reviewed by RK
Goddess’s Curse is a sexy, short novel by Cara Bristol.
Sharona women and barbarian Lahon men maintain separate lives until libidinal fever strikes, and the Sharona are forced to mate.
Men and women living in separate societies is a common one in futuristic and paranormal style romances, from TV to books. And the concept of a forced mate is almost a standard in futuristic romances heavy on the erotic. Yet, Cara Bristol takes the trope and adds to it…making it work as both a sexy escape but a more complex social story.
Basically, Reena, the princess of the Sharona has a terminal illness. She doesn’t experience the sexual desires associated with libidinal fever. Her overall health has been poor and she doesn’t expect to live much longer. Her cousin, Honna, a powerful healer, must go on the journey to find a Lahon man to mate with so Reena goes alone to see the ‘barbarians’ for herself. From her perspective, the information the Sharona women tell about the Lahon men doesn’t add up. If the Lahon are so dirty, unclean, barbaric and repulsive and sex such a terrible thing-why do some of the women seem to like it?
Whenever I see these men vs. women world’s I also ask myself-why doesn’t anybody question this? It makes no real sense in terms of biological development. Finally, a character who does too! Reena’s character works largely because she actively questions the world around her. Bristol takes the time to explain Sharona society, why it is matriarchal, and their attitudes towards gender. It gives the story a robust world and adds to the adventure.
Garat is an interesting hero- he is a man truly desperate. He mated with a woman during her libidinal fever, who gave birth to a son and left the infant to die. Garat’s grief and anger drives his character. Natural catastrophes have made life increasingly worse for the Lahon, and they need fresh water sources. This forces the Lahon to seek help from the Sharona, who are unwillingly to take action
The Reena/Garat dynamic works. Both characters are suited to each other. It’s not just ‘mating’ story future style. There is a tense plot, a very well crafted villain, and much happening on a story level.
My only complaint: I felt the showdown with the villain and rush to the end, was, well, rushed. Still, I liked it. And I had a good time reading.
Genre: fantasy world
Publication: March 2015
Blush Quotient: MOSTLY RED (but no kink, non-con, edgy material)
Availability: Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes& Noble, All Romance, Kobo, Apple iTunes, Scribd
This copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.