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Mostly Cross Posts from my blog, Readings From the Dark Side

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In the Blaze of His Hungers

In the Blaze of His Hungers - Dominique Frost I was on the fence about my rating because in a lot of ways this is exactly what I'm looking for in a piece of erotic fiction: the writing is excellent--way, way above average; the sexual chemistry between the MCs is both hot and convincing; the story is not simply an excuse for some titillating scenes--rather the author takes her characters seriously, delving into their motivations with insight and respect; the relationship itself, between a young man and his best friend's father, is challenging, uncomfortable even, but taken seriously, and the treatment is never cliched or smarmy.

All of this is true and made the story in a lot of ways better than 90% of what I read. Still, I did not feel it was as good as it could have been--it felt unpolished, with certain parts rushed over or underexplored. Javier's background was mostly provided in a confessional info dump, and yet there were inconsistencies in his characterization that gave me pause: what exactly is his education and family background? He's a teen parent, garage mechanic and former addict, but his speech and casual familiarity with books like Wuthering Heights seemed to indicate a more middle class upbringing. There were weird mistakes--about the difficulty of getting into a school like Stanford or the usual timetable of applying to and hearing from colleges generally--that made me scratch my head until I realized the author is not American. Small point, but I hated the book's title: it fits a far cheesier, more cliched book than this, probably one with misunderstood vampires, destined mates, and world-dominating maniacal villains. [Added in response to helpful comments by better-read GR friends: I'm probably wrong about my complaints on the title, which is a quote from a great poem by Neruda, but I'll keep my initial response as is for what it's worth] Lastly, I hate, loath, despise, contemn the present tense in fiction, associate it overwhelmingly with Fifty Shades of Grey, and want to coerce all writers I admire into taking a blood oath not to use it.

Truthfully, I think these complaints all point more to the fundamental absurdity of attempting to evaluate all books ever written on the 1-5 star rating system rather than any problem with this short novel. After all, if, say, [b:Bleak House|31242|Bleak House|Charles Dickens|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1280113147s/31242.jpg|2960365] and Austen's [b:Persuasion|2156|Persuasion|Jane Austen|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1385172413s/2156.jpg|2534720], two of the best books ever written in my opinion, get 5 stars from me, then should I really be giving the same rating to [b:Bone Rider|18619542|Bone Rider|J. Fally|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1380656695s/18619542.jpg|26402238], a book I enjoyed immensely and also admired, but seriously folks, even if I were high on crack could I really say it deserves the same rating? I apologize for the rant, but this is why I can't take the ratings all that seriously.

Bottom Line: I'm giving this four stars because I think Frost is a seriously smart, talented writer, and even this flawed novella shows her huge potential. Obviously read the blurb and decide if this material is for you. If so, this is a well-written, very hot little story.