Wednesday, January 11, 2012

REVIEW: Trust Me & Songs for Guitar and French Harp

Originally released as part of the Wild Passions anthology, Elizabeth Hyde's Trust Me and Angelia Sparrow's Songs for Guitar and French Harp are now available to be purchased and read separately (as are the other titles from the anthology). When Kris offered me the chance to review a few selections from the anthology, these two just jumped out at me, demanding a read.

Trust Me is a slice of sci-fi erotica involving a womanizing reptilian cadet who suddenly finds himself the subject of a very different kind of attention, thanks to a profile secretly posted to a male-on-male oral encounters site by his best friend, Sera. In this far-flung future, sexuality is no more taboo than hair colour (Koit has none), skin colour (Koit sports brown scales), or planet of origin (pretty much all the cadets are aliens), so he decides to give the boys a chance. Koit is a great character, just different enough to truly seem alien, yet human enough that we can still relate to him. His encounters are as humorous as they are erotic, with the young man forced to learn his way around the wants, desires, and physical sensations of other men. More bi-passive than bi-curious, the way in which he's completely oblivious to the fact that his male partners should be any different than his female partners in how they accommodate his alien member is just delightful.

Songs for Guitar and French Harp, on the other hand, is a much darker, post-apocalyptic tale. Set in a travelling freak-show carnival, it stars two genetically engineered animal constructs, one part bear (Arthur) and the other part lion (Gordon). As property of the circus, love between them is forbidden, but Arthur grew up with an adopted father who treated him like a person, positioning him to expect more from his lot in life. As I said, this is a very dark world, but Arthur brings a sad sort of innocence to the story, even as he tries to play the hero. More sensual than erotic, this is a story of forbidden love between young men who are as more animal than human. I would have liked to learn more about Daddy Frank, whose kindness sets the story in motion but, overall, this was a really interesting tale that works on all levels.

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