Friday, January 20, 2017

WTF Friday: The Queen of Swords by Alana Melos

Well, another WTF Friday is upon us, which means we once again turn the Ruins over to my dark half. As regular visitors will know, Foster Medina has a passion for messed up literary diversions - books that are bizarre, twisted, grotesque, and kinky - and he's only too happy to splatter them across the page.

After my introduction to Alana Melos with The Erotic Worlds of the Janus Key Chronicles, I was eager to sample her other series. I was actually debating between the Rock Hardin: Agent of A.S.S. series or her Delilah Devilshot books when I remembered that I had audiobooks of the first two Villainess stories sitting on my phone. With the gym beckoning, I decided to take Caprice along with me. Good choice.

The Queen of Swords was dark, decadent, depraved fun. The Villainess series is what I would classify as erotic sci-fi adventure, a tale of supervillains and monstrous freaks. Caprice is one such villainess - a violent, antisocial telepath. As dangerous as she is beautiful, she can get inside people's minds, read their thoughts, influence their emotions, and even exert a little old-fashioned mind control. When that's not enough, she can also manipulate them physically, throwing them across the room with a thought while she mentally dodges their bullets.

While the storyline in this first installment is pretty standard comic book stuff - invade the impenetrable fortress, kill the good guys, steal the secret technology, and get out - the execution is what makes it so much fun. Caprice is not just a kick-ass character, she's a fun narrator. She's arrogant, self-absorbed to the point of conceit, and not at all shy about sharing her darkest desires, but she also has a great sense of humor, and can manage witty banter with the best of the comic book world.

The action here is top-notch, equal parts brutal and frantic, with supervillains, metahumans, and a vampire all thrown into the mix. Think Batman, crossed with The Matrix, by way of The Expendables, and you get the idea. As for the erotic element, it's really only suggested or teased in the first few chapters (although her telepathic banter with her vampire accomplice is pretty explicit), but Melos definitely delivers the goods in the second half of the book, complete with a femdom/bondage session that is completely-over-the-top when experienced through Caprice.

As for the audiobook experience, this is probably the first listening experience I can say I genuinely enjoyed. Rebecca Wolfe does a fantastic job of reading the story, and of capturing Caprice's voice. She has just the right attitude, and just the right personality to pull off both action and erotica, maintaining the excitement without ever sounding cheesy. I already looked ahead, and I'm glad to see she narrates The Prince of Cups as well.

If you're up for a solid mix of sociopathic supervillains, metahumans, monsters, action, mayhem, and erotica . . . if you watched Deadpool and wished it was a little darker, and a little kinkier . . . then you'll get a genuine kick out of The Queen of Swords.

Audiobook Edition
Published December 17, 2015 by Alana Melos Erotica

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