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Friday, August 20, 2010

The Starlight Rite by Cherise Sinclair

The Starlight Rite by Cherise Sinclair
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (218 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, Spanking, Voyeurism
Rating: 4 Cherries
Reviewed by Fern

Her voice is known throughout the galaxy; her face is completely unknown.

Fleeing her monstrous husband back on puritanical Earth and the police assassins he's hired, singer Mella Archer becomes stranded on the frontier planet of Nexus. Desperate to survive, she picks the wrong target--Dain, the head of planetary security.

Dain is amused by the attempted theft, and when Mella is sentenced to serve time indentured as a bedroom slave, he buys her contract. As he introduces the repressed Earther to the pleasures of sex with a dominating warrior, he slowly comes to realize that the little thief has stolen his heart.

When the monster arrives on Nexus and has lunch with Dain, Mella is panic-stricken. Her owner must be part of the conspiracy to kill her, and it will only be a matter of time before the monster discovers that she’s still alive. She attempts to escape. She fails. Embittered by her lies and mistrust, Dain returns her to Indenture Hall to be sold again.

Now the monster has found her. And she has nowhere left to run...

Whenever an author offers something entirely new, I’m always excited. There is something thrilling in delving into the unexpected, especially when the previous works of the author are those you enjoy. Such was the case with The Starlight Rite, the first sci-fi offering from BDSM writer extraordinaire Cherise Sinclair.

The moment The Starlight Rite begins, you are swept into a story in which planets have varying rules, laws, and cultures. The inhabitants of each world are incredibly diverse, to the point that while sex on one planet is considered taboo, it is celebrated on others. Mella, a woman who has escaped near death and, fearing for her safety, finds herself stranded on the latter of the planets. Alone and desperate, she attempts to steal the purse of a crippled man and finds herself face to face with her fate. Dain is nothing like she expects, and he proves he is more than capable of taking her down when he turns her over to the proper authorities and she is held accountable for her crimes. When faced with the prospect of being sold as a sex slave, Mella concludes it’s best to trust the enemy she knows versus the one she doesn’t and agrees to become Dain’s unshuline for the duration of her sentence. Passions ignite, wills clash, and soon the D/s elements are in full swing as Mella and Dain discover there is so much more to their bargain than they ever imagined possible.

As with previous Sinclair works I’ve devoured in the past, I was enthralled by The Starlight Rite. Mella is both sympathetic and relatable as a woman on the run while Dain is an alpha male strong enough to defend her no matter the cost. Their exchanges are as sizzling and, at times, heartbreaking, making the story one readers will thoroughly enjoy. There is so much good here, both for the erotic reader as well as the romantic at heart, that it’s difficult as a fan to state my only criticisms of the work.

While The Starlight Rite is an erotic sci-fi offering, and takes place in a futuristic setting, the BDSM themes, as well as the strengths, insecurities, and conflicts of the hero and heroine, are what have become a formulaic approach in Ms. Sinclair’s stories. While certain aspects - namely the genre, setting, and world build - provide variation, I found that Dain and Mella mirrored heroes and heroines I’ve been introduced to in her previous works. There were also times when the terminology/language differences caused me to pause and shuffle back through the book to get a handle on what parts of the anatomy were being referred to, but once I settled in, I was able to go with the flow and enjoy the story and the physical interactions.

The Starlight Rite is an enjoyable, hot, and exciting story. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to longtime fans of Ms. Sinclair or new readers alike. The sex is steamy, the chemistry between the hero and heroine is perfect, and I loved the new world Ms. Sinclair has created. If you’re looking for something that contains BDSM in a futuristic setting, with twists and turns and pulse-pounding suspense, I’m certain this is one book that will keep you reading well past bedtime.

1 comment:

Saetana said...

I've just read this, I loved the other 6 Cherise Sinclair novels I own (Shadowlands 1-4, Master of the Mountain, Dom's Dungeon) but I didn't like this one anywhere near as much. My litmus test is "would I like this Dom to top me?", Dain is the only one of Sinclair's heroes who would get a "no" from me, the man was a blind idiot and something he did to her when she ran away (trying not to leave spoilers) was torture not BDSM (and I'm not talking about the caning). As for the setting, I read fantasy and sci-fi and neither Earth nor Nexus were well-defined enough for a sci-fi setting, information is required that wouldn't be necessary in a novel set in our own world and time and Sinclair didn't provide enough of it, the thriller element of the story didn't ring true either, unlike Breaking Free, the whole idea of unshalines sat badly with me from the start, I can only handle non-consensuality within historical fiction (real or fantasy) as its an accurate enough representation. I also wasn't convinced by how quickly Mella lost her inhibitions once the intial aphrodisiac wore off, it didn't fit with the info we had about Earth as being incredibly sexually repressed. All in all, whilst I'd recommend any other of Sinclair's novels, I can't say the same for this, stick to the modern settings you do so well Cherise ;o)