eXtasy Books, $4.99, ISBN 978-1-4874-0525-0
Sci-fi Romance, 2015
If you are into loving relationships with dragons, which have no fur, can you still call yourself a furry? Someone told me that the proper word to describe such folks is “scalies”. And I suppose any dragon who finds a human sexy enough to nuzzle up to should be called a… what, hurry?
These are the things I ponder about after reading RW Gait’s Invasion, because, you see, the heroine Kalexis is a dragon. Now, you may be thinking, that’s no big deal, as there are many fantasy romps out there that feature dragons who can turn into disgustingly gorgeous people with perfect physique for the ultimate ooh-la-la. This one is different, however. Kalexis is an actual dragon-like alien, completely with wings and a tail. She hops and breathes warm air on people. Our Earthling hero Marco Giardelli finds her a sweetheart.
I don’t get it, but I’m sure there are people out there who would. However, this is where things can get a bit underwhelming, depending on one’s expectations. Since this is something published by a publisher with a name like eXtasy, you may be envisioning pages after pages of hot sex with a dragon thing, with scales biting into flesh in the heat of passion and… wait, do reptiles experience orgasm? They lay eggs, don’t they? But I suppose in the land of sexy, everything and anything is possible. But – here’s a big but – this story is actually very tame, just cuddling and nuzzling later in the story. In fact, the whole thing is curiously muted – there is no references to desire, arousal, or other typical erotic stuff. If the Amish are dragons, then this one could very well be an Amish romance.
Then again, given that I am not into dragons, maybe I am missing out on a lot of horny subtext.
Looking back through the small window connecting compartments, he met the dragoness’s eyes, finding them the color of solid gold with elongated pupils. The skin beneath her chin was smooth, and Marco guessed it was probably the same tone of beige beneath her chest, belly and tail. Her top side had scales in the warm shades of sand, turning to brown for the heavy armor plates interlocking on her back. Minute scales defined her nose bridge and forehead, slightly larger over her brow and around the base of her ivory horns. Larger scales coated her flanks, decreasing in size before fading to skin. The lines and angles drawn by her face were both sharp and alien. What puzzled Marco the most were her wings, gilded feathers over a thin brown membrane.
Perhaps the above is the dragon-loving equivalent to the human version of “Big breasts, big thighs… HOT!”
But this one is only the first entry in a series called The Dragoness from Space, so maybe the next series will have all the dragon passion one could ask for.
Oh yes, the story. Kalexis is an Arak refugee whose ship crash lands on Earth one five evening. Fortunately, she was found by Marco, who is, incidentally, driving very fast while under the influence. Ooh, living on the wild side! Even when he sobers up, though, he acts as if it is the most natural thing ever for one to find a living dragon thing and place it in one’s backyard. In fact, when Agent Grey from the
Men in Black Eilon Control Agency shows up, he still acts surprisingly calm when he is told that there are aliens out there, and the ECA has been hard at work all this while to keep the humans here blissfully unaware of these aliens. In fact, the Araks are at war with the Kronians, and if the Kronians know that Kalexis is on Earth, they will come down and destroy the planet. So, all Marco has to do is to keep Kalexis safe and on the down low until arrangements are made to extract her to safety. This is just the start of a space adventure and dragon bonding, ooh!
I’m not going to touch on that dragon thing. Some people would appreciate that better, and who I am to judge, right?
I will touch on everything else here, however, and all that everything else is a problem because Marco acts like he’s made of wood the entire time. That guy has no believable reaction to the strange things he’s thrown into. Dragons? Uh, huh. Aliens? Uh, okay. Sent to space? Uh, cool. Even late in the story, when Marco has to say goodbye to a dragoness that he has supposedly fallen in love with, the narrative is stoned, for the want of a better word. The author is far better at describing what his characters are doing, as opposed to what they are feeling.
Still, the whole thing can work very well, if the author had gone all out and right over the top – think the Evil Dead sequels when Ash Williams turned into a time-traveling action hero – but here, the humor is wooden and, therefore, the story never reaches an appropriate level of camp that would invite me to toss all expectations of logic and plausibility out the window and just ride with the flow.
I’m still not sure how this story ends up being marketed as something with explicit scenes and humor. Marco and Kalexis have a thing that is more like mutual respect than heated lusty passion, and underneath all the clunky and wooden narrative is a sober, straight-forward sci-fi action fest waiting to happen. Alas, with it being what it is, so far that party is not starting anytime soon.