As most of my followers are no doubt aware, I don't review erotica very often. I have several reasons--1) I don't read it very frequently 2) When I do read it, I usually go for the shorties and novellas which don't give me much to talk about 3) Reader reactions to erotica are really subjective, and consequently the books are hard to grade. But when I found Brianna on my "read eventually" shelf at home, picked it up, and started reading, I felt like this one might just give me something to talk about.
Because of the content of the book, the following discussion is meant for readers 18 and over only. Thanks for your discretion.
The basic premise of this book is that Brianna, a human, is captured by aliens who threaten to turn her into a sexual experiment. I'll give that a moment to sink in....Right, so Brianna is captured by Dr. Bakom, who wants to experiment on her, but she's saved by our hero Captain Alalakan don al' Chardadon (who's name is blessedly shortened to Char for most of the book). Char marries her in order to save her, thinking that she is beautiful and will be fun to play with in bed. Char is an alien, and for his species sex (fairly blatant sex) is a huge part of culture and everyday life. As Char and Brianna get to know one another, and as Brianna gets used to the culture that she married into, deeper emotions blossom.
There is an actual plot! Now, I've been told that there are erotica authors out there that write really detailed and well thought out plots that elevate their books from mere porn status, and the sex is weaved into a real story with plot devices and character development and all of that good stuff...But I've honestly never seen that. Usually I see frail "plots" that lead to sex, and the sex is the main point of the story. Brianna is not like that, but it isn't the aforementioned perfect blend of plot and sex either. Instead, we get a lot of alien politics, culture shock, and character development, with intermittent steamy love scenes. It's not perfect, but it does work really well for this kind of story--I was entertained by both the sexual and non-sexual plots.
As for the sex itself, there is less of it than you might imagine. There's a handful of sexual encounters between Char and Brianna, but they aren't as detailed or explicit as some of the erotica I've come across. I think what earned it the erotica label was likely Char's tail, which is flexible can be used as a sexual organ. She describes him using it a couple of times, there's some backdoor action going on, but each of those descriptions is a short paragraph or a couple of sentences. Bottom line, the sex is there, but they dwell on it less than I expected.
There were a couple of plot points that really bothered me. For one thing, Char belongs to what I suppose we could call a royal family. Leadership passes to whichever individual in a generation produces the first child. The implications of that bothered me enough, but then we get to the SPOILERY part. (Highlight to read)
Brianna gets pregnant. Yep, and human and an alien are reproductively compatible. In terms of biology, that makes them the same species. The entire concept of this is silly and illogical and makes my brain hurt. But it gets better...Brianna's baby is going to make Char the new leader, when everyone had assumed that the position would go to Rodane (I think that's his name) because he's been married for years. Eventually they figure out that his wife had been preventing conception for one reason or another, and he divorces her over it. 1) Her reasons for taking birth control and not telling him still don't make sense to me 2) I'm a bit appalled that this was considered a divorce worthy offense 3) That whole political system just sucks. What if your partner was infertile? What if you had an accident that made bearing children difficult or impossible? What if the first person to have a child is an idiot or an evil person who shouldn't be given power?
So ya, just because there is a plot doesn't mean it's a good plot.
The other complaint is that this book was riddled with typos. I'm told that this is typical of Ellora's Cave publications. Whether you want to place blame with them, the author, or whoever, it's a bit appalling that I paid $15 for this originally and there are some parts that have enough typos to make the reading process confusing.
Now, at the time that this review was written the Kindle version of the book was free on amazon--Brianna. If you are inclined to read it and you can get it for free or cheap, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon. 3 stars.