Reviews for Already Published Books

REVIEW: Escaping Solitude by Sara Dobie Bauer

SUMMARY

42189648Publisher: NineStar Press
Release Date: October 29, 2018
Received From: Review requested by the author

Ancient vampire Andrew escaped his tropical island exile with his beloved human sailor, Edmund. They’ve now returned to Andrew’s home in nineteenth-century New Orleans and must navigate not only their developing relationship—and equally haunted pasts—but also a hungry coven of vampires Andrew used to call friends.

Desperate to stay by Andrew’s side forever, Edmund examines the impressive coven library in search of an Elder, the only creature capable of turning Edmund. Although missing for centuries, Andrew believes an Elder must still survive somewhere; they just have to find him.

The search is put on hold when Edmund receives word that his mother is ill in London, and the lovers set off on an oceanic journey surrounded by new friends and old enemies. When things go terribly wrong, Edmund’s fragile human life hangs in the balance, and an Elder must be found or Andrew will be alone forever.

GENDER SEXUALITY PAIRINGS

GENDER: cisgender
SEXUALITY: homosexual
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: homoromantic
PAIRING: M/M

TAGS TROPES WARNINGS

TROPES: age gap, instalove
TAGS: adult, historical, paranormal, erotica, romance, erotic romance, queer romance, queer characters, existing relationship
WARNINGS: sexual content, anti-fat language, ableism, slutshaming, sexual assault (nonconsensual groping), blood, racism (“exotic”), anti-native language, suicide mention, anti-queerness, slurs, racial slurs (g-psy), anti-sex worker, panic attack, anti-trans language, open water, physical injury

REVIEW

Well.

Despite disliking the first book of the trilogy, I decided to read this book because it’s the one the author initially contacted me about and so I already had a review copy. ESCAPING SOLITUDE was a bit better than ESCAPING EXILE, but it still wasn’t enough to redeem the book or series.

Once again, the concept behind the story is a good one! One I would enjoy! If it was done well. As with the first book, I had a multitude of issues, which I’ll get to next, but other than that, it was just boring. This book isn’t advertized or tagged as erotica anywhere on the publisher’s site, but that’s essentially all there is. Edward and Edmund having sex, Edmund sleeping with sex workers, numerous orgies at the vampire coven, and on and on and on. I wasn’t invested in either the main character, the love interest, or the remaining bits of the “plot” because they were completely lost in sex. And there’s obviously nothing wrong with sex, and lots of it, but don’t promise me one thing and deliver another.

Other than this, I had two main problems with this book: the queer representation (outside of the gay main character) and the anti-sex work sentiments.

I’ll talk about the queer representation first.

On NineStar Press, the book is tagged as “bisexual,” as is the first. With the first book and the majority of the second, I was extremely confused as to where the bisexuality comes into play (with the exception of one of the secondary characters), and I remain confused. Edmund is supposedly bisexual, according to NSP’s tagging system, but with the exception of two very brief instances, he always acts like women are gross and to interact with them sexually is to get cooties or something. And nonbinary people don’t appear to exist in this world, so I didn’t really see where he could’ve been bisexual. Which, as it turns out, he isn’t. Since he explicitly states near the end that he’s gay–that he once thought he liked women but some experimenting made him see he likes men. So.

And the second part of the queer representation that I had an issue with was another misrepresentation–this time with the second book being tagged with “polyamory.” Edward and Edmund are monogamous. They have a couple threesomes/foursomes in the novel before deciding to only sleep with each other. That’s…not what polyamory is. Adding the occasional extra body to your sexual activities doesn’t automatically equate to polyamory, and the label definitely did not ring true for this book.

The other thing I really too issue with was how anti-sex work this book is, especially considering there are multiple secondary characters who are sex workers. First of all, Bauer really likes the word “whore” and uses it with disturbing frequency. Even for the time period she’s writing in, it’s used A LOT. There’s slutshaming and anti-sex work comments made about Danys when Edward reflects on how the man could’ve made a living in the ports but instead decided to “fuck for money.” Also, multiple times throughout the novel, Edward thinks and/or says things like this:

This is not some nameless whore; this is Edmund, the man I love…and I almost just killed him.

It’s gross, fetishistic, and incredibly demeaning. A person is not better or more pure or more worthy of life because they aren’t a sex worker. And it’s disgusting that Bauer includes this kind of thing not only once, but multiple times throughout the book.

So, those are my big problems with the book. There were other, smaller ones as well, but nothing that was quite as upsetting as these.

RATING

2 STARS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

7226363Sara Dobie Bauer is a bestselling author, model, and mental health / LGBTQ advocate with a creative writing degree from Ohio University. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize, she lives with her hottie husband and two precious pups in Northeast Ohio, although she’d really like to live in a Tim Burton film. She is author of The Escape Trilogy and Bite Somebody series, among others sexy things.

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REVIEW BY LEAH

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