MATING NET (short prequel), FORCED MATE, and INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL
By Rowena Cherry
When I began FORCED MATE, I knew it was both a futuristic romance and a spoof of the romance genre. Still, I was unprepared for the cheesy characters and motivations Rowena Cherry included. She had me in stitches, although I felt the parody might be over-the-top. Then the novel hit its stride. Political intrigue, culture clashes, gender issues, and romance collide to create a fun and breezy story that made one think just a little.
The main couple consists of Prince Tarrant-Arragon, a devious teddy bear who pretends to be as ruthless and tyrannical as the rest of his family, and Djinni-vera, the last virgin of his race. He kidnaps her, interrupting several of his enemies’ plots. Cherry does not skirt the issue of rape. The women in the novels who have suffered rape are strongly affected by the event. But “Tigger” (as Djinni dubs him) goes to great lengths to earn his intended’s permission.
Meanwhile, his enemies run amok. The mixture of slapstick and intrigue works to great effect.
INSUFFICIENT MATING MATERIAL begins where FORCED MATE ends – with the issue of Djinni’s jilted fiancée, Djetthro-Jason. He and Martia-Djulia (Tigger’s sister) got it on in the first novel, but he does not know if he loves her and wishes to marry her. Marsh thinks her lover died and is not willing to accept a replacement. Tigger, ever practical, shoots their ship down – forcing them to be marooned together on a well-stocked tropical island.
Meanwhile, someone wants to kill the Princess. Of course, Djetth’s grandmother and Marsh’s mother have something to say about that. They set out to prove just how dangerous little old ladies can be. The characters all come together in a wonderful climatic scene, where the bad, bad man gets what he deserves.
The short prequel, MATING NET, offers insight to Helispeta’s past and why she chose to run away from her husband, Emperor Djohn-Kronos. I admire her composure and cleverness. She proves that she was BA even when she was young in an escape scene that cries out to be put on the big screen.
These books are not for younger teens. They involve many different issues, but most of the issues are explored through how they relate to sex. These are both stories of couples getting together sexually as well as romantically and focus mainly on the seduction. For more mature readers, the sexuality is well-handled and the story humorous. Younger readers likely will not enjoy the highly sexual content.
You can find out more at Rowena Cherry’s award-winning website. Her next novel, focusing on ‘Rhett (Djinni’s half-brother) will be out in September or October.