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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Taking It Back by Zenobia Renquist

Taking It Back by Zenobia Renquist
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (65 pgs)
Other: M/F, Anal Play
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Nami is in Vegas for a business seminar. Kosuke is a tentacle monster in search of a cure for the affliction keeping him from eating. While she may not make him better, Kosuke is more than willing to put that aside to enjoy the other things Nami can do for him.

A little unusual kink goes a long way in perking up a person’s boring humdrum routine and this little book should jump start a reader’s interest from zero to sixty in the first chapter.

The blurb certainly piqued my interest but it can only take me so far. The book had to deliver more than the lure of unusual sex; it had to engage my emotions on behalf of either the heroine or hero. I’m happy to say that the author succeeded.

Kosuke is the male protagonist and he’s certainly the one of the most unique and unlikely type of heroes I’ve read about in a long time. He should have been the stuff of nightmares but instead turned out to be a sympathetic character. He’s not only starving, he’s facing death and there doesn’t seem to be a darned thing he can do about it. In fact, there’s something else he can’t seem to control and it opened up a whole host of possibilities he had no choice but to investigate. This being the type of story it is, I was hoping for a good time and Ms. Renquist delivered.

I liked Nami. I liked how the author let me into her head so I could see that she was a pretty pragmatic and open minded person. She wants that intimate connection with another person and doesn’t turn down opportunities to seek out and experience what she’s craving, but so far, she’s coming up zero. Less than zero actually because all the guys seem to be morons in one way or another. I enjoyed her feisty attitude in the beginning. She was clear, assertive and her dialogue seemed real. Her feelings of guilt and curiosity seemed logical for her character which led her to make that one final fateful decision that changed her outlook on dating and sex in general. The best thing? She didn’t freak out or put on prim and proper airs. That’s not her. She knows what she likes sexually and isn’t afraid to go after it. What sealed my approval of her character was when she was bossing Kosuke around. It was adorable.

Here’s where I question the term Shunga. The publisher has it labeled thus but I interpreted the story as having more of a Hentai leaning – being restrained by many tentacles. Perhaps it’s Shunga because of how he described himself when they first met. I can’t be sure. However, the fact that Kosuke isn’t a mindless, oversexed and rampaging monster but a polite, assertive, certainly inventive but intuitive lover might be where the difference is. He has certain needs without a doubt, but there’s intelligence and heart behind it all. That’s why this story worked for me, no matter how many tentacles he had, or used. He was a male with dreams, hopes and feelings. The author made that quite clear to me and that is one of the main reasons I enjoyed this story so much.

One thing I am unsure of is whether to call this a paranormal or sci-fi fantasy. I’m leaning towards sci-fi fantasy because he’s not human. His natural form is completely other and his mode of transportation, though biological, seems also otherworldly. Certainly he’s nothing like anything on this planet. I like it though because it’s unique, fresh and full of possibilities.

I understand that having a villain is sometimes necessary but in this case, it didn’t matter to me. The bad guy wasn’t truly evil; he was just a desperate alien who chose to be a jerk about things. Instead, I would have been perfectly happy with the internal conflict. It carried most of the story already so the little altercation didn’t add much to the plot.

Don’t let the idea of a ‘creature’ seducing a human female put you off from reading this fascinating and entertaining story. He’s mostly human, with accessories, an interesting color and he smells wonderful. Kosuke has a dad and mom who love him and who he loves and respects in return. His personality is complimentary to Nami’s and I enjoyed watching them fall in love. Yes, there is a bit of the paranormal aspect when it comes to recognizing one’s future partner but they have to work on it the old fashioned way and that’s another reason why I enjoyed the novella.

Taking it Back is a highly kinky read that delivers what erotic romance readers look for with extra spice. I appreciate how Ms. Renquist handled such an unusual hero and gave him a heroine that was more than his match. I enjoyed watching their relationship develop. Despite the short length of this story, the author managed to fit everything that was important to make this a book worth reading. It’s fun, surprising and has some emotional depth to tie it all together. If all tentacle monsters are handled as well as Ms. Renquist’s in this book, then I’m game for more.

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