by Denise Rossetti, futuristic (2007)
Ellora's Cave, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4199-0910-8
Tailspin is a tongue-in-cheek futuristic story where author Denise Rossetti is clearly aware of how silly things can get. The heroes are called Miriliel the Burnished ("Mirry") and Janarnavriel the Noir ("Jan"), mind you, and they are Aetherii, a race of genetically-altered humanoids with wings and a tail each. I feel I am missing some major details since I have not read the previous book in the author's Phoenix Rising series, of which Tailspin is the second book, but on the whole I can figure out what is happening.
When this story opens, Jan has been captured by Belladonna to be used as her sex toy while our heroine Fledge discovers the near-dead Mirry in what seems like a morgue. Fledge is one of the Grounded (wingless people) and she takes Mirry to the local "beasthealer". Mirry discovers that Fledge is part of a circus community called the Ten Nations Fair. It looks like he'll be part of the community too until he discovers the whereabouts of Jan. Because we have two heroes and one heroine and this is an Ellora's Cave book, naturally everyone gets together at the end for a share-and-share alike thing.
I don't know what to make of Tailspin other than to say it is quite interesting. The two fellows have feathers and wings and a tail each, for one, so this is a story that is as much an anthomorphic animal erotica as one could get, only this time the furry stuff is replaced by feathered creatures. I can't say I find this kind of thing sexy and since this story is all about the sex, it doesn't exactly get me into the groove of things. Tailspin is like an adult version of those old Thundercats and Silverhawk cartoons on TV, where there is cheesy explicit sex to go along with the cheesy lines.
But the sex can get quite interesting in an academic manner since Ms Rossetti takes the trouble to detail the Aetherii considerably, from their physiology to their mating habits, so in a way this story is akin to a sexual documentary of cartoon bird-creatures. Do you know that these male Aetherii experience at least two orgasms each time due to how their testicles function? How fascinating, I must say. I find Fledge a bit of a nuisance since she is a dull and underwritten character in need of some self-esteem boost and she's in the way. I don't get any decent chemistry between her and her feathered boyfriends - Mirry and Jan seem more into each other than they are into her. I wish Ms Rossetti has turned this story into all about gay man-birds shagging each other instead of having a woman thrown into the mix because Fledge ends up an annoying distraction to the chemistry between Mirry and Jan.
I believe that I don't fall into the target audience of Tailspin, which seems to me is something written for fans of anthomorphic animal erotica. I can't say I find the story here particularly interesting, but the Aetherii however are interesting since Ms Rossetti seems to have put more work into fleshing out these creatures than she had in developing Fledge as a character. This book isn't my cup of tea, but if for some reason someone needs to commission some Thundercats erotica (come on, you know Lion-O and Snarf are up to no good behind closed doors), I'd direct them to this author. I bet she can come up with some fascinating physiology and mechanics to get those kitty love engines going.
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