said above, I may ignore this if I find a fun plot and cool characters. Plot could have been fun, it moved fast and the dialogue was amusing, but I felt nothing but irritation towards the main characters and that reflected how I felt towards the plot itself. So as blurb tells you Jeff and Storm meet in the brothel where Jedd is trying to commit a robbery for his client. Something goes wrong and Jedd has to run but of course he is in lust and he promises to come back for Storm. Jedd does come back and rescues Storm, soon they are both running from the several important people, and moreover, since Jedd screw up his previous mission, his criminal client took Jedd’s navigator as a prisoner till they complete the job. So Jedd and Storm are trying to rescue Jedd’s crew member too. Storm was a sex slave who as blurb tells you had some interesting abilities and when I have read the blurb I was so very intrigued. But I was not happy about his abilities after I finished the book. Basically Storm can become everybody’s favorite fantasy lover. He is not human, he can take the male or female shape, but he is neither. His body is literally forced to change the shape, size, etc, every time new client touches him. So he may become a large woman and then he has to transform in the guy of the smaller size or vice versa. And it hurts him a lot after certain transformations and he loses a lot of energy. It is not fun in other words at all. I am trying to be very clear here as to what disturbed me so much besides exploitative nature of Storm’s abilities. Okay, it is not as if I went blind in not knowing that this will be an erotic romance. Most stories from this writer that I read and loved in the past were on the erotic side. But those guys were interesting and sex was not the thing that defined them ( part of their human nature, but not the sole definition of who they were). I felt as if sex was the only thing that defined Storm, that the sole reason he was in the story was to provide sexual pleasure to the characters if this makes sense. As I said he was a slave and he made it clear that he wanted to escape from the forced sexual labor in the brothel and make no mistake it was forced. So what does he want the first chance they escape from Jedd? He wants more sex. I am more than happy to see the attraction between him and Jett, who was kind and did not want or ever forced Storm to do anything, but shouldn’t a little more time pass before Storm was interested in sex? Storm did have a sense of humor and as I said before the dialogue between him and Jedd was snappy and fun; and Storm wanted to see if anybody survived from his people so maybe we will see him as better rounded person with more depth in the next book. I am just not sure if I will be interested in reading it. Jedd was not irritating per se, as I said he was kind and did not leave crewmate in trouble. I just met his type so often before. We may as well call him Han Solo and be done if you ask me. Ending is HFN, but I was prepared since I saw book one on the cover. Grade: C-