Thursday, August 11, 2022

REVIEW: Barbarian Alien (book) by Ruby Dixon

Barbarian Alien is the second book in Dixon's Ice Planet Barbarians erotic romance (or erotica?) series. I bought my copy brand new.


This starts near the end of the first book and features a different couple, Liz and Raahosh. Raahosh knows immediately that Liz is his mate but does his best to hide the way his khui (a worm-like alien symbiont) responds to her. When it comes time for the humans to either accept a khui of their own or die from the planet's effect on them, Raahosh takes the opportunity to both ensure that Liz accepts a khui and to kidnap her, taking her to a cave only he knows about so that he has a better chance of convincing her to accept him as his mate without others' interference.

Liz is understandably angry about this at first, especially as her new khui makes it impossible for her not to lust after Raahosh. Granted, she'd been somewhat interested in him all along, but he was also surly and she would've appreciated the chance to choose who she had sex with. Eventually, though, she begins to thaw towards Raahosh. However, what sort of future will they be able to have now that he's broken one of his people's laws and endangered a precious female?

I knew going in that I'd have issues with this book - the first book laid out the whole bones of Liz and Raahosh's relationship, plus their basic personalities. I knew Liz would be the kind of character who'd talk tough all the time, I knew that her and Raahosh's relationship would somehow blossom out of him literally kidnapping her, and I knew Raahosh was going to be annoyingly possessive. But this series seemed like the sort that should be read in order, so I figured I'd just have to deal with it in order to get to the books with couples that actually appealed to me.

While I somehow can't say I hated this book, I definitely disliked it. I hated the setup, from Raahosh's kidnapping of Liz to the way Liz did a total 180 in her attitude towards the kidnapping when Raahosh's people found them again. I was actually fine with Liz herself up until she was back with the main group and deliberately became an abrasive jerk in her efforts to be with Raahosh. And Raahosh's possessiveness was annoying.

The author tried to stir up reader sympathy for Raahosh by making him one of those damaged guys with a tragic past who just wants to be loved. He cared deeply for Liz and would die to protect her! And I...didn't care. Because I couldn't forget or forgive all the ways he took away Liz's choices and set things up so he'd get what he wanted, even if Liz's khui had to force the issue. Liz was going to end up lusting after Raahosh no matter what, due to the effects of the khui (which she might have refused if Raahosh had given her a choice - yes, she'd have died, but it would have been her decision). What Raahosh wanted to avoid was any possibility that Liz might be able to choose to live apart from him - an option she would have had if he hadn't kidnapped her.

I'd have preferred it if Raahosh had had to figure out how to win Liz over in a situation where she'd had other options. He'd have instantly been more appealing, and I wouldn't have nearly gotten mental whiplash from watching Liz suddenly be all "actually, the kidnapping was justified and poor Raahosh was just doing what he felt was necessary" after chapters and chapters of stubborn refusal to fall in line with Raahosh's plans.

As in the first book, the sex was more important than the sci-fi aspects, so I only got tidbits of new information about this world in between Liz and Raahosh either lusting after each other, performing various sex acts, or just having sex, period. In fact, I think the sci-fi aspects were even lighter in this book than they were in the first.

The next book stars Kira (a serious woman who had a translator device surgically implanted onto her ear) and Aehako (a cheerful young alien). I'm looking forward to their story a good deal more than I did this one, although, as usual, I'll probably find myself wishing this series were a little more "sci-fi romance and adventure" and a little less "great gobs of sex scenes."


Two bonus stories: "Games," in which Liz attempts to cheer Raahosh up; and "Ice Planet Honeymoon: Raahosh & Liz," in which Liz and Raahosh go on their next round of semi-exile but call it a honeymoon, and Raahosh makes a mess of things while struggling with his abandonment issues. Also, an author's note, and a list of series characters and some basic descriptions.

No comments:

Post a Comment