Friday, May 18, 2012

Spotlight Friday (2): MeiLin Miranda - Lovers and Beloveds, Son in Sorrow

Spotlight Friday is a (hopefully) weekly feature I'm starting to highlight books that should get more attention.

Title: Lovers and Beloveds
Author: MeiLin Miranda
Publisher: Sans Culotte Press
Released: 2010
# of Ratings on Goodreads: 98
Buy From: Amazon
Read the Serialization: Here
Summary (via Goodreads):
When eighteen-year-old Prince Temmin comes of age and joins his father's court, he's unprepared for its politics, assassins and sexual intrigues--and even more unprepared for the King's immortal advisor Teacher, the holder of the royal family's hidden magic. Teacher becomes Temmin's tutor, his lessons contained in a magic book. Through it, Temmin experiences everything each story's characters do, and he's forced to confront serious mistakes in the kingdom's--and his own--past.

His present is no easier. He's falling for beautiful twins--brother and sister--who are the human hosts of the gods of love and desire called the Lovers. Being with them is more than sex; it's a religious calling. But an ancient prophecy says if Temmin heeds the Lovers' call it may spell the end of the monarchy, and his father fights him every step of the way.

Temmin must choose: Serve the Lovers and lose his father--and possibly the kingdom--or serve the King and risk the wrath of the Gods.

Title: Son in Sorrow
Author: MeiLin Miranda
Publisher: Sans Culotte Press
Released: March 28th, 2012
# of Ratings on Goodreads: 23
Buy From: AmazonAuthor's Website | Smashwords
Read the Serialization: Here
Summary (via Goodreads):
Prince Temmin incurred his father's wrath when he took Supplicancy in the Lovers' Temple; his devotion to the Gods outweighed his father's rage. Now he faces a greater challenge: his forbidden love for Allis, the human host of the goddess Neya. If he doesn't conquer his emotions, he may bring the Lovers' deadly fury down on them both--but pride and desire stand in his way. When a murder rips his greatest support from him, Temmin turns to the magic book of his ancestors to find answers to his need both for revenge and for a woman he must not love.

All the while, enemies inside and outside the kingdom are plotting against the monarchy, and the gods prove once again they are no one's friends.

I Rec This Because: This was rec'd to me quite a while back for something similar to the Kushiel series (one of my favorite), and though I don't think they're quite similar, I can see where they're coming from.

Spoiled Prince Temmin is growing up, with all the confusion and hormones that brings; assassination attempts and navigating politics doesn't help matters. I haven't read the second book yet, but the first really succeeds at character development. Sex plays a heavy role in these books, and though it gets squicky sometimes, it's supposed to; the theme of consent is absolutely huge, and one action that Temmin performs at the beginning of the novel -- nearly forcing himself on another woman while in a drunken state -- is returned to and looked at frankly time and time again. There is a story-within-a-story about a woman who has a lust spell cast on her, and Temmin's advisor uses this as a good teaching lesson: is she well enough? Could she really have consented to things in her state? The way Temmin realizes his mistakes and develops as a character is really deftly handled.

There's some great feminist themes within the first book, too: at one point, Temmin asks, "If the women were so important, then why aren't they in the histories?" Teacher gives a "thin smile" and quickly proves him wrong.

In short, if you want some intelligent erotica with serious themes in a fantasy setting, you'd probably do well to check this out.

(An interesting history with these books: they started as a serialization, but when the author was running into problems, her fans pitched in money -- enough money for her to finish the serialization and get it published professionally. The second book was crowdfunded via Kickstarter: she only asked for $1500, but people gave her over $5000. People believe in these!)

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