I’m not sure what I expected with this book, but it wasn’t what I got. When I requested a copy of this book from the publisher I expected a fun parody of The Hunger Games, but ultimately it wasn’t. This is my honest opinion and I received nothing in return.
Let’s start with the good. There is a lot of potential in this writer, the ideas and the story adaptation are there, it’s the translation to the page that needs work. The story is a basic copy of The Hunger Games but it’s solely men entered into the tournament and rather than just killing for survival there has to be some sort of erotic act as well. I think the best thing about this novel, by far, is the name of the government drag queen: Lady Mary Posa.
Mariposa is the Spanish word for butterfly and is often times used in a derogatorily (similar to fag or queer), but in choosing to re-empower this word and have a, what I’m assuming is supposed to be funny, drag queen embrace the name and make it her shtick is quite creative and charming. And the authors creativity is further seen through his imagination (or my lack of imagination) to include the myriad pleasure devices mentioned within the arena.
Now on to the not so good. The story wasn’t a bad attempt at a fan-fiction novel, but the writing just wasn’t there. This was Alexander’s first novel and he can only go up from here. I think a good set of editors could have pushed this from a poor novel to a mediocre or better novel. There were quite a few continuity errors and there were a lot of basic grammar and punctuation errors (that I hope are remedied before this book goes into final production).
In addition I had issues making the jump to many of the premises the author presumed true, i.e. the registering solely as a top or a bottom for the games, and although he attempted to use this as a way for the main character to break the bonds in being versatile, it just felt so forced and trite that I just couldn’t bypass the issues. This only compounded the hardest part to come to terms with in the novel, not being able to identify with any of the characters.
The characters weren’t poorly written, they just weren’t written in a way to encourage any sort of identification, empathy or even sympathy. I think this is due to a compounding of errors: the length of the novel (short), the author trying to stick too close to the original and simultaneously trying to do too much. As I said with Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, and many other Austen fan-fiction novels, the best fan-fiction novels are those that remove themselves far enough from the original to only be inspired by and not mirrors of.
Recommendation: This one is definitely a pass. Although there were some highlights and the author shows promise, between the continuity errors and my inability to identify with the characters I just don’t see recommending this to others.
Opening Line: “The fawn must die so that I may live.”
Closing Line: “I love you too, soul mate.” (Whited out.)