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The Scorpion's Empress Kindle Edition
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Never in my life have I been so in love with characters and their names! This book has the best names for characters I have read in at least 10 years, lending even more to it's originality and it's uniqueness.
In a world of make believe, two forces of nature collide. Each have her own strength. Each have an agenda. Each have multiple enemies. This book has it all! Paladins and Knights. An Empress fighting to save a destitute nation. A warrior out to seek revenge and protect her baby sister. The suspense just about killed me, as I couldn't decide who was hunting who. I couldn't wait for the "Scorpion" warrior to catch up with the Empress!!! But through it all, gripping sub plots and fascinating back stories filled each page, demanding my undivided attention and getting it.
There were some scenes that weren't very realistic, but this is in a world of make believe, remember? Apart from that I found it to be tasteful, not over the top compared to other Sub/Dom, Lesbian Erotica I have read. This is a love story, filled with passion long since forgotten by most authors. This is true gay fiction. This is your next read if you don't want to miss out on really good writing, perfect timing and a world so rich, your imagination is tested to it's limits!
As an avid erotica reader and a writer of erotic novels, I’m always on the lookout for new talents in this genre because we do need them. Yoshiyuki Ly does NOT disappoint. I found her voice remarkable and her style refreshing. That’s why I wish I could rate this as a five-star book; however, I couldn’t ignore some aspects.
Although the overall quality of the writing is quite good, it’s not consistently so. Some parts of the book are excellent whereas others are just good. For example, the way she writes the characters’ background stories is engaging; however, world building is a bit spotty, which is a shame because this seems to be quite an interesting fantasy world and I’d have liked to understand it better.
Another point I struggled with was wording. I for one don’t think it’s necessary to use eighteenth century English in fantasy books in order for royal characters to sound noble or their subjects to sound respectful. And Yoshiyuki Ly doesn’t do that in Scorpion’s Empress, which I appreciate. She uses formal structures, although not over-the-top ones mixed up with informal utterances. However, the formal/informal registers are unevenly distributed. For instance, Raj, who’s the Empress, will sound very formal when we read her reflections yet extremely informal when she’s addressing people in some dialogues. It gets to the point that she would use words and expressions such as “ain’t”, “gonna”, and “you sayin’ this s*** to me”. It feels odd.
The Scorpion Empress possesses many positive points. The use of first-person POV always gives the reader a privileged seat from which to better enjoy a story. Here, the writer chooses to tell the story in alternating chapters from Raj’s (The Empress) and Videl’s (The Paladin) perspective. We go inside their fertile minds and have a chance to understand their motivations, fears, and weaknesses. I particularly appreciated the choosing of names for characters and places. Some are ironic, some poetic, and many carry a distinct double entendre. Some examples are Mistress Fury, Excalibur, Slutgarden, Eden and Nirvana.
As for the plot, it’s gripping and engaging with quite a few twists and turns, which despite being predictable, make sense in the story. Finally, character development is rich and believable both for main characters and secondary ones. I don’t write spoilers so I’ll be a little vague now, but one of my favorite moments is a poignant scene when Raj goes back to her hometown and Videl offers her support. Without getting into too much detail I can say it’s an extremely well-written, powerful moment for both characters. Kudos, Ms. Ly!
I always leave my favorite bit for last - erotica content. This is my area of expertise and I can vouch for The Scorpion’s Empress. It’s very well-written; however, I’d have used less metaphors in some key moments during the sex scenes. But that’s only me and I’m sure a lot of people wouldn’t agree with me. As far as BDSM goes, the author must have done a great deal of research about the topic because the scenes are believable and hot.
Finally, as far as I understand, The Scorpion’s Empress is Yoshiyuki Ly’s first novella, which means it wouldn’t be fair to expect perfection. Nevertheless, it is an excellent debut story and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.