A harlequin BDSM urban fantasy

I was busy dealing with everyday stuff and thus I sought some short stories to read. Didn’t have time to read, so I listened instead.

You learn every day, isn’t that how the saying goes? Have you ever read a book which screams: this is harlequin BDSM urban fantasy story? Read as if you were listening an exiting high fantasy fight scene?

I never thought I’d put this all together, but there it was – in the five short books by Angelique Voise Havoc’s Crew series ! I stumbled on her a year ago, when I sought for something light for Holiday mood and found a Mate wanted for Christmas. It’s a fluff, so I didn’t go much deep with it aside reading and somewhat liking it. My tastes run wild, and I don’t analyze them when I like the book.  So when I happened on the name again, I decided to reach for it and listen that series too to kill time.

Wow. The Havoc’s crew definitely was not for me. So I will analyzing it a bit.

Spoiler alert!

First, I decided to listen it, because I seriously liked the premise of the series – elementalists, witches cleaning up for city council? Oh yes, very my cup of tea! When you hear the descriptions, you immediately see folks that I would love to work for.

And then the pretty wall of story falls to pricks…

Ok, so the main idea was that there exists destined partners mythology. Ok. I can go with that, but I can’t go with how those mated partners dealt with their mates. The whole mentality from the stronger partner was that “I only tell it once; I don’t care what you think; I do what I want; you follow me and if I say you jump, you ask how high”.

Levi in the first book spent (according to the few sentences of backstory) searching his mate for weeks, the council sends both him and his mate a letter to clean up their mess (I liked the conflict buildup a lot) and he spends in his mate’s view less than an hour before pushing him against the wall and declaring he’ll make him his no matter what Blaze thinks? Oh, did I mention Blaze has gone through hell to recover from injuries that have disformed his looks? And what is the solution? A man he has no contact beforehand uses him sexually with no interaction beforehand? No “I am concerned for him, I want to care for him, I wish to make him comfortable with me ’cause I can see he is hurting to the core”, but “gonna drill a new hole”?  “Me big – you hurt, I fuck you – you like it” manliness in full blaze.

I went and checked the age of the author at that point, because to have such idolation to a man, who acts like cave man… I’m ten years older and I have never felt so old.

Ok. I guessed I don’t like all the books from any writer, so I listened on. Book nr 2 – Volt with Heath, his apprentice. I liked their descriptions from the book one, so I decided to give it another go, for I’m week for electrical wizards. Bloody hell. Heath is giving up is unrequited love for a manwhore, who flaunts in front of him with his every conquest and flees. Volt immediately follows,  his entire inner monologue going bashing how he’ll beat up Heath for daring to leave, when Heath is turned into hostage.

Big fight aside. What follows is not Volt trying to amend their relationship, but him declaring that Heath was bad boy for running off and that he won’t tolerate it again before taking the shifter in bed to make his point. And the shifter just says “yes master, I’ve been bad ,spank me – I am ok with you sleeping with all the twinks on the side!”. “He was too young to touch, so I slept around” isn’t quite a marker of a steady, healthy, monogamous relationship they are “supposedly” having immediately after they sleep together. I want to shake Heath and tell him to keep running and make sure Volt has no way finding him again.

Maelstorm story, the fourth book, Male’s conflict is just superb! Seriously – I’d applaud for it if I could!  THE MAN BETRAYED HIS MATE BY STAGING DEATH OF THEIR KID!!!!! That conflict alone – that is so amazing I feel my hair rising up on the prospects of all the turmoil of the conflict, because I can’t stop chilling on the idea. It is perfect! Then Ulfric comes and… oh god I feel sorry for Male! He is completely rejecting Ulfric, because of what he did and keeps telling him it’s over, they are over, but the shifter wants him back.

Then you hear Ulfric’s inner monologue and – why in hell does Mael take him back? There is not a single thread of concern for Mael’s well-being or what shock it might be to find out the child is still alive or the fact that he faked their kid’s death. There is no concern if maybe they’d need to talk this through, maybe give him time to heal, show you care. Instead he drags the man to his bed and demands Mael submit to him fully, because that would make Ulfric happy. Yes, you read it right – there isn’t a single thread there what would make his partner happy. Only what would make HIM happy. And Mael submits… Why? Because his own turmoil suddenly has no reasoning? HE DOESN’T EVEN APOLOGIZE! I can’t think of a single parent who wouldn’t go into complete rage if someone in their family would do something to their kid behind their back or would commit such heartache to them over their child. This was so surreal I can’t get it out my head – Mael just hugs and says ok, fine, I’m good with what you did.

Still, I think I’m more disappointed for this fantastic plot not getting the attention it deserves than what Mael did. Although, the reasoning shames every parent alive, but ok. I actually liked Mael’s character despite the minimal buildup of it.

I skipped the third book, because for some reason it was in the end of all the files and after listening the fifth I fought the urge to dismember my player.

Fifth book. Where dom was actually acting like a dom, not like a self-centered brick. Oh, that’s the other thing – with our rich language for sex, the only word used for male reproduction organ was brick. I couldn’t get past that, that’s so…. juvenile.

Ok. Thor and dragon. Dragon had potential as a character. And fell flat because there just wasn’t enough of his story in there to play out the promise made in the pre-story. I would have loved exploring his growth if it didn’t happen over a single minute during one day. The way they taunted each other – you could play it out for days and build up them growing together, mending each other’s pains and aches and both getting what they needed. Unfortunately the book followed the first three – “I am the full alpha, you nothing but dirt to my shoe that I choose to love.” Although I must say, there was less of it in this one, but the book ended immediately after he declared “you will now live with me and I pull all the shots” and the dragon said yes, go for it.

But the dragon was burnt! He had bad experiences that made him self-destructive to the point he took up jobs that promised him death. How does one heal from that in one minute through some stranger fucking them? Oh, and all the talk of “you made me undone” – I must have missed that, because I went back and listened the previous half an hour in hope I had missed that and IT WASN’T THERE!

If you read until here, thank you.

In all, I do agree the author has deep characters and has superb skill for conflicts. However, the characters fall flat as they don’t get the pages to grow and instead of growth they get gamma-jump from Branner to Hulk. I feel like crying, because the characters are amazingly described, good at what they do, but they end up being nothing more than a thug on the street. An I don’t mean like “big bad wolf that protects weaker ones or their family while others fear and hate them.”. I mean “I torture my beloved to the point they are dead inside and then declare they have no right to leave me”. I love the premises of the books and the conflicts, but it has been a long time since characters have pissed me off so much I want to howl out of frustration with one question haunting my mind – why in hell did the subs accept doms, who are so self-observed they can’t be bothered to care for their partner’s needs?

In the end, all I could think of was that I was really reading a harlequin type of romance with their oh-so-willing-and-submitting heroes stuck with all-male-shit-eating-grin-asshole heroes and still doing their bidding in a sauce of urban fantasy, zombies, demons and pretty surroundings.

Then I went to check other titles. Sugar-free beta? Ketogenic wolf?? Gluten-free Gamma???

No. I’ve had it. This is not for me.

 

 

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