by Cathryn Brunet, fantasy (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $3.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-850-5
Cathryn Brunet's Ritual Passion is a paranormal story set in what seems like a jungle fantasy setting. We have priests, a temple, and jungles. It may be tempting to compare this setting to the Mayan or Incan civilization, but in this one we have sex woo-woo rather than bloody sacrifice-a-virgin woo-woo.
From what I gather, our heroine Phalandria and her bodyguard type Massilis are going to do that boink-to-save-the-world thing in order to revive her dying Zarbithnath race. She also plots to break the tyranny of the priests who have gone corrupt and lazy in their hedonistic ways, raping and causing the deaths of many, including Phalandria's friend Delicaxia. Yes, Delicaxia.
Still, some unfortunate names in this story aside, I'm pleasantly surprised to discover that this is not some sex-until-we're-sparkling story. Okay, there are plenty of sex scenes, some of which I admit make my eyes roll because the whole "quickly, let me go down on you or this disease will kill all our people!" thing can be too ridiculous for words, but there are plenty of moments where the writing catches me by surprise. Somewhere, lurking beneath all that throbbing and pulsing prose, is an author whose gentle but effective writing style can weave plenty of poignant heartaches and other emotions.
Maybe one day I will discover fully and enjoy that author's work. Not this one - at least, not that much. The whole sex-magic woo-woo stuff here is a little too over the top and cartoon-like for my taste.
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