Monday, December 31, 2018

Black Carnival by Katherine Wyvern (erotica romance)

Can I call this a romantic work of historical sci-fi erotic fantasy? Is that cramming too many genres into a blurb? What the heck, I can, and I am. Black Carnival was actually Katherine Wyvern's debut novel, but it feels like the polished work of a published professional.

I have been trying to wrap my head around a review of this for a couple of weeks now, looking for that perfect balance between teaser and spoiler. So much of this book is about discovery - for both Ivory Blake and the reader - that I am almost paranoid about giving too much away. So, let me instead approach this from a more holistic view.

The Black Carnival is a famously hedonistic celebration that takes place in the city of NeuVenedig, on the planet of Cydonia. If that throws you off or threatens to take you outside your comfort zone, rest assured that this is not some jargon-heavy, absurdly alien piece of science fiction. Yes, there are some sci-fi elements to it, but they are subtle, well-defined, and more about setting the stage and framing the core romance than defining the story. In fact, once you make planet-fall with Ivory, you will find yourself happily lost in the history, the grandeur, and the splendor of old Venice. NeuVenedig is not just a setting here, a geographical place, it is almost a character - it has a life and an energy all its own, one that makes the reader feel as if they have truly escaped to somewhere magical.

The characters here are wonderful as well - real people with pasts, backstories, emotions, personalities, and more. Ivory and Lukan are, naturally, the main attraction, but there are so many others who cross their orbit, and Wyvern makes each and every one of them feel like somebody who could walk off the page and have a story of their own. That is a large part of why the hedonistic celebration of sex is as delightful as it is varied. There is a myriad of fantasies explored here, not all of which will be to every reader's taste, but there is a humanity . . . a sensuality . . . a relevance to each scene, such that we can enjoy the diversity for sake of the characters, even if not our own.

A few last words on Black Carnival. This is not a traditional happily-ever-after fairy-tale romance, and yet it is not merely a fetishistic extravaganza of eroticism either. There is very much romance at its core, a relationship that is tested and defined, with genuine uncertainty, jealousy, and sorrow. It is those darker, more poignant emotions that give the story such life, providing shades of contrast and layers of definition to the joys of the moment.

Katherine is a gipsy soul who lived in Italy, Norway, Germany, France and Spain but mostly in some private universe of her own. She still lives a nomad's life between Dordogne and Catalonia, with a tipi as a home and her boots and a horse as only means of transport. She's worked as a printer, a welder and a gardener, and been writing since she can remember, mostly poetry, fantasy and erotica, sometimes mixed together in weird ways. Nowadays, when not busy with walking, horse-whispering or dream-weaving, she is usually painting, embroidering or working her backbone off in the pastures. 


1 comment:

  1. Happy New Year Sweet Sally....I slipped you into one of my posts because I figured turnabout is fair play!!!
    Hope the new year is filled with love and joy for you and yours!!!!