Book Review: Toxic Desire by Robin Lovett
Twilight In Space, with less stalking and more sex pollen
Yep, you read that right. Sex pollen as a trope has made it out of the fanfiction world and into mainstream publishing. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, enter it into the search box at TVTropes.org. You may never emerge again.
This is basically Space Porn with Plot - a human woman crash-lands on a planet with an alien soldier, and literally everything on the planet turns out to be a toxically strong aphrodisiac. They should hate each other, but instead they can’t wait to get it on. He’s a Superior Species - he’s literally golden and shiny - and by the Power of Magical Wang he makes her shiny too! (See? Twilight. He even has fangs.)
There are an awful lot of tropes thrown into this excuse for a plot - there’s All Men Are Evil In The Future, Women Will Save The Human Race, Humans are DNA-Coded to be Imperialist Aggressors, and more, but frankly it’s making me tired to think about it. The author worked very, very hard to stay away from the icky non-consensual issues which make sex pollen a very problematic trope to work with, but in doing so she managed to fall head-first into a whole bunch of other stereotypical pitfalls.
The sex was hot and well-written, but my god, there was a lot of it. I cringed just to think about the heroine wandering around a hostile alien landscape wearing nothing but boots and leather pants (yes, that is a thing which happens. No, I am not making this up). And then the race of voyeuristic aliens turns up.
The writing was good, and the editing top-notch. But for that hot mess of Porn With Plot, I can’t award any more than two stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.