Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Captive Desire by Robin Lovett


The Planet of Desire series is so weird that I kind of can't help but love it. Normally books that are all smut don't really do it for me (I'm just not super into that), but one thing I like about these books is the intense emotional connection that ends up building between the leads with some truly creative world-building in the background. It's kind of like X-rated Star Trek fic, in a way. Like, I could totally see this happening in one of those weird eps that fans prefer to think of as non-canon. "Oops, we landed on a horny planet and ended up fucking our way through the Sex Olympics while the pervy overlords watched and judged us" definitely feels like a Kirk move.

And it's exactly what happens here. Assura is part of the human crew of the ship that crashed on a planet whose toxic atmosphere makes everyone horny unless they take the antidote developed by the god-like and sex-loving Fellamana who reside there. Their ship was attacked by the Ssedez, gold scaled humanoids who were hunted to near extinction by the humans and have a lot of reason to hate our guts. But ever since their commander, Oten, mated with a human, he's become a lot more sympathetic towards the human cause.

So Assura is being guarded by Gahnin, whose mate was killed by humans. And it's hot and he's horny and you can imagine what happens. Although then he and Assura end up fighting and violence is not permitted on the Horny Planet, so they're dragged in for punishment: competing in the sex olympics (ha! bet you thought I was joking about that) so they aren't left to suffer without the antidote. And it seems like things might be pretty good except Gahnin has a lot of angst and mixed feelings about his attraction to a human and Assura has demons and past loves of her own that she needs to confront.

I actually liked this book a little more than the previous book. It wasn't as slow to start and it was a lot darker. There's a pretty twisted villain and some serious fucked-up shit. I saw some critical reviews taking issue with Assura's dark past and I guess how you feel about that will depend on whether you think people who have done bad things can be redeemed or even want to read about that. I don't mind it in fiction because fiction, to me, is a fantasy (and not, you know, something I have to think about in terms of real-world consequences), but I get that people who have maybe dealt with abusers might find that sort of storyline triggering. So, that's something to keep in mind when picking this up, I guess.

Overall, this series is pretty fun. It's porn with plot (PWP) and I'm okay with that. I'll probably read the next book soonish because I waited too long between #1 and #2 and forgot a lot of what happened.

3 to 3.5 out of 5 stars

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