Fantasy Lover
by Sherrilyn Kenyon, fantasy (2002)
St Martin's Press, $6.50, ISBN 0-312-97997-5


I have to hand it to Sherrilyn Kenyon (who writes historical romances under the name Kinley MacGregor) - in Fantasy Lover, she has managed to completely ruin my idea of a sex slave fantasy. I have no idea having one is this... how shall I put it? Painful? No, that's too trite a word. How about get-run-over-by-a-Big-Foot painful?

This is a story about a sex slave. Now, there's two possible way a story like this can go into, if Formulaic Romance Conventions are anything to go by. Ms Kenyon can go all orgiastic and do a mega Dara Joy. Or she can emphasize the heroine's lack of sex life as if to make up for the embarrassing idea of a heroine actually having sex.

Guess which direction she takes to follow.

Grace Alexander is a sex therapist who hasn't gotten laid in four years. I can see why. Her clients are weird. By weird, I don't mean people with genuine reasons to see a sex therapist. Let's see, there's this man who is sure that he is a lesbian trapped in a man's body. And this woman who is trying to hide her designer duds from her cross dresser boyfriend because he is prettier in them than she is. See? Sex - adventurous sex - is a flaw something you should see Dr Alexander for treatment.

So, Doc hasn't gotten laid. Her best buddy, Selena, is a New Age/Occult kook - don't worry, Occult Practitioners, Selena has no actual resemblance to what you folks do in real life. She is, well, obsessed about getting Doc laid. I'm surprised Doc, Sex Therapist Extraordinaire, can't see a classic case of closet best-buddy infatuation when it's waving in her face. Or shall I say they're waving in her face?

Since Selena can't do a Sapphic poetry reading session with Doc, she does the next best thing: she gives Doc a book where a Greek demigod named Julian of Macedon is imprisoned. Release Julian and he will poke you right through all seven levels of heaven. I'm a bit puzzled though, about Julian's state of overendowment. I always thought Greeks of old saw underendowment as a state of ideal manhood, so why the heck is Julian getting all pawed up by those women of yore anyway?

And Julian must be the only thoroughly straight dude in the history of Ancient Greece/Macedonia.

But who cares? Let the sex rolls!

Uhm, hold on. Doc doesn't want to have sex. She wants to sit Julian down and listen to and feel sorry for his sad story. How sad that Julian has to service so many women and yet never Satisfying His Hunger Inside (or something)! How degrading for a man to be a sex slave anyway!

I scratch my head. So, I've stumbled upon a morality tale? Ms Kenyon thumbing her nose at Dara Joy?

Whatever her agenda is, I have a painful time reading about the emphasizing of Doc's lack of sex life and Julian's oversexed but sad, sad life but with nothing to buffer my boredom. These people talk, talk, talk, talk, and then there's some attempt to break Julian's curse (it's all about Love, of course, and Bitch Mothers), but damn it, GIVE ME THE NOOKIE!

Yeah, yeah, sex slave = bad. Heroine not getting laid = funny. Hero getting laid all the time = bad. Moral? Sex = bad? I don't know, but this novel is a fraud. A monogamy tale of pro-vanilla sex with extra dose of vanillin to the point that I feel rather nauseous. Somehow, the author misses the point that when she wants to write about a sex god that looks like Fabio on a bad day (eeeuw), she better give me lots of nookie to make up for the annoying bludgeoning on my face the heroine's lack of nether actions.

To quote the wise, who cares about the heroine not getting laid anyway? And I can't even care less whether she will get laid or not. I just want nookie. Or a good romance. This neurotic-heroine-no-sex-lots-of-whining drivel can't even deliver the nookies. I want a refund.

Rating: 41


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