For week 37, I read Eternal Pleasure by Nina Bangs. I don’t…I can’t even… There is no way for me to justify this to you. I can’t even justify it to myself. I’m placing all the blame for me reading this book squarely on the shoulders of the Vaginal Fantasy group. It’s not my fault. They had me at “sexy shape-shifting dinosaurs.”
For good or ill (I’ll leave that up to you to decide), this particular book is not currently available digitally. When the ladies over at the VF group chose it, the book was available as an e-book, but two or three days into the designated month, the company that offered and controlled its digital publication (possibly physical as well; don’t quote me on that, though) folded and all e-book sources pulled copies off their digital shelves. (The situation may have since resolved, as at the time Ms. Bangs was pursuing a way to retrieve the rights to the book and make it available again. Check with your book source of choice.) This meant that I found myself having to buy a used copy of a physical book, with much trepidation. I was intrigued, you see. Intrigued by the moderators’ description. How often do you come across a book recommendation that includes the phrase “sexy, shape-shifting dinosaurs,” I ask you? It was a first for me.
Finding a used copy proved to be easy and cheap. I believe I paid less than a dollar, plus shipping, and it arrived quickly from some used bookstore linked up with Amazon.
I paid too much.
What you need to understand (and apparently, what I desperately need to accept about myself) is that the prospect of a good, steamy romance between a woman and a man can get boring, eventually. Sometimes the classic boy-meets-girl needs a gimmick, a schtick, something to spice up the everyday. Most commonly, Romance authors use history or magic (or both) to differentiate their work from your average Rom-Com, and some of them do a great job of making me forget that I’m essentially reading about relationships. In Eternal Pleasure, that never quite managed to coalesce.
Instead, we basically have another flavor of Beauty and the Beast, only Beauty’s main characteristic is a paradoxical spunk and ability to follow orders, and the Beast happens to be a reincarnated Dinosaur God trying to save the world from demons. Demon-things. Icky murdering shadows. Whatever you want to call them; it’s the old Really Good vs. Really Evil, and both are awake and active for no good reason and killing people, but first let’s have a chapter about hot, scaly sexytimes.
Add in some super-duper Alpha Males jockeying for dominance and not wanting to bother with this whole “don’t eat the help” (much less “don’t freak the norms”) while their Great And Glorious Badass Leader infodumps etiquette lessons directly into their brains and what you get is a hot mess. I really don’t like the Bestial Alpha Male Tamed By Gentle Femininity trope anymore, especially when there is no attempt to hide the fact that the entire story revolves around Dino God #1 seeing the softer side of his chauffeur. (Not that he needed any help noticing that she was a she, or that she had she-parts. This was her defining characteristic in his opinion, for much of the book.) Major side-eye.
I gave the book two stars. I don’t think I’m going to suddenly enjoy the author’s style, and that’s okay. It was…interesting. If you want to read it, go right ahead. Heck, email me if you want my copy; I’ll be happy to send it your way.