Apr 16 2012
Dear Ms. Gale,
This premise had ‘January’ written all over it. The erotic adventures of Jane (from the Tarzan books)? It sounded like a fun read to me. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what I had in mind. I had imagined this to be an erotic retelling of Jane and Tarzan. Instead, this is a series that will go down for me in the category of “Good concept, hated execution”. For those that wish to play at home, this is a self-published series. Meant to be serialized like the old novels of yesteryear, this story will be released in short chunks over time.
Entwined is the first of the series. It starts with Jane Clemons, her father the professor, and Effie, Jane’s servant/companion. Jane’s fiance disappeared years ago into the jungle, and they have returned to Madagascar to look for him or his remains. Also accompanying them is Kellen Darkdale, who was last with Jane’s fiance. These characters are straight out of a bad Disney cliche pile. Darkdale, who is clearly a villain based on the name alone, is the lecherous hunter who tries to rape Jane whenever she has a moment to herself. Jane’s father is absent minded and barely there, mentally. Effie? She is described as blond but talks like Mammy. I don’t know what to think.
They arrive in Madagascar, Darkdale tries to rape Jane in her room, and she is saved by Tarzan. Then, despite the rape attempt, she tells no one, just chalks it up to poor judgment on Darkdale’s behalf. Meanwhile, she lusts over Tarzan and lets him fondle her breasts. Later on, she’s swimming on a pool and gets tangled on some vines and Tarzan is there to retrieve her again, after some heavy petting.
Tarzan (though he is never refferred to as that in the books) is charmingly adorable. He’s shy. He stops touching Jane when he misinterprets what she wants. He finds her beautiful but doesn’t know how to be around a woman. I loved seeing him on the page and thought you did a great job with him. By the time this short novella left off on a cliffhanger, I bought the next one. So far, so good. Despite the goofy caricatures and the fact that Jane pays not a bit of attention to Darkdale’s rape attempts, I enjoyed it. B for Entwined.
Entangled is where you jump the shark, and then you take it out back and shoot it, and then you back up the car and run over it one more time. How did things go so wrong from one story to the next? These are short tales, so I tried not to give too many spoilers to the first one, but I feel obligated to lay it all out on the table for #2. Here we go. If you don’t like spoilers, stop reading right here.
You also have an uncanny knack for describing things in an incredibly unsexy way. I find this baffling as you are an erotica writer.
Her quim burgeoned, swelling and filling, throbbing like a huge organ between her legs.
His tongue thrust boldly into her mouth, startling Jane with its abrupt invasion. But his kiss was sensual and thorough, and before long, her insides became soft and wavery. Their mouths smashed and slipped together, tongues tangling and teeth nibbling in desperation to make up for their lost time.
That sounds more like a feeding frenzy.
Overall, I’m not convinced. You can write in an entertaining way, but I want Jane to be an active participant, not just a receptacle. Tarzan is likeable enough, but he’s not on the page very often. Everyone else in the story repulses me and when they’re not actively repelling me, I find this entire set-up uncomfortably like fanfiction of the Disney movie. As self-published books go, the covers are appealing and the content is very clean and readable.
In addition, $2.99 for 80 pages would not bother me too much if it was a complete story. But $6 for two chunks of a larger story? And I’m left at the end with no resolution and a rapidly devolving plot? All I can say is thank goodness that Amazon lets you return books.
B for the first one. D for the last. A very grudging D.