by Elizabeth Amber, historical/fantasy (2010)
Aphrodisia, $14.00, ISBN 978-0-7582-4128-3
Dane is the part of Elizabeth Amber's The Lords Of Satyr series but it can stand alone pretty well. I suspect that future books in this series may not stand alone well, however, because Dane sees Ms Amber moving in a new direction. Much of the hilarious purple phraseology that was present in the previous books in this series is gone and the author downplays the more outlandish aspects of her Satyr heroes (read: two pee-pees, each ten inches long at the very least, all the better to penetrate both your lower orifices at the same time). It is as if Ms Amber wanted Dane to be the start of a more sober phase in the series so that people will take her more seriously, hmm.
Since the canon of this story is pretty flimsy, I'd be nice and recap the whole thing here. We have our world, and then we have ElseWorld, that dimension where all the horny fae creatures live. Alas, the fae creatures experience a rather clichéd epidermic: the Sickness that rendered their females infertile. At any rate, to prevent the fae from flooding our world to ravish and impregnate human women, they make it such that immigration from ElseWorld to this world becomes strictly controlled. The portal to our world in Italy is guarded by the Satyr brothers, who transform into four-legged sex-mad beings with two pee-pees every full moon to boink their brains out.
Three Satyr brothers have already been wedded off by the time this story begins. But because her publisher had given her the go to create another trilogy, Ms Amber pulls three more Satyr brothers out of nowhere and plops Dane into this one. Dane hasn't just two pee-pees - there are at least two personalities residing in his head. Dane is the dominant personality. Due to a traumatic event in his teenage years, Dante was created. Now, whenever Dane gets horny and wants to play, Dante takes over. Dante and Dane have become such distinct personalities over the years that Dante can actually block Dane from remembering things that happened during those episodes when Dante took over.
And this is where the plot gets busy, so bear with me a bit. Dane spent the last few years looking for his missing brother. He also has to deal with Dante. In addition, he needs to boink like Satyrs do. The Satyr brothers also have some murder cases to solve, but frankly, they are so busy multitasking between boinking one woman and boinking two women that that particular aspect of the plot is soon forgotten. Right into the middle of things is a summon by the ruling council of the ElseWorld telling the Satyr brothers to look for wives.
He has some dead bodies to investigate, and he has a missing brother to look for, but when he's not boinking some Shimmerskin woman, he hires Evangeline Delacourte to look for a wife for him right before boinking her too. Dane may be a two-phallus freak, but he sure knows his priorities in life. Eva is special, like all heroines in stories like this: she is a female Satyr, probably the only one in existence, but again, this particular plot soon becomes one of the plot threads that become inconsequential by the last page. Eva also has a revenge plot in mind, but once she finds a man to boink with, she doesn't seem to care anymore about that revenge thing.
As you can probably guess, my issue with Dane is the number of plot threads that are built up but soon cast aside. There is a very underdeveloped feel to this story, as if the author had problems resolving all the plot threads in her story and therefore, she just dumped aside everything that she decided not to deal with. In fact, the villains behind the nefarious plot in this story pretty much come to our hero and heroine. If they stayed away, our hero and heroine would never get anything done five years from now because they are too busy boinking to care.
But it's not just the plot that feels underdeveloped - the kink factor is solely downplayed. Early on, Dane makes a case about him liking to dominate women and apparently Eva likes the fantasy of having multiple partners to play with in bed. But am I treated with scenes of Eva sleeping with all three Satyr Brothers version 2.0? Why Ms Amber builds up my anticipation without delivering, I will never know. Still, perhaps a scene of a woman taking on three pairs of huge pee-pees at the same time may be too much even for me.
But at the same time, the author can still work her personal woo-woo in her story. As full of plot holes as Dane could be, this story is still the literary equivalent of high grade cocaine. At $14.00, this one is definitely overpriced and I know it has very little wholesome nutritional value, so to speak. But what can I do? The love scenes are hot, especially when Ms Amber stops using ridiculous euphemisms and tells me instead how Eva can give a Hoover a run for its money. Even better, this story is so deliciously sleazy, with incest and murder and more, it's like a very addictive soap opera where all the hot guys have two pee-pees.
Eva becomes a passive crybaby wimp once she sleeps with Dane, but still, she's not running around behaving like an addled idiot, which makes her one of the better heroines I've come across. That's not saying much, I know, but then again, there's nothing much upstairs when it comes to romance heroines in general. I also love how Ms Amber doesn't bind herself too much to the double standards of the genre: Eva, as a Satyr, summons her own male Shimmerskin for some hot boinking during the full moon, just like the male Satyrs. Of course, she doesn't really enjoy it that much once the high is over because we all don't like our romance heroines to like sex too much.
Dane soon overcomes his schizophrenia thanks to hot sex, and he becomes a million times more boring subsequently. After all, take away his multiple personalities and there is little left to appreciate: he's just some alpha male cliché who is having sex with the woman he hired to find him a wife. Don't worry, with a total of twenty inches of pee-pees, there's still much of him to love, if you're into that kind of thing.
The villains are the ones who manage to keep me intrigued especially in the later parts of the book. My goodness, all that sleaze! I have never been this hugely entertained since Thea Devine went all weird when she decided to write contemporary romances. My only complaint here is how downplayed all the sleaze is. I want more gratuitous scenes of skanky sex!
While I can definitely get behind Ms Amber's decision to elevate this series to a lofty position by having more plot and less exaggerated cartoon sex, Dane suggests that the author may not be exactly on point yet in the plot department. There are too many plot threads here that end up being ignored or resolved in an implausible rush. Without much of the delicious campy elements to make up for that problem, Dane just isn't as entertaining as some of the more campy books in this series.
Still, it's a decent effort from an author who is trying to do more instead of resting her laurels. Besides, the sex scenes are hot, so things aren't that bad where this book is concerned. Oh, stop laughing. You have your books by JR Ward with all those ridiculous so-called immortals pretending to be Usher and Taio Cruz when they are not discussing fashion like Prince Poppycock and secretly boinking each other when the wife is not looking. Leave my double pee-pee'd Satyrs alone!
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