by Amarantha Knight, historical/fantasy (1993)
Masquerade, $5.95, ISBN 1-56333-326-0
Spoilers are present in this review. And honey, please pretend you're at least 18 even if you aren't.
Oh my God. This is an erotica, I know, but I have no idea it's not the Oh, oh, oh variety, but the Ow! Ow! Ow! variety. That is to say, there are lots of whips and paddles and metallic phallic toys and God knows what else is in here. I'm not sure what to say. I didn't turn up the air conditioning, but I did wince a lot as well as giggle at some unintentionally hilarious lines.
Everything about Bram Stoker's Dracula is laced with an overdose of leather here. If Stoker's original work is a kind of incestuous necrophiliac, oral-anal-sadistic all-in wrestling match [set in] a sort of homicidal lunatic's brothel in a crypt (according to some smart shrink quoted in this book), Ms Knight's retelling takes the whole repressed-Victorian-sexuality thing to new heights.
Let's see, Jonathan Harker goes to Count Vlad's home where he gets into an orgy of spanking and boinking with the Count's four wives. The Count catches him and ties him to a rack with a you-know-what up his most sensitive area. Magda, First Wife, then administers the whip pretty painfully (to put it mildly), much to everyone's orgiastic delight.
Cut to London where Jonny's repressed wife Mina meets her old friend Lucy. She spies on Lucy playing dominatrix games with her three suitors John, Quincey, and Arthur (if anyone's interested, Arthur's the most hung one - ... proud, arrogant, masculine in every way... stood on duty, large, brightly colored (huh?) and tight...) and gets a few whackings herself. Ooh mama. I've never known that there are toys one can screw around a man's little buddy to prevent any nasty unwanted leakages. Interesting.
Back to Transylvania. Jonny escapes and ends up in a monastery where he gets whipped by cat-o'-tails two hundred times ("to cleanse his soul") before being made to service the Chief Monk. It's equal opportunities for all sorts of swingers here, I guess. Then there are some impressive gang thing involving fifty men simultaneously and some whips (bizarre, really), before the Chief Monk get nasty on Jonny's bum.
In merry London, Prof Van Helsing has to save Lucy from Vlad's punishing games, which involves some really disgusting things that will make those with a fetish for bodily emissions see heaven. And of course, a really hard birch rod as well as a three-man gang thing on Lucy while Mina plays the drums or something (told you it can be funny). But too late, Vlad's metallic studded gloves tempts Lucy much more, and after a Mina-Lucy cat fight (don't ask, but yes, they pull hairs and claw at each other's face), Lucy flees with Vlad back to Ye Merry Castle.
Jonny comes back, er, "cleansed", and Mina wants nothing to do with him. Not when Dracula's whip is so much more fun. But Jonny is a tougher man now, and his special brand of spanking and itch powder (liberally coated on a metallic phallic toy) soon convinces Mina to bare her bum to her new and improved hubby. In Transylvania, Arthur discovers that a three-day non-stop CPR on his little buddy as well some needles through his nipples can be painful. Quincy discovers the joys of forced femininity and submission to Vlad ("Hi, Miss Quinn, you naughty cunt!"), while Lucy and a plump vampire dominatrix cooks John (yes, cooks).
Fun, isn't it? I feel just like a sleazy voyeur at the end of the day. The Darker Passions: Dracula finds its wrong audience in me, but hey, if I can giggle hysterically at the really ridiculous descriptions of male genitalia and the way Jonny describes his first taste of... uhm, you know, the man's thing, it can't be too bad. Just stay away from the scene where Vlad cooks Magda's butt with sunlight before (to quote Bertrice Small) going the path of Sodom on her very injured posterior. Ouch.
I completely lost my appetite at the end of this book, and readers of weaker sensibilities may just have to steel themselves before turning to page one. Who would've thought erotica is so... painful?
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