Saturday, November 22, 2008

Review- Enslaving Heaven by Michelle Houston

Enslaving Heaven
by Michelle Houston
2007, 2008
Fantasy/ Sci-Fi/ F/F
Short Novella

Buy it Phaze- $2.50

Lyssa is disgusted by the whole sale of slaves, but finds herself drawn to one of the ladies on the selling block. After impulsively purchasing her, Lyssa now has to decide what to do with Alya û she can't just keep her. But the former prostitute, now slave, has other plans for her new mistress, including convincing her to let her stay.

As if Lyssa doesn't have enough to deal with, her pilot and best friend Nita is having problems adjusting to the newest member of their crew, and how it makes her feel. Nita had once found what Lyssa has, but lost it thanks to her. When an accident gives Nita a second chance with the woman she loves, she risks Lyssa's wrath to be with her.

OK, I have to admit that I had to stop reading this story because it wasn’t my cup of tea. But I did go back to it and it did actually get a bit better for me even though I don’t like the sexual subject matter and it’s not the f/f, but the whole world of sadism, which is portrayed strongly in this book.

Lyssa is on an outstation fulfilling a contract. While she and the pilot of her ship, Nita, are waiting, she sees a former prostitute, Alya, being auctioned off and buys her. It’s actually illegal to own slaves in this world and prostitution is illegal as well. Lyssa buys her intending to set her free, but can’t help herself and keeps her. Technically she’s not a slave because Lyssa tore up the bill of sale and makes Alya work on the ship as part of the crew, but Alya and Lyssa both know it’s to service Lyssa sexually.

Nita, who is also Lyssa's best friend, becomes jealous of this situation because she had a one night fling with Lyssa, which didn’t work out. But when Nita did find a women she wanted to be with Lyssa denied that to her, so Nita is pissed off about Lyssa doing what she wants even though it's illegal.

What kind of turned me off straight away about Enslaving Heaven is that Lyssa is so contradictory in her attitude. She is a sadist, a domme. She picks up that Alya is a real submissive and that turns her on. But at the same time, it’s illegal to own slaves for sexual purposes and she goes on and on about doing the right thing and setting Alya free, taking her to a place where she can start her own life. She even acts incredulous and upset when she sees marks on Alya’s body telling her that she’s been abused.

But in the end, she cannot resist Alya and seduces her. In fact, she treats Alya in the same way, very cruelly constantly letting Alya know that she can do whatever she wants to her and will, and Alya can’t do anything about it.

This includes: tying her up, putting electrodes on her nipples and shocking them, hooking her up to a whipping machine that whips her crotch and nipples at regular intervals and so on. Then she tells Alya she is free but she is basically a slave on the ship, doing what ever she is told. And Alya loves being abused and gets off on it because she’s a submissive. I guess I just don’t get those kinds of dynamics, because I didn’t feel for one moment any kind of respect or lovingness between these two even if it is in the world of BDSM.

When they all go on another contract, Nita gets hurt and Lyssa gets her to the closest Dr., who just happens to be the Dr. who saved Lyssa’s life after a serious accident. This Dr. saved Lyssa by basically making her semi bionic, which pissed Lyssa off. But there’s also a nasty history between them having to do with Nita and now that Nita needs help, Lyssa is forced to deal with the Dr. again.

I will say here that until this point, I couldn’t see one redeeming quality about Lyssa. She’s a prick-- nasty, and cruel and I could feel nothing appealing about her. After she takes Nita to the Dr. though, things come up; truths she’s needs to face about Nita and something in her softens, a little bit. While I never really did warm up to her, at least I could appreciate that she is capable of doing something that doesn’t directly please her.

I felt nothing for Alya either. She’s a total submissive who gets off on pain. Real pain. To give credit to her though, she’s only submissive when with Lyssa in sex. On the ship, she holds herself high.

The only characters I felt anything for were Nita and the Dr. Nita is a sympathetic character and someone with heart. She’s a sub as well, but didn’t feel like the wet blanket, with no personality like Alya did. Nita is strong and feisty. And the Dr. really stands up to Lyssa, which I liked. She’s a strong domme, but not cruel like Lyssa.

The sex in this book was all f/f, however, because of Lyssa’s accident, her crotch area is bionic and she always wears a strap-on with a dildo that hooks into her internal electrodes. This almost made the book have the feel of Lyssa being a man. Outside of that, it’s all pretty hardcore S&M. If that’s your cuppa, you’ll love this book. This definitely isn’t any kind of sweet love story.

Even though BDSM is not my bag, I’ve read lots of very well written books with this kind of sex and theme. What usually gets me in those types of stories is that even though I don’t really understand the dynamics in the BDSM world, why people would really get off on pain, in most books the characters have a deep love and respect for each other in that, which makes me get that this type of sex is fulfilling to the characters. In this book I felt none of that. Zip. Lyssa is really cruel with nary a thought to Alya. She really treats her like an animal, or possession and it turned me off.

In the end there really wasn’t anything about this story that didn’t make me feel a bit sick after reading it. Even the f/f sex didn’t turn me on, if I base it solely on this book being erotica, which would mean that the focus is on the sex and not necessarily on any kind of emotion between the characters. If you’re really into hard core S&M though, you might get off on this book.

Sex rating: Wet Panties. Very graphic f/f, strap-on, hard core BDSM

Grade: F


kirsten saell said...

That's kind of a bummer, because I really can get off on the psychological dynamics of BDSM, even when it's fairly hard core (though the accouterments seem vaguely ridiculous to me at times).

I do know how we react to a book has as much to do with who we are as what the book is like. I might have to read this one, just to see. If I feel drastically differently about it, I'll let you know.

MB (Leah) said...

I'd be curious about your take on it. Let me know if you do read it.

Of course, how one reads a book is always subjective.

I don't mind reading BDSM as well. And I actually kind of enjoy the psychological dynamics of it, in reading, but there still has to be some kind of respect for another as a human, which I just didn't pick up here.

Maybe you'll read it totally differently.

JenB said...

Okay, I've figured out why most of these books haven't interested me.

There aren't any men in them!

I like f/f action, but I prefer it in a bisexual context.

I need to look for some books like that.

MB (Leah) said...

Heh, Jen--- this is what I want as well. It's what Kirsten and I are screaming about all the time, lack of it.

I like to read straight f/f, lesbian f/f, but my preference, my turn-on is for at least one of the characters to be bi and that there is a man in it. But they are so rare. *sigh*

kirsten saell said...

I like f/f action, but I prefer it in a bisexual context.

I need to look for some books like that.

You're preaching to the choir, Jen. Problem is, this choir is largely being ignored. Most of the books I've written are centered around a bisexual woman because it's what I love, and it's so hard to find. My favorite stories are f/f/m menage romances where all three end up together--like La Bonne, or Bonnie Dee's novella in Three.

Google bisexual fiction. I dare ya. You'll come up with a bunch of links to pubs that do 75% m/m, 20% f/f and a smattering of m/m/f. It seems like most of the f/f/m out there is written by straight men, and though some is well written and sexy as hell, it's usually about as romantic as the conversation in a men's locker room...