Title: The Chosen Sin
Author: Anya Bast
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Erotica (or is it Erotic Paranormal Romance?)
Stand alone or series: Stand alone novel
Why did I read this book: This was a huge leap out of my comfort zone–as neither Ana nor I have read any erotica. But, there was a lot of buzz online about this book, and when we received it in the mail, I took it as a sign. And I’m not one to back down from a challenge, so what the hell. I decided to give it a read.
Summary: (from amazon.com)
The Chosen are vampires fighting for their very existence. It is Daria Morris’s destiny to become one of them…
Daria is a special forces agent with one obsession: to wreak vengeance on the vampire who nearly destroyed her. But to succeed, she must become something she detests: a vampire. Her fate rests upon Alejandro Martinez, a sexy vampire with whom she once shared an unforgettable night of scorching passion.
Now, while Daria struggles against her newfound bloodlust, the two must slip into the shadows to bring a monster to justice—even as their desire threatens to consume them…
This eagerly anticipated new release from Anya Bast definitely was a push out of what I normally read. I have read some of the racier paranormal romance novels of Kresley Cole (Ana dared me), and the excellent fantasy novels of the Kushiel’s Legacy series are some of my all time favorites–and still, The Chosen Sin took me by surprise with the graphic encounters. Not that it is a bad thing! Just not what I’m used to.
Daria Morris is a top human agent for the ABI–that is, the Allied Bureau of Investigation. Years ago, Daria had fallen in love with her ABI partner, Christopher Sante, only to be betrayed in the worst way. Sante in fact is an ancient and powerful Chosen–a vampire–who masqueraded as a human and used Daria to aid his mission, killing Daria’s good friend and others in bloodlust. Seven years later, Daria has a chance to infiltrate Sante’s operation in an inter-agency attempt to bring him down. Ari, the daughter of a prominent political figure, Mr. Templeton who spearheads the movement against Chosen and Succubare rights, has disappeared. Both father and the investigative agencies suspect Sante has abducted Ari and is keeping her captive in The Shining Way (a sort of vampire/succubare only gated community) and Daria has eagerly enlisted for her chance at vengeance. There’s only one catch: in order to get into The Shining Way, Daria must become a vampire. And she must undergo the transformation immediately, with old friend and one night stand Alejandro Martinez. After undergoing radical plastic surgery to alter her appearance, Daria is ready to be “Chosen”, and undergoes the process of transformation. Together, Daria, Alejandro and another agency teammate enter The Shining Way, ready to find dirt and bring Sante down for good.
So…where to begin. I think this book had some very strong elements. I particularly liked the spin of vampires as “Chosen”–certain humans are “marked”–that is, they have a genetic predisposition to vampirism, allowing them to “break through” the final barrier and become a full Chosen easily (such as Alejandro). Most humans, like Daria, are not marked and have a difficult transformation–almost always ending with the subject unable to break through the final barrier, and as such they become Succubare. While Chosen feed off blood and are full vampires, the Succubare must gain their sustenance from sex. The differentiation between the two–with Chosen as drinkers of the blood, and Succubare as drinkers of the flesh–is intriguing, and the notion of becoming one of these creatures as almost a trial of will is wonderfully original. Although I don’t know why the lesser immortals are called “Succubare”–why not just stick with the standard succubus/incubus nomenclature? I did like the “Chosen” label, however, indicating that only a select group of marked mortals or those of incredible will are deserving of the title.
One problem I had with the book was that it was all a little too much–to be fair this is a problem I have with a lot of newer paranormal/sf romance novels. You might be thinking that this book takes place on earth, in sort of an alternate, urban fantasy type setting (like say, Driven by Eve Kenin). Well–you’re wrong. The Chosen Sin in fact takes place hundreds of years in the future. In outer space. Given that readers are asked to suspend disbelief with the Chosen and the Succubare, it’s too much to also set the story in the distant future and in a different solar system orbiting a different star (oops–not orbiting. Because this amazing new solar system has planets that defy the laws of physics, as they are completely static bodies and do not rotate so as to afford Vampires life in eternal night). Maybe I would have been willing to accept the futuristic outer space setting, had it really been essential to the story–but it wasn’t. This book could easily have been set on present day Earth. The only futuristic elements in the book were souped up taser/lazer guns, and really fast ATVs–and these easily could have been replaced with regular ATVs or dirt bikes and taser weapons.
The plot of the story itself is pretty straightforward. No surprises here–the subversive villain is pretty easy to figure out, and of course Sante is up to no good. Character-wise, it’s a mixed bag. Daria is well-written–she has been through serious trauma with her former love (Sante), and as such refuses to trust or love anyone anymore. Even when Alejandro pours his heart out to her, she wants to accept and return his love but cannot because of her baggage. I applaud Ms. Bast for this, and for spinning it such that it is the chick with the issues and not the dude. Beyond that, however, both Alejandro and Daria are the usual “I cannot keep my hands off you”/”I must possess you at any cost!” type of characters. Which is fine, but any paranormal romance lead characters could have been slipped into either of Daria or Alejandro’s parts and it would have been exactly the same. A world of meh, for me. The villainous Sante takes a ridiculous turn in the story. I don’t want to spoil anyone, but in the words of my coworker–my eyes rolled all the way to the back of my head, where I could see my brain, and my brain was pissed off for having to read the silly plot twist.
And then…there’s the sex. Granted, this is an erotic paranormal romance, so I had prepared myself for lots of it. But WOAH. There’s a whole heap of it, especially for the first half of the book. Poor Alejandro has an uncomfortable erection for basically the first 200 pages, meanwhile Daria is “creaming her panties” (that’s a direct quote) every other page at the slightest movement. I get that the point of erotica is the sex. Which is cool–but I get a little tired of the nonstop action after an hour or so. Plus…as I said before, the Kushiel’s Legacy series is one of my favorites and there are some very disturbing and explicit scenes of sexual nature in those books–so I am no shrinking violet (plus, all of the scenes in the Kushiel books aren’t exactly play-by-plays, and are written as integral to the plot and not necessarily for erotic/titular purposes). There are a few racy scenes in this book that just aren’t for me (I’m not even going there with the cheesy sexy talk).
Call it immaturity, but when the sex toys come out, I start giggling like a hyena. I mean, it’s Vampires. In outer space. With sex toys.
Overall, I thought The Chosen Sin had some compelling elements, and I’m always up for pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone. This novel certainly was an interesting excursion into the world of erotica…but ultimately, it’s just not for me.
Notable Quotes/Parts: I found it hilarious that the secret, dastardly cover-up for Christopher Sante’s illegal activities was in teddy bear production.
Additional Thoughts: Honestly, I found that once Daria and Alejandro finally do it and the story starts moving again (again, this is about 200 pages in), the plot picks up and is entertaining.
So my question to you is–is there such a thing as TOO much sex? I certainly felt that the lengthy, never ending erotic parts of this book were to the detriment of the story. Are erotica novels supposed to be read and judged as other works of fiction–or is this a bit like me criticizing the acting and plot in “Buffy Goes Down Under”?
Verdict: Not bad, but not great either. I’m sure fans of Ms. Bast’s work won’t be disappointed. It’s just not really my thing.
Rating: 5 Meh. Take it or leave it.
Reading Next: Goddess of the Sea by P.C. Cast