Sunday, August 14, 2011

On Science and Sex: A Review of Tempting the Beast by Lora Leigh

Lora Leigh is one of those writers who many people like, and who has produced a ridiculous number of books in her lifetime. For many people her work is like crack. And if that's the case for you, awesome. I've only had one experience with her work, and it was...less than positive. Tempting the Beast was the very first book I ever read on my Kindle, and it has stuck in my mind ever since as a pretty big WTF? Here is my review: Beware the Minor Spoilers.
Science: Saving the world, one genetic abomination at a time.

So obviously this is erotica, and I realize erotica is pretty subjective and hard to grade. But to me, this was just bad.

The premise was actually somewhat promising. Callan is one of several genetically manipulated humans--he has lion DNA in his genome--who are all part of some top secret highly unethical experiment. Merinus is a journalist who is eager to expose what was done to Callan and his fellow "Breeds", and requires his cooperation. They meet, sparks fly in a big way, and we find out that they have some sort of intense biological connection. As in, they are in heat and absolutely must have sex, lots of sex, or they suffer painful consequences.

I may have actually been able to ignore the very contrived nature of the plot and all the hokey science fiction, had the characters been likeable. But they are not. Merinus is the worst--she is absolutely too stupid to live. She's understandably upset at being forced into a sexual relationship with Callan. But she uses it as an excuse for the stupidest decisions possible. She gets mad and blames him, though it's not his fault. She lashes out at those trying to help her. She runs away. She gets angry at Callan for killing rapists who would have killed him. She insists that she's tough and un-girly, but her toughest action in her moment of desperation is to call her big brother for help. And Callan isn't much better. He instantly falls into the overly possessive caveman routine so common to this sub-genre of romance. He's arrogant and sexist. While he says he admires Merinus' tough act, he continuously says things along the lines of "her brothers should have trained her better" and other things that demonstrate an utter lack of respect. This is all justified by saying that it's his nature, he can't help it, this is how all men would be were it not for that pesky feminism keeping them in check.

As stated above the plot is contrived entirely to get the main couple to boink a lot. In erotica, that's to be expected. I know a lot of women like the whole fated mate concept--you see it in Christine Feehan, J.R Ward, Kresley Cole, and Eileen Wilks. I don't have a problem with it if it's handled well. By that I mean, if it isn't used as a substitute for real emotional relationship building and depth of feeling that is only gained with time. Well, this book doesn't have much relationship building outside of the sex, so that was a problem for me.

Also, the plot is kind of...gross. There's a doctor and several assistants helping to figure out what's going on with Callan and Merinus. And the research process involves a lot of swabbing and sample taking before and after they have sex. And the doctor comes up with some kind of  birth control, but just as soon figures out that it probably won't work long term. This medical/science drama really took me out of the sexy moments and were just plain creepy.

I was told by people who have gone ahead and read this entire series that this isn't the best book to judge by. I may attempt book two at some point to see if it improves, but probably not soon. I'm giving this book 1.5 stars.


  1. Yeah, I read (or actually, tried to read) one of her Nauti books. Didn't work for me either. You're more patient than me though - I haven't given her a second chance.

  2. Right after I wrote this I went skimming through reviews on her other work, to see if maybe I should try a different series or something. I have to say, it doesn't look too positive. A lot of criticism about errors and inconsistencies, and complaints that the content is descending into pornography. How disappointing. But obviously, she has her die-hard fans so she doesn't really need me as a reader.


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