A Stranger in Skoria
Title : A Stranger in Skoria
Author : John Tristan
Publisher : Loose Id (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Science Fiction, BDSM
Length : 76 pages (e-book)
Published : December 31, 2012
Rating : ★★1/2
Jason Vale has just been unceremoniously dumped by his long-time boyfriend, and decides he could use a change of scenery; what he gets instead is a change of world. After setting out on a road trip to ‘find himself’, he barely gets a mile before a freakish storm sets him down on a tundra of silver grass with a alien sky overhead. This world is called Skoria, and it soon turns hungry eyes toward him, most keenly in the form of Aedar Rictus, the cyborg pirate who covets him as a pet.
Collared and chained to Aedar’s will, Jason slowly comes to realise two uncomfortable truths: first, he is not entirely unhappy as Aedar’s property, and second, the chains that bind him to his new owner go both ways. An unexpected mind-link between cyborg and human throws the certainties of brutal Skorian law into disarray. With pleasure and pain linking them in a feedback loop of sensations, the boundaries between owner and property–machine and man–begin to blur.
First off, I chose to review this story because I loved the premise. Aliens, romance on a whole new world, cyborgs, and elements of BDSM. Sounds like it’d be right up my alley. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be so.
I will say that I quite enjoyed the writing style. Told in first person from Jason’s point of view, the writing was very clean, and had enough description for me to really build up an image of the world in my mind without bogging the story down. My only real niggle with the writing comes in the form of what I learned to be gender-neutral pronouns. One of the aliens is very androgynous and Jason, rather than asking—I assume because that could be quite rude, though perhaps forgivable given he’s from another world—takes to using zie and hir as pronouns for this character. Personally, I felt this came out of nowhere and could have done with a little more exploration, as could a lot of Skoria.
This was a very short story. I’m not a particularly fast reader, but I was done in a little over an hour. I think the story could have done with being longer, not only to go into a bit more depth about the world itself, but to develop more on the relationship between Jason and Aedar. We know from the blurb that they establish some form of telepathic link, but this is another mystery left unsolved.
As for the romance between them, I wasn’t feeling it. Again, this could come down to the fact that there simply weren’t enough words in the story to really spend much time getting to know the characters and seeing them interact. Their relationship did feel very rushed, especially for Jason, who has just been dumped and then thrown into an alien world, only to be claimed and made into the pet of a cyborg alien pirate. A little more freaking out, and less instant-Stockholm would have been nice.
Which brings us onto the other side of their relationship. The sex. I have never seen two men orgasm so quickly in my life. The sex, like most of this book, was done and over in less time than it took me to eat a sausage. I kid you not, I was actually eating sausages and pasta while reading this, so I have an accurate point of reference. Because of the speed of these scenes, it was difficult to really feel anything for them. It was as though the book tried to be exotic with this badass cyborg alien pirate dom, and then decided that yes, some sex did happen but it’s not really important and glosses over it to get on with the…
Well, I was going to say plot there, but honestly there really wasn’t much of one. The book felt very much like an introduction to the world of Skoria, with a lot of questions left unanswered. In terms of action, nothing really happened except a very rushed relationship.
Overall, I think the idea showed a lot of potential, and the writing was good. It just needed to be longer in all aspects so that the world of Skoria could really be explored and developed, along with the relationship. There is a second book in the series, and I don’t know if any more are planned, so maybe some of the threads will be picked up and expanded on. If you’re looking for a fast, light read with some unusual elements, this might be the book for you.
Rated 2.5 stars by Alex