Title: Claimings, Tails and Other Alien Artifacts
Author: Lyn Gala
Cover Artist: Mina Carter
Publisher: Loose Id
Buy Link: Amazon.com
Genre: M/M Science Fiction / Bdsm
Rating: 4.75 out of 5 rating stars
A Guest Review by Raine
Summary Review: An out of the ordinary, careful examination of what it means to be submissive in an imaginative and unexpectedly tender relationship between a human and a very alien, alien.
Blurb: Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. He won’t risk letting anyone come too close because he won’t risk letting anyone see his deeply submissive nature. For him, submission comes with pain. Life burned that lesson into his soul from a young age. This fear keeps him from noticing that the Rownt trader Ondry cares for him.
Ondry may not understand humans, but he recognizes a wounded soul, and his need to protect Liam is quickly outpacing his common sense. They may have laws, culture, and incompatible genitalia in their way, but Ondry knows that he can find a way to overcome all that if he can just overcome the ghosts of Liam’s past. Only then can he take possession of a man he has grown to love.
Lyn Gala has created two very individual and memorable characters in this delightful space set romance. This is an anthropological or rather xenological based exploration. Not an exploration of that final frontier, but of the delicate relationship between two beings who have surprisingly complimentary needs.
This story had me hooked with the very first glimpse of Ondry,
As Liam came around the corner, he noticed his favourite trader leaning against one trellis wall with a thumb stuck in his belt and his tail wrapped round his right leg.
There is always a problem when creating an alien hero that he often simply becomes a human with superficial cosmetic differences. Ondry is a fully realised alien with a very different and integrated belief system. His appearance, skin colour, and tail is distinctive enough to be intriguing. His, incompatible with human, genitalia cleverly emphasised the unexpected priority Liam put on his own requirements for a successful relationship. Ondry is a thoroughly believable personality, his recognition of what Liam’s nature is and what he needs is an engaging interpretation of what it means to be a Dom. I loved his strength and his protective proprietary instinct. His caring carefulness is established in this conversation,
” You don’t know what will hurt a human psychologically,” Liam pointed out…….
………” Then you will have to tell me when I am in danger of that. You must tell me what you feel, so I can tell you what I feel. ” Ondry said.
I really liked Liam’s mix of hard won competence and vulnerability. Here is a man who has had to learn how to make the best of an indifferent if not cruel universe, but he has not lost his essence, just hidden it away. His fragile hopes for a better life were subtly played out.
The knowledge we receive about this world is slanted towards trade specific diplomacy. This gave a fascinating bias that reflected the main culture and concerns of the Rownt, the native population. I thought this focus worked really well creating both intimacy and allowing for intriguing gaps of knowledge. So we joined closely with Liam as he gradually learnt a lot more about the Rownt than he’d expected. The explanations of translated linguistic nuance all added another layer to the intensity and fun of this story.
Ondry hummed in Liam’s ear. ” You smell delightful. ” In Rownt that version of ” delightful ” was a powerful word – a word that suggested desire strong enough to inspire injudicious trading.
Lyn Gala’s imagination has created an entertaining, amusing and emotionally satisfying story in a cliche free universe.