Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-591-7
Fantasy Romance, 2009
Not counting Elizabeth Amber’s The Lords of Satyr series which are more famous for their heroes’ extra male bit, Calling the Wild is the first story I’ve read that features what is supposed to be a true blue centaur.
Had he been a horse alone he would have been eighteen or nineteen hands, but with his human torso atop that he was over ten feet tall. His coat was glossy black, like liquid obsidian stretched thin and taught over bone and muscle. The tail he’d flicked her with was black as well, the strands dull when compared to the high gloss of his coat.
His human half, rising smoothly from the pool of obsidian, was golden. Hair, shoulder length and curled, was black, and as glossy as his coat, the ends brushing the top of his shoulders. Every inch of him, be it human or horse, was muscled and defined – without flaw.
Why do I have this feeling that furries everywhere are rushing to buy this story?
Kiron, our hero, is from the Wild, which I guess is some kind of alternate dimension where magic runs free and fae creatures roam wild – a furry’s vision of paradise, in other words. He is not pleased when our desperate witch heroine Moira casts a spell that binds him to her on Earth, but he softens a little when he realizes that she needs his magic to ward off evil gargoyles that are out to get here. The fact that gargoyles are evil here is a little disconcerting considering how the author’s previous series showcase gargoyles as lovable monster dongs that will give you a good time.
Moira is quite an annoying heroine here in that she keeps hoarding secrets to herself when it’s pretty clear that she is better off telling Kiron of them since he can protect her far better than she can defend herself. But no, Moira acts like a weepy martyr to her troubles when she’s not fondling various bits of equine anatomy. She’s a damsel in distress pretending that she can hold her own, so her relationship with Kiron a bit “old school” like that. Moira’s personality is annoying and because the reason for her troubles is revealed in excruciating slowness due to her annoying tendency to hoard secrets to herself, the plot becomes annoying to follow as well as a result. It’s a pity – the whole thing seems interesting enough, it’s just too bad that the plot is so closely tied up to the weepy heroine’s irritating personality.
As for Kiron, the poor guy is a rather flatly drawn gallant gentleman who comes to a stupid woman’s rescue again and again. It’s a pity that he doesn’t have much of a personality here. He’s just being Moira’s babysitter, also known as the one with the horse dong. And before you ask, the author cheats a little. Kiron transforms into human form for the naughty scenes here, which is quite disappointing indeed as this makes poor Kiron’s centaur nature nothing more than a gimmick that doesn’t deliver. I mean, since he can shift into human form, what’s the point? He may as well be a sorcerer then. I suspect that some furries are going to be disappointed by this.
To sum things up, Calling the Wild could have been an interesting story if the author hadn’t handled her story in such a way that I often feel that this is a genuine sequel of some story that I haven’t read. Oh, and did I mention that I find the heroine a most irritating wretch? A few scenes of bestiality smut may provide some macabre entertainment, but alas, even that is in very short supply here. All I get is a story that annoys me, one that doesn’t deliver even half the fun (or lulz, depending on how you look at it) it promised with its initial set-up and premise.