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More Terrible Than Chains: Leanna's Story Paperback – November 5, 2008
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One of the biggest examples of what the writer missed in his own story was that his main character had more backstory that would have been a great opportunity to tell and fill in the gaps. Leanne was a spy and that in itself would have been great fodder to use for the story or to stretch it out into it's own series. Especially when it came to how she was able gather everything she needed at the start of the book.
In short, if you want an example of how to NOT write a novel then look no further.
Now, don't get me wrong! There were interesting parts in this book! They just seemed to get swept aside so that there could either be a sex scene or the narration could drill into your head how poor and helpless the character is. A little more conflict could have made this book amazing, but as it is, I'm afraid it's subpar.
There is more artwork in the paperback edition. If that's important to you, I recommend spending the extra bucks. For me, the words are enough, so I don't miss the few pictures that the author had to cut to make the eBook file size fit within a limit imposed on him by one of his distribution channels.
Disclaimer: I have also reviewed the paperback edition.
No, the writing isn't up to Heinlein's level. (Not yet -- I'm going to keep watching this author!) And as in "Life's Dream" I was left wanting a little more deviousness in the plot. But the story has such a wonderful cast of characters!
Imagine Cordwainer Smith's "underpeople" in a Star Trek-like civilization. Now imagine an unscrupulus gene-sculptor deciding that hard-wiring slavery at the genetic level is a good idea. Add the fact that virtually any new technology will almost certainly get used for sexual purposes. And you wind up with a segment of the Chakat universe (the Non-Aligned Planets) where slavery is legal and virtualy every combination of species can be a sex slave.
Leanna is a one-off custom design. Based on a fennic fox and with both male and female "equipment", she (or "shi") is subjected to terrible sexual sadism and conditioned to accept it -- and the combination of the gene-sculpting and conditioning is "More Terrible than Chains". Shi is also a sometime industrial spy; shi is a lot smarter than shi lets on. Shi will prevail and you will cheer.
If you don't mind the adult content (and it isn't gratuitous -- it's necessary to the story and to explain the characters' motivations) and the idea of an anthropomorph hasn't stretched your suspension of disbelief to the breaking point, try this book.
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