In the past few months, I wrote a couple of review like posts about books I’d read that I enjoyed. Last Christmas, I wrote a post here about all the Christmas books I liked. Lately, in some of my loop discussions, I’ve talked about books that I liked. It dawned on me that I have the perfect forum right here for talking about books.
The blog on this site is meant to be about writing, books, and publishing. Why shouldn’t I just do mini reviews of the stuff I’ve read and enjoyed? I talked about Neil Placky’s Gaylife.com on Sunlight Sucks. I talked about Kim Knox’s Breaking Chance on Flirty Author Bitches. And when I talked about The Dickens with Love and The Christmas She Rules here, I thought of it in a more promotional light rather than what it truly was…a review.
So while that Christmas post was a review, this shall serve as my first official “Valentine Review.” As such, I’m going to break the mold a bit. I will try not to give spoilers, but I have to admit that may be tough for me. Also, I may mention some grammatical or structural stuff from time to time, but the main thrust of a Valentine Review will always be positive because, to be frank, I don’t want to come on here and talk about BAD books. I don’t want to give bad books unwarranted attention. There are other review sites out there who are happy to do that in their own snarky way. They get a lot of traffic from rubberneckers with a reality show mentality who thrive on seeing train wrecks. Sorry, folks. Move along. No train wrecks to be seen here. Only the stuff I like will have the privilege of a Valentine Review.
For my first official forage into this area I’ll be telling you mostly about one book, but also a little about the other two in the series. Laurann Dohner’s Cyborg Seduction series at Ellora’s Cave may not be a comfortable fit for a modern woman who only wants to read about enlightened societies where women have true equality to men. There are some shades of the old romance bodice rippers with forced seduction themes in these books. That’s not to say that the heroines aren’t fiesty. They’re far from submissive, but the societies in this series dictate the circumstances they find themselves in where they have to bargain to the lesser of two evils. The lesser usually being that they have to submit to sex with a cyborg. Like those old romances where the pirate captures the lady and seduces her into loving him, these heroines fall for the cyborgs. But it’s not pretty at first and readers who aren’t a fan of this type of storyline had best just steer clear.
My most recent read, and the most recent release in this series, was Melting Iron. In the first two books, Burning Up Flint and Kissing Steel, the hero of Melting Iron is a total and complete asshole and you pretty much hate him. However, what I noticed most about Melting Iron is that the author really has learned how to take a cold, nasty cyborg and turn him into a true hero that the reader adores.
As a reader, I didn’t like Flint all that much and it truly takes the entire book for him to get to the hero point and show that he loves the heroine. Steel, in the second book, warmed up a lot quicker. In the third book, Iron shows he is the hero almost from the beginning. Which is amazing considering how horrid he was as a secondary character in the first two books. This growth in the author as a writer gives me a lot of hope that if she does further stories in this series and world (yes, please! I’d like Ice’s and Coal’s stories!) that I’ll be able to identify with the heroes right from the start.
The world Ms. Dohner has built is a harsh one. Humans created the cyborgs on Earth and when they realized they couldn’t control them and use them, they tried to have them all exterminated. Since the cyborgs had enhanced intelligence, they escaped and found a new world to colonize, Garden. On Garden, men outnumber women by quite a bit because the majority of the cyborg females were lost during escape from Earth. Because of the unequal numbers, laws are put into place to ensure that breeding occurs and the cyborg race is continued. The laws become a huge problem when love enters the mix.
In the first two books of the series you discover that the lost cyborg women have been found. This creates a shift in numbers that affects the laws and helps to ease the path of true love between the human females and cyborg males of the series. Sure, it’s a plot device but it’s an acceptable one, and as a reader, I mostly sat on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen with the laws to help the poor heroes and heroines achieve their monogamous HEAs.
I really enjoyed the first two books in this series, but I loved the third one which is weird because I didn’t expect to like Iron AT ALL. In Melting Iron you have a fiesty red-headed female mechanic (human) pitted against a cold, almost brutal cyborg male with a long red braid. The red hair is a key factor in this story and I’m not going to go into the nuts and bolts of it, but I will say that the heroine’s utter fascination with seeing Iron’s long hair turned loose hit a special nerve with me. (I beg Rott to let his long curly hair loose too.)
Dawn, the heroine, is a woman I can identify with much more than the first two heroines. Her mercurial moods and Irish temper are a lot closer to my own personality and the fact that she’s techie and works as a mechanic is also way more like me. So, I could totally identify with her. Dawn’s evolution from captive slave to Iron’s family unit (it’s kinda like being married) follows an arc I can empathize with. But it’s still the development of Iron’s character that shows how the author’s skills have grown as this series has gone along.
It’s here in this third book that the reader discovers why Iron is so harsh in the first two books. Learning his background through Dawn’s eyes puts his prior behavior into perspective finally. And this book comes across much more richly in terms of the emotions of the hero and heroine than the others did. The detail with which their emotions are drawn suck you right in, something I applaud.
I noticed more telling and structural issues in the first two books, not enough for me to dislike them, but enough that I wouldn’t give either top marks. Melting Iron, however, is deserving of the top spot. The Cyborg Seduction series as a whole is deserving of top marks and is definitely a series I would recommend to those who like or are interested in reading sci fi rom. If you don’t believe me, just read em yourself and decide.
Melting Iron: Cyborg Seduction Book 3
Being a female mechanic on a space station for eight years has taught Dawn a lot of tough life lessons that have hardened her heart. She’s got a temper and a mouth to match her red hair and has never backed away from a challenge. Then she’s kidnapped and blackmailed into agreeing to be a cyborg’s personal sex slave.
Iron is one big bastard with long, fiery red hair, intense, dark blue eyes and a stubborn streak as thick as his dense muscles. If Iron thinks he can tame her, he’s about to learn that “meek” is not in Dawn’s vocabulary. But with that handsome face, a body to die for, a wickedly talented tongue and those magical hands, the guy just doesn’t fight fair.
Dawn is intent on melting Iron’s icy resolve to never fall in love with a human. He’s winning her heart and she’s determined to win his right back. These two redheads have just met their matches. Let the battle for love begin.
Reader Advisory: The big cyborg using his “research” on his new captive during a smoking-hot bondage scene. Woot!