by Mathilde Madden, fantasy (2007)
Black Lace Books, £7.99, ISBN 978-0-352-34141-9
The Silver Collar is the first book in a trilogy featuring the same main characters from book to book, so it's not too shocking to find this one ending with a "To be continued" statement. Then again, given the nature of the, er, "plot", I don't it really matters whether this one stands alone or is part of a series of five hundred books.
Okay, the plot is supposed to be like this. Once upon a time, Iris and Alfie were snogging until she found him macking lips with another woman, so she arranges for him to pose with her in a series of arty (read: half-naked) poses for her twin brother Matthew. I hope you aren't hoping for some twins-gone-wild fun, because the author has no intention of going that route. Not that it matters, because a werewolf shows up while Alfie and Iris were vigorously dry humping each other, and Matthew became dog food while Alfie got bitten.
Okay, today, Iris is part of a werewolf killer gang while Alfie turns out to be the biggest and most powerful werewolf alpha in town because he was bitten by the Beast - the Beast, because our hero is special - so gets special powers as a result. Anyway, unlike most werewolves, Alfie doesn't need the moon to turn into a wolf. He also turns into one when he experiences an orgasm. Therefore, every time he wants to have sex - which is like, every few seconds - he will need to get tied down and muzzled. He'd still turn into a wolf at the grand finale, but nobody gets dead, so everybody wins!
Oh, admit it, you have always wanted to sleep with this sexy thing. Look at his orgasm face!
Oh yes, the plot. Iris is mad at Alfie because, apparently, to summon the Beast you need a special ritual. Iris wants to kill the Beast - and only the Beast - for killing her twin brother. Alfie refused to cooperate when she asked him, because the Beast is his sire and he feels some degree of loyalty to him (no, really). So, now they aren't together, only, they meet again when somehow their private parts collide as they jump-hump from one character to another, and it's... wait, what's the plot again?
Every scene in this story is either a sex scene or a scene leading to a sex scene. It doesn't matter whether the sex scene makes sense. As long as there are at least two people in a scene, they'd be mashing bits faster than you can blink. Characters become bisexual out of the blue when they end up with someone of the same sex in a scene and the author realizes that 200 words have passed without someone whipping out that thing, because it ain't a scene until it's obscene. Or something.
As for character development, it's mostly about characters "developing" into each other, if you know what I mean. It's a merry-go-round here. Everyone sleeps with everyone else. While this is normally a good thing under this particular circumstance (this is supposed to be an erotica, after all), in this case, too many of the sex scenes have a perfunctory clinical feel to them. The plot has some potential to be interesting, but it doesn't stand a chance as the sex scenes never allow the plot to develop beyond the melodrama of tab A inserted into slot B.
Iris, incidentally, comes off like a dumb bunny instead of an action heroine. She has no control over her body, she puts out to Alfie with an ease that makes her lip service of wanting to be this tough mean broad look positively ridiculous. She actually gets dismayed when her team mates find her flailing away under Alfie - it never occurred to her that her team mates - who are all werewolf hunters, if you may recall - may find the idea of her shagging away like a happy harmonica under a werewolf a little bit wrong. Iris's entire presence in this book can be summed up in one short phrase: legs spread wide.
Comparisons to a tepid adult video are inevitable, but let's look at the bright side: the characters here use more words in their lines that one may encounter in a typical adult video. And really, Alfie is such an appropriate name for a werewolf hero, don't you think?
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