Tonight is the full moon mating ceremony, and the Lunar Creek Pack’s new alpha will be choosing his official mate. That mate will need to prove her devotion to her alpha by having sex with any number of partners of his choice. Only then can the two be officially mated, and she will receive his mating mark, proof to the whole pack that she is his…and he is hers. Amazon
Before I eviscerate this miserable excuse for a story I want to talk about this: *Claimed is the first book in a paranormal erotica series. Intended for mature readers. 6620 words.* Length: 17 pages.
That’s right, Dear Readers, this ‘book” is 17 pages. And it doesn’t improve much lengthwise with the second “book”, Amazon lists it at 21 pages. In the author bio I found this: So far, she has written the “Lunar Creek Wolves” series, which is planned to be about ten books long. She may stop at six if the series feels complete as it is. Are. You. Kidding. Me. ?.
So I went and looked for a description of the length of a novel and found this and this and this. Wikipedia said this:
How many words does a novel have?
Between 100,000 and 175,000
Novelist Jane Smiley suggests that length is an important quality of the novel. However, novels can vary tremendously in length; Smiley lists novels as typically being between 100,000 and 175,000 words, while National Novel Writing Month requires its novels to be at least 50,000 words.
Hmm, I guess there is a small difference of opinion on this subject. If Stephens doesn’t drop below the 6600 word count of this installment then she might squeak by with only 6 parts and all 6 parts would then make up one BOOK. Claimed is not a book, it is a serialized story at this point. I’m not an author so why do I know this but the author doesn’t?
You want to see how a good serialized story is written? Right now Ilona Andrews is writing the third Innkeeper book, One Fell Sweep, and posting the chapters free on their website. When the story is finished they will remove it, edit it, and publish it.
Now let’s proceed. I had to check that this first installment wasn’t listed under YA or NA because it read very young. I guess you can’t get much character development in 17 pages if you need to have a group sex scene and since this story is listed in erotica, paranormal erotica, and romantic erotica I’m pretty sure the sex scene is required. Just think about it, the longest installment (so far) is 32 pages and there will (probably) be sex in every installment. This presents a problem because how does an author advance her plot or flesh out (no pun intended) her characters if she has to keep them rumpy-pumpying all the time? I’m not sure but after reading this installment I can’t see Stephens managing to do it.
First two sentences:
“She met his eyes as she slid her mouth down around his cock, taking as much of him as she could. He shuddered and she heard a hitch in his breathing as she locked her lips around him and began to swirl her tongue around his tip.”- Claimed.
Why is this? What is this? They are italicized and then with no break flow into the first paragraph which is Vanessa, our heroine, looking in the mirror. They are repeated in the obligatory sex scene where they do belong but at the front of the book, placed as they are, they make absolutely no sense.
So Vanessa is a blue-eyed, long blond-haired, shimmery pink glossed lipped werewolf in a tight blue dress who is just panting to be chosen as the mate of the new alpha. I guess she never saw an episode of What Not To Wear because if she had she would have known to use brown eyeshadow to make her eyes pop and chosen a dress that made her look hot but not hot-to-trot.
Anyhoozle, Vanessa and her BFF, Anita, head off to the annual mating ceremony, whatever that might mean because it is never really explained. Is this the only time during the year the werewolves seek a mate? Is it just a night to pick out a hot body and take it for a test drive? What? What? But this mating ceremony is THE ONE, the one where the new alpha will pick his mate. Now Vanessa has been longing for this guy to scratch her where she itches since she met him in high school. All she wants to do is get down and dirty werewolf style and pop out some puppies.
And once again we are left in the dark about how well Cody, the new alpha, and Vanessa know each other. They met in high school but she doesn’t mention dating or hooking up with him at the annual mating ritual so I’m left with the impression that except for Vanessa’s years long desire to be his puppy mama they really haven’t spent any time together, not even over a bowl of water or the warm body of a plump bunny. How can she want someone who has never left a bunny or part of a deer on her doorstep?
I guess it will be no surprise to you that of course Cody chooses Vanessa, “The truth is, I have known for years who I would choose on this night. The one I have chosen to rule by my side is a brave woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to let others know as well. She is caring and compassionate, and just a little headstrong, but never reckless. She has a strong desire to be a mother and raise a family, and I have had my eye on this woman since I was in high school.” Shades of creepiness. He sounds a little Edward Cullen-ish. Is having Cody describe what Stephens wants you to believe Vanessa is like what is going to pass for character development? I’ve got to say that Cody’s description doesn’t match up with mine. At all.
“His lips looked soft and full, and she couldn’t wait to find out how he kissed, …” They never even kissed before this? What the? How does this work? He’s had his eye on her since high school and she’s been panting harder than a Husky running the Iditarod and they’ve never locked lips? Grrr.
I refer you back to my first paragraph now because now that Cody has chosen Vanessa before they can kennel up and breed she has to sex up a few other packmates, why is never explained. So Cody chooses 3 men and Anita and Anita’s cousin and tells everybody else to do the wild thing. The three men strip her and two of them fondle her and then proceed to a little oral sex. The other guy takes on Anita and Tffany until Cody tells the other two to join them. It is the weirdest menage/group sex scene I’ve ever read and not at all sexy. And what turned Vanessa on? It wasn’t receiving oral sex or giving oral sex it was, “Marcus had done an okay job, but it was Troy’s steady hand at the back of her head that had gotten her really worked up, and she could still feel her pulse racing at the excitement of it all.”
So then Cody and Vanessa do it in the missionary position, he bites her, he comes, she doesn’t, and voila, Vanessa is someone of importance. “She would be able to give her honest opinion without fear of being dismissed. She mattered, and it was all thanks to that little mark on her neck.” I can’t even. I want to hork a hairball. This just feels so fifties with the little woman being validated by serving meatloaf on Mondays and ironing his shirts on Tuesday. Vanessa thinks the night has been so perfect and she can’t wait to do some freakier, dirtier stuff with him.
Then comes the declarations of eternal love and freakier, dirtier stuff.
“You and I are going to have a wonderful life together,” she said softly.
He nodded. “I hope you’re right.”
“Whatever in love means.”- Prince of Wales