Spirit Within
by Mima, fantasy (2009)
Liquid Silver Books, $6.10, ISBN 978-1-59578-602-9


Mima's Spirit Within returns to the same Lora Leigh-meets-Gor fantasy setting that the other Bonded stories are set in.

In the dungeons and torture chambers of the darkmages in the Seventh City, our hero Tydus, a hawk, is cared for by a slave woman known simply as Slave. The darkmages capture and torture folks like Tydus for fun as well as to further their agenda of ridding the world of furry folks like Tydus. As Tydus wonders whether he will ever be free, Slave turns out to be his unexpected ally. And so their love story begins.

Reading Spirit Within, I think the author has lost control of her prose altogether. There are huge chunks of the story that are more fanciful than coherent, and I actually had to read the prologue and the first chapter three times because I was momentarily confused as to who was who due to the abrupt transition between those two chapters. Sometimes Ms Mima is writing as if the story is meant to be a traditional high fantasy type, but then she will slip in some anachronistic-sounding contemporary slurs like "slimy cunt" and jar me out of my reading.

There are also a very high number of really skanky violent scenes here, featuring graphic blood letting and sexual acts that are not designed to give the victim pleasure. Reading these scenes, I have an uneasy suspicion that the author probably wants me to be titillated by such scenes. Well, unfortunately for the two of us, my taste doesn't go in that direction. I find such scenes tedious after a while and I soon start to skip these scenes just to keep the story moving.

Things improve considerably once our love birds are in safe territory, but even then, the rambling prose persists. Fancy writing is one thing, but it's another thing altogether when the writing gives me this impression that I am swimming against the current in the author's stream of consciousness.

Spirit Within is just too overwrought and over the top at the end of the day. This is easily the weakest entry into the series since the hilariously awful Beast Within.

Rating: 57


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