February 26, 2012

Evangeline Anderson

I'm going to do something a bit different here and look at an author, rather than a particular book. Evangeline Anderson lends herself to this, as her style in terms of characters and scenarios is quite consistent and distinctive.

I first read one of Anderson's short stories, Masks. I rather hoped from the set up (Chloe's twin sister forces her to moonlight as a Professional Domme) that it would be femdom. In fact Chloe almost immediately loses control to the hero, Mark. However, it was well written and really pretty hot, so I tried other of her books.

They're all erotica with a supernatural, fantasy or sci-fi slant, and definitely romance (all of Anderson's books that I've read are HEA). Some of her heroines are smarter and stronger (Lauren in Found; Kat in Sought) than others (Olivia in Claimed; Shaina in The Pleasure Palace). But what I like about Anderson's books is the male characters. They're not submissive by any stretch of the imagination but they are definitely in the service of their heroine. They put her needs, her pleasure, her safety, way above their own. If you like stories of strong men worshipping their chosen woman, then this author might be for you. Especially if you like reading cunilingus scenes. All of Anderson's books have a lot of cunilingus scenes.

There are a couple of provisos. There's a rather contradictory attitude towards bdsm in Anderson's books. On the one hand, some of the scenes are borderline kinky and although the female characters are universally niave and shocked at the idea of such things, they do come around, as it were. On the other hand, some activities, which in consensual bdsm would be considered just fine, are vilified. For instance, in all of the Brides of the Kindred series, the scourge are considered deviant and evil, in part because they are violently dominant and like to inflict pain on their females. This is considered the antithesis of the reverent treatment of females by the Kindred (they're aliens btw). But then, the Kindred have their own dominance and spanking kink going on too. The result is that the reader is rather confused as to what the 'message' really is.

Another slight issue is that Anderson tends to set up her heroines in situations where they have every opportunity to really take the lead sexually, then has the hero topping from the bottom. For instance, in Deal with the Devil, the hero has the heroine handcuff him to the bed. Hot right? Well, yes, but it doesn't quite deliver. She asks him what to do and he instructs her, while being handcuffed. Similarly, in The Pleasure Palace, the heroine has to pretend to be the dominant Mistress and the hero is her slave. Again, this dynamic could be really interesting but the heroine is portrayed as clearly uncomfortable with taking the lead and the hero directs nearly all her actions.

These two problems come together in The last man on Earth. The set up is awesome: the hero is being held captive in a future world where there are no men. The heroine has been allocated to milk him for his sperm. The normal way to do this is to stick an electric probe up the male subject's ass. The heroine is tentative and the result is that he talks her out of what is portrayed as a barbaric practice. The problem for me is that I think that the probe sounds quite fun. So the heroine cedes power to the hero and lets him call the shots and ultimately, he saves her. Despite him being the one who was restrained most of the time. It's a real pity, because the concept rocks and has an real femdom tinge to it. But the heroine is so weak and spineless I find it a difficult book.

Don't expect complicated and deep plots from Anderson's books, or strong female characters. But if strong men, who enjoy doing anything to protect, service and please their women (including licking her out, pretty much 23/24 hours of the day) are your thing, you might like this author. It's disappointing that Anderson doesn't write femdom but these are fun, hot stories all the same.

If you're looking for recommendations, my favorite of Anderson's books are (in no particular order): Found; Sought; Hunted; Masks. These, imo, suffer the least from the problems mentioned above.

*** Update***

Anderson has a new Kindred series book out, Revealed. I'm sorry to say that I am less enthusiastic about this book. Perhaps I have just reached saturation point for the full-on crazy sauce that amused me in her other books (the Goddess chatting to mortals in bold all the time, cartoon baddies, telepathic links left right and centre and some pretty odd physical mating organs - including fists and wings...).

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