JAX (aka Jacquelyn Frank) in her new book The Bid steps away from her usual paranormal romance to enter, quite gently, the world of erotica. As the author of The Nightwalkers, The Shadowdwellers and The Gatherers series says herself, the novels published under her second pen name are reserved for her somewhat more daring and slightly wilder ventures.
I’ve started reading The Bid with a bit of hesitation, since as a sci-fi fan I couldn’t quite trust a paranormal romance author to get it just right. And I must say that I was pleasantly surprised. The world JAX creates in
certain aspects will remind you of the Ancient Rome with the cut-throat politics, plots and schemes, flowy gowns and beautiful slaves from far reaches of the galaxy (instead of Empire) bought for their looks and sexual virility. In the same time we have space travels, shape-shifters and different dimensions. In other words – a very rich and intriguing universe. As with most Frank’s other books, the plot is gripping, the storyline well constructed, the sex beautifully described even though a bit less steamy than expected. On that note, I believe that Frank is the only paranormal author who I re-read for her beautifully constructed story-line and lovely language and not to get off reading saucy, sexual encounters… (cough, cough).
The novel, however, is not free from short-comings. The first disappointment was the tamed tone of sexual encounters, which after reading the excerpt and the comment from the author herself, I was expecting to be slightly more saucy. However, please remember dear Reader that I was reading the book after The Story of O., which most probably offset my take on the intensity of sexual encounters. The second, though only slight, disappointment was the main character, a beautiful, blue-skinned Hannah, who combines innocence with sexual awareness, and her masterly grasp on her world’s political scene, are just sometimes difficult to fit one person. Also, what I found hard to believe was her hold on the two Conan-type warrior slaves who she manages to enthral almost instantly. Would a man who was plucked away from his home world, from the middle of a rebellion, which he devoted all his life and devotion, be so quick to trust an alien beauty?
But I suppose some that some allowance have to be made and, taking into account all pros and cons, the book is in the end a very enjoyable read which will keep you up and reading until the very last page. Which, I believe, is most important 🙂