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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Prince of Servitude by GA Hauser

Prince of Servitude by G.A. Hauser
Publisher: G. A. Hauser
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (256 pgs)
Other: M/M, F/M/M, Ménage, Multiple Partners, Spanking, BDSM
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Phlox

Prince of Servitude takes place in a mythical kingdom where a beautiful prince named Tristen finds he is attracted to his best friend Dinas. Unfortunately in the land of Brandywine men having sex with other men is illegal. Not only does Tristen love men, he loves to be bound and helpless during the act. Tristen lets go his inhibitions when he is held captive by an enemy army.

Can his beloved Dinas save Tristen from being held prisoner, preventing Tristen from inheriting the throne? Or will the sexual freedom Tristen has discovered stop him from living his legacy. Through love and loyalty Tristen just might find he can have his crown and his true love as well.

This novel is a "fractured" fairy tale, yet it echoes the reality of our own country’s inequality of laws regarding same sex couples from state to state. There is an intentional underlying irony to this work of fiction.

A young Prince in distress is certainly a different take on the fairy tale. Tristen the Fair does have plenty of distress thrown his way, from his dysfunctional parents to his captivity in the hands of a non-too-stable neighboring King. His beloved childhood friend, Dinas, fills the traditional hero role here quite well, the one usually reserved for the handsome Prince, as he tries to save Tristen from everyone around him and from his own tortured thoughts.

I’m a fan of Hauser’s contemporary novels. The plot and dialogue flow naturally and the characters are nearly always engaging. The writing style Ms. Hauser has adopted here is obviously meant to evoke the fairy tale and its more formal cadences. Unfortunately, much of the interaction between characters struck me as stiff and kept me at a distance. I found myself unable to reach that point of suspension of disbelief necessary for immersion in a fantasy story. Small inconsistencies of character here and there caused some distraction as well. Tristen has been so sheltered, has remained so sexually innocent, he is unable to imagine masturbation, and yet, a few pages before, he had fantasies of being ravished by his mother’s door guard.

The story is at its best during the scenes between Tristen and Dinas, some achingly sweet, some vividly heated. Dinas’ devotion, even though he is certain Tristen can never truly be his, is a poignant note in an otherwise surface level tale. The scenes between Tristen and his guards are blazing hot in a purely carnal way, but are written with imagination and some interesting twists.

All told, this is a light, fun read, enjoyed best if not taken too seriously. It is a fairy tale, after all.

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