First up…Men with clits!

17788192Star Crossed by Astrid Cooper
My Rating: 1 of 5 stars

So my first foray was not an auspicious start and it wasn’t because the aliens were men with clits. I didn’t mind that, but what I disliked was kind of everything else. I chose this one because I liked the name, I’ve read several good books with the same title, which invoked a positive association,  and I thought the blurb sounded light but fun, sexy times in space with some built in cross species tension. If only I’d looked at the cover because really, has any book ever been good with a cover like that? I hate to be superficial but I can’t think of a single book I loved with such a bad cover. It’s like no one cares about the aesthetics because the content must be crap too. Even though I had a bad feeling about this once I saw the cover, I tried to go in with a more open mind. Perhaps it’s not great literature but maybe it’ll be smutty fun. I already had the book after all.

Sadly, it’s not even smutty fun. The plot is some weird, confusing thing with men from two opposing sides in a sci-fi war of species. Robert is an Aussie human that was captured and forced into sexual slavery, I think. Except he wasn’t really. He claims he was tortured and raped but actually he wasn’t raped and I’m not entirely sure how he was tortured. I think his men were though? He’s also not really a sex slave so I’ve no real clue what he was doing on the planet, why he was there, and how he managed to pretend to be a sex slave for a particular vessel. The details tend to be fluid and often lumped together in large periods of exposition while the two men are naked.

Devin is a Voltan, a species that must have sex or they die. Devin thought he was hiring Robert for some sexy times but Robert then hijacked the ship, forcing the two would be enemies to join together and fight for the good of both species. Or something like that. Mostly it was a confusing mess of stilted dialogue, head hopping, and impressive recovery time for the human. There were vague goals of galactic peace and lots of sex, but I’m just not sure what the point of the story was.

For me, the confusion started right off. The narrative jumps right into Devin needing sex and Robert being the “sex slave” though he clearly wasn’t any such thing. The dialogue is stilted with crude or ridiculous commentary from Robert and Devin’s repeated ignorance. I admit I kind of identified with Devin because I had no clue what was going on either. There are a few threats but those are handled in minutes, merely meant to isolate both men from their people and having to rely solely on each other. I could kind of follow the purpose behind the actions; I could at times see where the author and story was trying to convey.  However, the language used is awkward and clumped together during an improbable time, such as when both men are naked and contemplating sex. That’s not where I expect an in depth conversation about the nature of war and species.

Beyond the confusing plot and clunky writing, the men feel completely flat. There’s no real depth or background to either. There are failed attempts here and there to add more to the characters (such as an aside that Robert’s friend died) but nothing that adds nuance and subtly. They’re obvious and uninteresting, partly because the whole story lacks a smooth flow. I couldn’t ever get into the groove of reading it. I couldn’t identify what the story was trying to be; for example it lacks enough sex to be focused on erotica. There’s absolutely no world building and not enough of a plot to be more sci-fi, and there’s no sense of a connection between the men to feel romantic. It’s almost as if the story tried to be a little of everything without fully fleshing out any of the concepts.

Overall I didn’t loathe this book to its very being, as I have with other books. I feel partly responsible for not liking it because I should have known better with the cover. Yet I think even with an exceptional cover I’d have felt the same. The writing and story itself just didn’t come together to make the story and make me believe in it. The author did mention this was her first m/m so perhaps that has something to do with it and other books are better. I’m giving this 1 star because I didn’t like it and that’s the goodreads designation. I’m not saying stay away from the author, but perhaps don’t go for this one.

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6 thoughts on “First up…Men with clits!

  1. Tam says:

    My first thought before I read the review was “Oh Kassa, did you not see the cover?” LOL Hmm. I have not read anything by this author but I see some of her other books have higher ratings than this one. So I’ll be sure to check if I run across something by her. I barely have time to read the basics these days.

    • After I wrote my review I looked up the author on GR. She does have a lot of other books more well received so I’m going with maybe she got better. I personally won’t be trying her but maybe someone else can and let me know.

      And no… I hadn’t seen the cover! Gah. Lessons learned! I’ll have a whole post on lessons learned in choosing books after this.

    • Well no I didn’t see the publisher – however – I was trying to expand my reading horizons so I’m not sure it would have turned me off. I can’t remember anything good coming from eXtasy but well I would have tried this one anyway.

      At least I can cross them off my list of potentials. Though when I head to Ellora’s (shudder) I’m choosing *extremely* carefully. Not sure I can work up the muster to try Changeling.

      • Di says:

        I’m not a huge fan of EC’s m/m, but I did like Lesson Learned by Lillian Francis. It’s part of their Blush imprint (mainstream, less sex). Think it came out last year.

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