REVIEW: Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala
Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.
Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.
Dear Lyn Gala.
I’ve noticed recently that more and more m/m writers are adding some form of BDSM to their books. I know that you always had BDSM as a theme in quite a few of your works and I have read most of what you published, so I know it is not a fashion trend for you and I am grateful for that. I know you said that Ondry was born out of discussion about a “perfect dominant” at your group. I have not read that discussion; I just wanted your potential readers to know this bit of information.
What you did with Ondry and portrayal of his race in these two books was quite brilliant. I actually spent several days thinking about how to structure this review. Initially I wanted to review only “Assimilation, love and other human oddities”, but so many of the basics of the world are shown in the first book that I decided to review them together. And at the end I cut my long review in two (review of the second book will probably be out sometime next week).
In this story we meet Liam and Ondry when they already know each other well and have traded with each other for a while. It seems likely Ondry has been teaching Liam how to make profitable trades, despite his race being obsessed with trades and profits above everything else (so we are led to believe anyway).
“Liam froze. He had the best command of Rownt language and cultural norms in five solar systems. He could tell a glurble from a gurgle and translate the emotion behind each. After all, as much as the Rownt appeared to be purplish – plum colored, tall, flat-faced humans, they weren’t.
They were a tailed, bipedal race with a set of rules that defied human logic. And they always focused on trade. Always. Personal conversation came later when you were trying to figure out a better way to screw the opposition the next time you did business.
“I am…having no strong feelings at all at this moment,” Liam lied as he tried to school his features into something milder.
The problem was he wasn’t entirely sure the Rownt used facial expression rather than scent or body language. They did a lot of sniffing when they were unhappy.”
Rownt are ruled by Grandmothers (the strongest, tallest females with the most status and respect). I am always interested when a writer decides to explore a purely female based ruling system and I thought the Grandmothers in this book were really fun. I would not mind seeing some of them being more fleshed out as individuals, but I liked what I saw here.
Besides bringing the reader inside of Prarownt (the name of the planet) and showing us its fascinating world, there is not much happening in this novella apart from Ondry and Liam starting their relationship under “interesting” circumstances.
I actually thought that the biggest failing of this story was that when we meet these guys they have already been friends for several years, and I wished I could have seen them getting to know each other, but if the story was originally planned as a stand-alone novella, I understand that choice.
Liam always thought of himself as submissive and because his lovers mistreated him in the past, he took the utmost care to hide his preferences and desires from everybody. He has always wanted to make his partner happy and when he thinks about it, he considers this to be his biggest falling.
When one of his commanders abuses him during the work situation, Ondry makes his move and Liam ends up in his home, chained to the wall. Having typed this last sentence, it sounds much more like a “master/slave” story than what these books are really about. Trust me, Liam may have ended up being “chained to the wall” without realizing it, but being with Ondry is what he wanted and what he actually communicated with a little push from Ondry’s superiors. Ondry thinks that Liam is palteia. Is it the same as submissive? Ondry really does not think so. Myself I was not sure. Let’s put it this way. I had no doubt that Liam was happy with Ondry at the end of this book, but I was just a tiny bit uncomfortable and I could not figure out why.
This relationship, which according to Ondry every adult Rownt longs to have, to find somebody who would openly bring them the gift of serving, of making them happy, because otherwise adult Rownt do not show much emotion – I was not completely sold on it in book one. I mean, I liked it a lot, do not get me wrong because I saw that this was what both characters wanted and it worked for them. But because I cannot relate to what the relationship seemed to mean at all, I was not completely satisfied. But the second book sold it to me completely.