Dana reviews The Craving by Z. Allora (Published by Dreamspinner Press, February 3, 2017, 280 pages) A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.
Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.
Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way to reunite with his Chosen.
Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away onboard a star craft to follow his heart.
Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.
I love Z. Allora’s writing, so even though sci-fi isn’t really my preferred genre, I wanted to give it a chance. I’m a big believer that love is love, whether it is between a man and a woman, two men, two women, or between more than one person. Love is love… even in outer space. 🙂
Well, as I said, I’m not a big science fiction fan. The story is more romance as far as the plot goes but the set up and description of planets and star systems, and their customs and culture is important to the book. I have to admit that it was a lot for me to take in. The beginning was slow going for me and I had to force myself to push through it. It was important for me not to give up because I knew that when it got going that I would appreciate it just like I have all of the other books that I’ve read by this author. If this genre isn’t your forte and you experience similar struggles getting into a new world, I would encourage you to keep going. The payoff for me in this story was well worth it.
Zadra and Phoenix come from the same planet K’Dane. Most people on this planet form relationship clusters, sometimes balanced with two women and two men, but other times it might be one woman and two or more men. Though many other combinations existed there as well. I thought the concept was interesting for sure. Zadra and Phoenix meet in a learning center and become fast friends but for Phoenix it could never be more. He was marked as Chosen and wanted to devote his life to art with no distractions like love and lust. Though things don’t work out how he wants when he and Zadra experience The Craving.
As far as these two characters go, I liked them both. Zadra and Phoenix together, I loved. Zadra is tougher and plans to be a star chaser which is pretty much a ship captain. His personality actually draws me in more because he is straight forward. If he wants something, he won’t hesitate to get it. Phoenix was a caring and sweet person who could see beauty in blank objects just waiting to be brought out. But his stubbornness definitely had me wanting to shake him silly. As a couple though, I rejoiced in their happiness.
Eros, whose real name is much longer, comes from a planet where monogamy is a sin. The idea of bonding with one person is shunned because a heartlink for them means that they will die without one another. Unfortunately that is the one thing Eros wants. He is forced to leave because of his desires and he meets Riva, who is from a toxic planet where the atmosphere is killing it’s inhabitants. His planet’s mating habits are different but relatively similar to Earth’s as far as I can tell. I have to say I really enjoy the exploration of different types of love in this story. Eros and Riva bond over their journey and I’m happy to say they don’t have a problem accepting their love for each other.
As far as being alien beings, all of the characters seem to have a mostly human makeup. No second appendages and only a few strange body parts. And their problems are ones that can be related to. Government powers being abused, loss of family, bullying, forbidden romance, and family dynamics make this a story you don’t have to be interested in science fiction to understand.
There are cool side characters that could be explored, like Yoshio, a painter and friend of the four. The leader of the star system, His Greatness Paramendor, feels like an uprising is coming and his relationship with his body slave Tai is also one I would love to see in a second book. *Hint, Hint* I can definitely say that I recommend this story and would really like to see more of this world/universe now that I have a grasp on it.
8/10 pots of gold equivalent to 80% recommended or 4 of 5 stars
Z. believes in soul mates, love at first sight, and overcoming all odds to find happily ever afters. Born in Upstate NY, Z. Allora and partner have spent the last fifteen years together traveling across the United States, the Middle East and Asia. These travels provide the inspiration behind many of the detailed settings and characters throughout Z.’s work. Z. received a Master degree in Psychology and Bachelor degrees in both English and Philosophy. (though Z’s editors would probably question the English degree). Z. is both a writer and a huge fan of M/M romance as well as Yaoi. It is said the pen is mightier than the sword. Z. thinks all writers and publishers of M/M are promoting equality, since everyone deserves a happily ever after.