Author: Selena Blake
Genre: Romance / Science Fiction
Dear God, when will I learn? Normal people have a stop-gap between ‘what the hell is this?’ and ‘click to buy’ where one pauses to deliberate on the choices you are about to make. I, apparently, lack such a stop-gap, and that’s how I landed up reading Selena Blake’s debut Mystic Isle novel, Fangs, Fur & Mistletoe. I’m not romantic in the slightest, I’m fairly sure the sex described in this novel isn’t physically possible (or, at the very least, would be tremendously awkward to execute), the book decimated both established vampire and werewolf lore in the space of a few pages, and I was ultimately left with more questions than answers by the time I’d concluded its torturous 96 page length. To top it all off, because I actually finished the book, the recommended page on my Kindle is currently being blighted by others of its kind. This is where e-books fall far short of their paperback cousins – deleting a book just isn’t as effective as killing a particularly awful one with fire.
Right out the gate I had a problem. Sometimes, when I read a book, the characters will form in my head exactly as the author described them. Other times, my mind will cross-pollute a point of reference and substitute an entirely different likeness for the one intended. Since the novel follows a black vampire named Coco, all I could conjure in my head was Coco Montrese from the 5th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race, and that image stuck. Not one to be defeated, I powered on. Coco and her coven of vampires (I don’t know – just run with it) are taking a week off to visit Mystic Isle, a sexual resort for paranormal beings. Coco’s just coming out of a rather tumultuous relationship and needs to be banged six ways from Sunday to feel a bit more like herself again.
Littered across this resort is a plethora of poorly constructed paranormal creatures: vampires, werewolves, demons, Adonises (apparently these are a species and not just one mythological man), fae (although not at all resembling actual fae) etc. But Coco’s eyes are drawn to only one creature – a werewolf named Grayson that she met on a battle field 100 years ago (oh yeah, werewolves are immortal now, and vampires breathe and have souls). The attraction and immeasurable horniness is instant, and the two cannot keep away from one another. What will follow is a struggle as old animosities between vampires and werewolves are laid aside, friendships are tested, relationships are formed, and Coco is violently fingered at an erotic orchestra while a randy demon looks on. Brace yourself – things are gonna get really weird really quickly.
The Writing Style
The problem with this book, and I imagine many other books in this genre, is there’s only so many ways one can describe a vagina or two people getting their rocks off. Now, bless Selena Blake for giving it her best shot, but by the time she was done describing Coco’s anatomy I had this vision in my head where all she had between her legs was a layered cake (and, as a side note, the phrase ‘nether lips’ should never, under any circumstances, be applied to any part of a woman’s person). Never mind the fact that vaginas apparently hug things or that, before sex, it’s apparently always a good idea to weigh your partner’s penis (I cannot imagine any situation where the weight of a penis would have any bearing on a sexual act). Maybe my idea of both men’s and women’s anatomy is entirely off, but I’m fairly sure that none of these things hold true in real life.
Then there’s the fact that it’s incredibly difficult to keep pace with any form of dialogue that’s taking place when Grayson isn’t pistoning Coco into a palm tree (the book’s words, not mine). This is because the characters apparently feel the need to have an entire internal monologue between every phrase they utter. At some points you need to turn back more than two pages just to remind yourself where this conversation started and where it might be going. Not that the dialogue is tremendously important since all you’re really doing is waiting for the two of them to make the beast with two backs, but those of us who can’t quite bear the notion of a 14 inch penis near us (this is an estimated measurement based on numerous paragraphs devoted to the exquisiteness of Grayson’s manhood) would appreciate some properly constructed dialogue before the floor needs to be mopped again.
Confusion and a complete shutdown of sexual desire. Confusion because, whilst you’re being told that two people are having sex, you can’t quite picture how it’s being accomplished. Believe me, I tried to figure it out. I even brought a female friend over and read the book to her and asked her if she knew how such things could be done – she didn’t have a damn clue either. Then there’s the fact that, for all the book is entirely devoted to non-stop rough sex and people orgasming so hard its a miracle they have any bones left, at no point is any of it actually erotic. It’s the literary equivalent of watching fat people make amateur porn on a betamax tape.
Certainly, novels like this fulfill the needs of a certain kind of reader, and given that Selena Blake is apparently a rather prolific author someone’s obviously reading and enjoying her work. How this has a 4.5 rating on Amazon is something the Good Lord only knows, but I for one will be avoiding any further jaunts on Mystic Isle. The only thing that stops me from giving it a bottom-of-the-barrel rating is the fact that I’ve read In The Velociraptor’s Nest, and even Selena Blake cannot detract from the sheer awfulness that is a Christie Sims novella.
My Final Rating: 2 / 10
Buy the Book at Amazon.com:
Fangs, Fur & Mistletoe (Mystic Isle, Book One)