Friday, September 17, 2010

Healer's Garden by Nina Pierce

In the female-dominated society of the twenty-third century, mating with a male, even if it is to save the human race, is a distasteful task and one Healer Jahara Hriznek has successfully avoided—until now.

Brenimyn is a gifted breeding instructor at the Garden of Serenity. Forced to copulate with all females requesting his services, he yearns to find the one woman who responds to his touch. When Jahara arrives with the new class of breeders, Brenimyn’s body immediately aches for her, but convincing the stubborn healer that sex between a man and a woman is more than just an act for procreation proves to be a challenge he refuses to fail.

Jahara doesn’t want to enjoy the sinful rapture only Brenimyn brings to her body. Brenimyn has no intention of dousing the flames of desire licking at them until Jahara is completely his—body, mind and heart. But when the government finds their loving relationship a threat to the natural order, there may be more than their stubborn wills at stake.

**This book was provided by the author for review consideration**

Let's start off with the good - Nina Pierce has crafted a well written novel that has some interesting twists on the usual hierarchical themes. I've seen quite a few futuristic eroticas on Ellora's Cave where due to some natural disaster men are the ones left in charge but this is probably the first I've read where it's the other way around. I like the way Pierce switches up the perspectives so everything is not always from Jahara's POV - it's a big reason why I liked the story at all. Ultimately I feel she's created a believable futuristic environment with enough good points to make me think that while it wasn't my cup of tea other people will probably feel differently.

When I was reading this e-book there were a few big things that didn't work for me. First I didn't believe that someone who was a lesbian and in love, or at least in a big heap of like, would be able to fall in love with a guy. Right from jump that confused me and that confusion lasted for throughout because I never felt like it did make sense. That original feeling wasn't helped any by the way this futuristic society approaches sex and the way Pierce sets up Jahara's first time with a man. The question of coercion/forced seduction hasn't really been an issue for me because I think most of the time I'm willing to suspend my disbelief, but for some reason the way it's done here made me vaguely uncomfortable. I just couldn't shake the feeling that Jahara was being conned into something that she didn't want to do even if the guy was being nice about it (none of that 'asshole seduces the virgin and she gives in because she's a virgin and later they end up with this miraculous HEA' stuff). Secondly as much as Brenimyn wasn't a jerk his inability to understand why Jahara wouldn't just be in love and be happy with him irked me. Of course she's not sure you idiot! You're working on convincing her to be part of a relationship that she previously had no way to comprehend. If you could step off your high horse there for a minute I would appreciate it.

Overall I thought the book wasn't bad. The suspense elements are unexpected and done well enough and each supporting character's motivations were for the most part hidden until the very end. If thing had been different with the characters or really the way the world itself was set up (which I acknowledge would make it a different book) I probably could have seen my way to liking it. Unfortunately that didn't happen and it's just not for me.

Overall Feeling - Thumbs down.

Series - None.