Friday, June 19, 2009

What does a PodPeep Read -- Kept by Zoe Winters

Well, that’s not true.

I don’t often read in this genre, which is Paranormal Romance, but I like Zoe’s style. She has her publishing head on game. We share similar views on what it means to be an Indie, and I follow the Publishing Renaissance blog. Then I stumbled across a mrsgiggles post stating that Kept was a light fun read. I was in need of a light read. I needed something not-too-terribly serious in between the review books I have in my queue, a palate cleanser if you will, and I don't always mind hammy villians, so I downloaded it.

This is billed as a novella, but it doesn’t conform to the precepts of a true Literary Novella by definition, so I can’t review it as such, and since it was unsolicited and I don't normally read in this genre, I won’t be review rating it either as I don't think it would be fair based on my limited experience with "romance" as it is defined these days.

Now, this book is apparently part of a larger body of work, and so I think it falls more into the category of serialized novel like King’s The Green Mile for example versus a true novella. Because of this, there is a myriad of characters and events mentioned throughout the story that might seem incidental or underdeveloped in order to get to the all-important “relationship/romance” bit. We get a lot of hints, and so I am thinking more light will be shed in future instalments. I certainly hope so, as there were a lot of unanswered questions and dangling threads for me. The world-building and motivational arcs seem a bit thin and disjointed to end at one very short book, so potential readers should go into this knowing there is more to come. The writing style is pretty on par with what you will find out there in the genre, same with the storyline, but the glib over-exposed characters, the sarcastic internal dialog, and the deliberate camp style make it a fun easy read , and it should satisfy what the genre lovers want and need.

Greta is our pretty pussy -- cat that is -- a shape shifter about to come of age and in heat continuously. But alas, her clan has other plans for her, plans of the unpleasant predestined sort. So, she says with bated breath, who will save me? Maybe the handsome and notorious sorcerer Dayne Wickham, who may or may not be in on the conspiracy.

“[...]he was hot, debonair even. Except for the evil.”

Well of course, except for the evil, that goes without saying. But doesn’t the evil make the bad boy even hotter??? Yes it does, especially when he is conflicted. Oh, and apparently the magic users hook up on internet message boards and use expletives such as: for God’s sake. Now that is over the top camp: I have power unlimited at my disposal, and yet I must invoke God and reduce my majestic interactions to online chat. Hilarious!!!! And logical, since he was: “only human with a few fancy language upgrades.”

The sardonic tone doesn’t stop there ...

Greta hid a smile. She wished she could take her up on her offer, and for a moment a fantasy of Thelma and Louise-ing it through Cary Town caught her imagination. But Charlee wasn’t prepared to deal with what was out there, and Greta couldn’t protect her. She watched as her friend tossed some makeup and a couple of trashy romance novels into the bag. Only Charlee would think running for your life was the time to read romance and wear lipstick.

Or when Dayne meets Greta for the first time:

He held up a hand before little Dayne could cause him to do something colossally stupid. “The wardrobe change doesn’t alter my position, princess.”

I wasn’t aware that sorcerers made penis jokes, and if you find that sort of thing and talk of dry humping offensive to your literary sensibilities then read no further. This is not the book for you.
If you are looking for titillation, this is not the book for you, either. The sex is restrained, very restrained, so we are not talking erotica here, even if there is a lot of throbbing, longing, flushing cheeks, sexy stares, and angst. I would say, if you like movies along the lines of Underworld or Blood and Chocolate and sexy serial programs like True Blood then you will find this satisfying, even with the editorial issues and the bit of chop that I noticed. I was not particularly fond of the last line in the story: “This was how Greta became kept.” Ugh! The author could have had me at the purrr and left it alone.

In the end, despite the above-mentioned last sentence, this is a story for all you closet cliché-camp lovers out there -- you know who you are. You’re the ones standing in the back of the theatre with rice in your pockets, hoping the Halloween freaks won’t make you do The Time Warp. For me, I am not a huge fan of B/cult-movie vamp-camp, but I have my moments -- Rocky Horror being one of them -- and so it was a quick and pleasant distraction. For those inclined towards the Literary Paranormal, this is not as richly textured or lyrically styled as say Anne Rice’s earlier work, so don’t expect that sort of tortured depth. However, if you like your sexy shape shifting romance kafuffles on the light side, then this might be right up your dark alley.

Format: Kindle Edition and PDF
File Size: 124 KB
Publisher: IncuBooks (November 25, 2008)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services

Kept is also available on Scribd, Smashwords, and as a Free download from Zoe’s Website.


Zoe Winters said...

Thank you for the lovely review.

Cheryl Anne Gardner said...

Your very welcome Zoe. Keep us informed of the next installment.

Zoe Winters said...

Will do!