Category: 1.5 out of 5 Paddles

Galen and the Forest Lord
Eden Winters
Torquere Press [link to buy]

Rating 1.5 out of 5 Paddles

Galen is a young man, just come of age, in a small farming village on the edge of the dark forest. Galen’s parents and brother were taken by a fever, so now he is the only heir to his family’s land, which is in the care of his uncle. Now that he is of age, he can marry and assume his rights. But Galen has a secret he dare not reveal: he prefers men. That’s an offense that can get him cast out from the village and into the forest, where he will almost certainly be eaten by the wolves who live there. Thanks to his uncle’s treachery, that’s exactly what happens.

Erik the Forest Lord rules over the people of the forest. As alpha male, he’s leader of the pack, but he is without a mate. A prophesy says that Erik’s mate will be a human, a literal babe in the woods. Galen isn’t the baby he expects, but there’s no denying the mutual attraction.

I really enjoyed this story. It’s a fantasy tale that doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is, sadly, a rare thing. There are several laugh-out-loud moments, and at times it even verges on parody. Very good parody. In places, I could easily imagine a movie version along the lines of Mel Brooks’ “Men in Tights”.

There are plenty of serious moments, so this isn’t just a bit of fluff, but it remains a purely fun read, with just enough drama to keep it interesting. There was certainly scope to do more with the D/s potential of the wolf pack,
which is barely touched on. There really isn’t any BDSM in this book. It’s not kinky, it’s just fun.

Reviewed by Michael

The House of Jack: Tales from an Illegal BDSM Sex Club
A.M. Wyckid
Amazon Digital Services [link to buy]

Rating: 1.5 out of 5 Paddles

A tantalizing title such as The House of Jack: Tales from an Illegal BDSM Sex Club, sets the reader up for a boundary-pushing literary romp that, sadly, never happens. The “House of Jack” short tales collection begins with a decent premise: Pro Dom Jack and his female team entertain wealthy and curious clients in various arenas of the BDSM scene. Anyone searching for illegal activity or scandalous action will not find it in these pages—all is safe, sane and consensual; no illegal activity here (and on the grand scale, pretty tame action).

Just about every facet of BDSM is at least touched on by Jack and his team: pony play, corrective instruction with no touch, public scene-ing, kidnap scene, pain play, wax and heat play, rope work, e-stim, etc. However, the book becomes just the above, a list of BDSM activities, and one after another. Some of the activities so unrealistic and so outlandishly portrayed, that they break the fantasy barrier and become almost silly (the haunted house on the hill vignette with the Sisters of Terror was just plain ridiculous).

Other stories have high-brow attempts at literary connection: an ode to the “Story of O” has promise, but ends up being a long and drawn out BDSM Coming of Age story that almost whimpers out when the final climax occurs, rendering the journey a fizzle instead of fission.

Characters, including Jack, lack sophistication and are one-dimensional. Jack is the perfect and calculating Dom; married housewives become instant public pain scene princesses in less than an hour under his tutelage, and he can beat you at chess too. The females are unrealistic and just present as decoration (which is a fine occurrence if the author did not try so hard to make them appear relevant, educated, and human).

Consequently, The House of Jack fell flat. Wyckid has potential as an author, with an obvious store of authentic BDSM experience and knowledge. The stories, aside from the content, are structurally and grammatically sufficient. Hopefully future endeavors will capitalize on this writing talent, and an erudite editor can wrap up the final presentation.

1.5 Whips, for effort and a new voice to watch.

reviewed by MadFey