Erryn reviews Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts (Claimings Book 1) by Lyn Gala published May 19, 2018 and is 198 pages. The audiobook was released by Tantor Media on October 22, 2019, is 6hrs and 57mins and is narrated by John Solo. A copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.
Why I read the book: I’m always game for something new.
Liam loves his life as a linguist and trader on the Rownt homeworld, but he has ignored his heart and sexual needs for years. After escaping the horrors of war, he wants a boring life. 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 respect.
Contains mature themes.
Liam is a trader and linguist on the alien Rownt homeworld. He has left behind a planet where he was treated abominably, joining the military to get away from those who abused him. He works hard every day to make trades that are beneficial to his fellow soldiers. For five years he’s toiled, struggling to understand the odd Rownt rules for both trading and communication. It’s an uphill battle, to be sure, but he’s equal to the task. That is until a new commanding officer arrives.
Ondry is one of the best Rownt traders, despite the fact he’s not yet two hundred years old. He has the grandmothers’ approval and strives to be the best at what he does. Over time he has noticed the human trader named Liam. Despite the rules, he yearns to protect Liam. He senses Liam’s submissive nature that he shows no one. Liam doesn’t seek out command, for example, choosing to follow. A perfect sub. A perfect paltea.
This is an interesting story, to be sure. I’ll be honest and say it started slowly for me. There was so much about cultural differences, trading rules, laws etc. A tremendous amount of time was spent on world building and although most of the laying out of rules proved useful later, it felt a little heavy-handed. That being said, when things did turn personal, they got interesting quickly.
I loved Ondry. He bucks rules and fights for what he believes should be his. He senses the wounded soul that is Liam and soon is fighting to keep the young man with him. Ondry doesn’t care what rules he’s breaking – he just wants to protect Liam. Liam, for his part, sinks into his submissive role quickly and longs to stay with Ondry – in direct conflict with his role as a military member and human.
Now, incompatible genitalia is just one of the many obstacles these men face. But I liked that because it meant they often focused on personal revelations and insights. When Liam shared what he’d endured before joining the army, my heart ached for him. Are there sexy times in this book? Well, Liam is attracted to Ondry both physically and emotionally. So, yeah, there are creatively sexy times.
I enjoyed this book very much. I don’t read SciFi so this alien story is well beyond my normal fare. But I’m always game to try something new so this was it. Some might consider the leash play and submission as mild BDSM, but I saw it more as part of the men’s relationship. There are more books to come, so I will be interested to see if these are explored further. I also liked that it was the grandmothers who are all powerful in the Rownt culture. Nice to see women revered and listened to.
John Solo narrated this book and I always enjoy his work. He did another good job with this story, especially with Liam’s officious senior officer. Overall, I enjoyed it. And may never think of alien tails the same way again.
There are several bonus stories at the end of the audio including some scenes from Ondry’s point of view which I enjoyed because the book is told entirely from Liam’s perspective. These stories added to the richness of the story.
9/10 pots of Gold (90% Recommended) – Compares to 4.5/5 Stars
Lynsey “Lyn” Gala started writing in the back of her science notebook in third grade and hasn’t stopped since. Westerns starring men with shady pasts gave way to science fiction with questionable protagonists which eventually gave in to any story with a morally ambiguous character. Even the purest heroes have pain and loss and darkness in their hearts, and that’s where she likes to find her stories. Her characters seek to better themselves and find the happy ending (or happier anyway), but it’s writing the struggle that inspires her muse. When she isn’t writing, Lyn Gala teaches in New Mexico.
She first cut her teeth on fanfic: gen, slash, het, and femslash. She prefers to focus on plot: mysteries and monsters and disasters, oh my, but sex can and does happen. Some of her stories focus on power exchange, bondage or bdsm. In her worlds, tops and bottoms are all mature, consenting adults. In fact, stories where they aren’t squick her badly, so don’t expect to find abuse stories in her journal.