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Friday, October 22, 2010

Absolute Perfection by Stephanie Burke

Absolute Perfection by Stephanie Burke
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Short Story (130 pgs)
Other: M/M, anal sex
Rating: 3 cherries
Reviewed by Cactus

Taza, a sea horse, sole male offspring of the Coushrin king and heir to the throne, really doesn't like his life. For one thing, two crazy female sea horses are vying to impregnate him and become the next queen of the Coushrin dynasty because sea horses mate for life. He doesn't want to be just a breeder while his wife rules the seas. But if being the prey and intended brood-stallion of two insane females isn't bad enough, Taza's also being chased by a human who's determined to attain immortality by eating him. Stir fried, easy on the garlic.

What does he do? Flees to the a vampire bar on the surfaceworld, where he meets Astika, a Hindu Naga god. Astika's been dispatched on a fool's errand, because his advice to his uncle and grandfather's harems is causing mayhem in the kingdom. He wasn't supposed to meet a sea horse prince, save his life, and end up mated in the process. But that's exactly what happens.

Because when Astika saves his life from the human who might just be crazier than the sea horses chasing him, Taza does the only smart thing and pledges himself to the Naga. For life. Since they're stuck with each other, Astika eventually decides he might as well see what it's like with a sea horse. Together, out of the wildest circumstances imaginable, the two lovers find and build Absolute Perfection.

What happens when a sea horse prince mates with a Naga prince? Well, colorful hair and multiple penises is just the start. Sea Horse Taza is on the run from his overbearing family and falls into the hands of a crazy man bent on eating him. Finally getting away from the man wielding garlic, oil, and salt, Taza literally runs into Astika, heir to the Naga throne. Although Astika didn’t want a mate, he’s stuck with Taza and the two slowly find they just may be each other’s perfect match.

Absolute Perfection is a twist on shape shifter stories. Neither of the two are shape shifters so much as they have a primary form – a snake in Astika’s case – and a secondary, more human looking form. The main plot consists of the two meeting then a typical push/pull back and forth until they finally come to an understanding and fall in love. There is a subplot about stalkers coming after Taza, but this is very loose and not incorporated well. The main thrust is simply the two falling in love and having a lot of sex.

The characters come across pretty underdeveloped but then again the story itself is outrageous. The best way to approach this book is to read it with a sense of whimsy and a desire for simple entertainment. If you do, then the moments of humor combined with the exaggerated actions and dialogue are much more fun. Once you realize the story is over the top in every conceivable way, then it's more enjoyable to just have fun with it. The writing is occasionally uneven and contains lengthy internal monologues that try to convey all the world building that would have been more appropriate in other places.

Overall, though, this is a decent story once you can give in to the outrageous nature of the writing and characters. Then their tendency to shout, demand, and exclaim every piece of dialogue makes more sense. The vibrant colors offered and few bits of whimsical humor make this something different and worth reading for that alone.

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