Ruby Duvall, $2.99, ISBN 978-1311773524
Sci-fi Erotica, 2015
While there is romance in Ruby Duvall’s Eidolon, it doesn’t follow the usual structure of the romance genre. The best I can describe this story is that it is a melting pot of cyberpunk and BDSM, with elements of romance, thriller, and erotica. And while I have a great time reading this one, my biggest impression of this book is that it is so toe-curling hot, hot, hot that I actually have to check and make sure that my mouth is not gaping open like an awe-struck idiot. It is one of those stories where I have to check and make sure that nobody is looking over my shoulder before I go back and reread those scenes again.
Set some time in the future when everything is cool and electronic-y, but not too far ahead until people are all in spaceships flying to distant planets, we have Lily Foss, a heroine with some pretty severe paranoia and trust issues. She works using various pseudonyms, makes sure that every online and real life transaction she does will not leave a trail leading back to the real her, and so forth. As you can probably guess, she is lousy at maintaining any halfway decent relationship with anyone or anything. In her free time, she tinkers with an Eidolon – something like a robot – hoping to create a perfect companion that will not demand what she feels that she cannot give, but she’s not getting anywhere yet with that project.
Lily wants to be explore her desires to be a submissive, but she has a hard time connecting to a Dom. The ones she found in the past are not authentic ones, men who have no clue what to do. Meanwhile, she likes to believe that she is an online friend to Finley, but a real life encounter results in a disastrous attempt to get intimate. He’d still like to be with her, but now she’s wary of him. Complicating the picture is Declan, a Dom escort who seems to be the perfect person to introduce Lily to her hidden passions, much to Finley’s ire.
Now, I may have made the whole thing seem like a messy and weird love triangle, but the story is not actually like that. Okay, we have two Doms and one sub, but the whole thing is far from antagonistic. In fact, these three have a scene that makes me feel like I need to check my temperature and make sure that I am not too feverish as a result of all the things these people are doing. I’m generally not a fan of BDSM stories, as I’m not too familiar with that lifestyle and there are so many horrible BDSM stories out there. But here, I am bought. I have to check to make sure that I am not drooling like an idiot while reading this thing. Really, be careful with that scene where Finley puts on a show for Lily – it is really not for the faint of heart.
Usually damaged characters having unhappy sex make me feel sorry for their psychiatrists rather than to cheer them on, because sex often feels like an unhealthy way for them to avoid confronting and trying to overcome their inner demons. Here, however, the author succeeds very well in selling to me how the hot scenes here are necessary to help the main characters, especially Lily, heal.
I’m far less enamored of the cyberpunk thriller elements, as I managed to correctly guess the twists early on. Still, I actually adore Declan, and I hope I will see more of him. But the author manages to capture very well the suffocating sense of alienation and loneliness permeating the sterile and cold lives of the main characters, so there is a good immersive experience to be had here.
Seriously though, this is one of the most intriguing and bloody hot reads I’ve come across in a long while, and the bonus is that this one costs far less than many less erotic and enjoyable titles out there in the market. Eidolon is totally hardcore – in more ways than one, all of them good – and I’m a better person for having read it.