Let me start off with saying that Mercenaries is just pure sexy! It is three novellas in a space faring world where mercenaries have nano implants that make them stronger, faster and smarter. Within the first 50 pages there is a threesome involving some nice bondage. And is far from the only one. The scenes are steamy and a hell of a lot of fun. The sex scenes are heavy on dominance/submission and bondage games during sex, but not outside of it, so if you are not into that then it is not worth it. If you are at all into it, it DEFINITELY is. I don’t know a lot about the workings of a relationship that uses this dynamic regularly during sex, other than what I have read in stories like these, but I thought it was a really positive portrayal. The consent was clear and the only possible sticking point would be the third one (she is clearly hot for him from the beginning but the addition of pheromones could make it a bit difficult to swallow) and that has less of the dom/sub aspect than the others. Right off the bat in the first story a safe word is established. The second story even has a message of accepting who you are even if that puts you at odds with your family’s expections (she is submissive but her family of dominants would find this shameful).
This brings be to why I think this is a book that fits well with feminism. The women she creates are strong women. They know what they want (escaping from their abusive cult colony, helping the victims of her psycho sister and helping run her mother’s domain, returning to her ship after a crash landing) and they skillfully, bravely and intelligently go after that goal. The sticking part for some feminists is the submission. Many believe that to submit to a man even, or maybe especially, in the bedroom is failing the cause. These stories show that this just is not true. These women CHOOSE to be sexually submissive. The men are not abusing them. They are part of a healthy and fulfilling dynamic. These women clearly shows their equality to the their partner and not cowed by them in the least. The fact is that everyone is different, a cliche but, since it is true, that is not a surprise. The point of feminism is to allow women and men to be who they really are. This may be dominant, submissive, a stay at home mom/dad or a single, childless workaholic or anywhere in between. As long as someone is given the opportunity to be whatever they want we have to respect their choices.
I only have a few minor complaints*. First, all the characters fall in love by the end of their novella with someone they have known a couple of weeks at most and they propose and get married. I understand that the novella is short, but why do they have to be married or why can’t she jump a couple of months down the road? It felt like a rushed endings to an otherwise well written erotic/romantic tale. Second, she tends to end chapters in the middle of a sex scene and pick it up where she left off in the next one. I don’t have any idea why she does it. I thought it broke up the flow a bit, but certainly not enough to destroy the heat she builds. She also puts a lot of standard breaks throughout her sex scenes, but this is when she switches perspective so it makes sense even if it can be jarring.
My biggest complaint is that all the submissive partners are female. I count this as minor, since this is just one author and three short stories. There are a lot of possible reasons for this. It may be that she is submissive, so it is difficult for her to think of a woman as dominant. It could just be that she didn’t get around to it. At some points they do take a dominant role, but that is often the last sex scene and is cut in the middle or the guy ends up topping from the bottom, as it were.
I give this 4.5 somethings. I want to come up with something kinda dirty to use. Dildos maybe. What do you guys think? Or flames, maybe? I could find tiny dildo pics or whatever I decide on and put however many of them at the beginning of the post. I want to make reviews of erotica/pornography, both printed and online, a regular thing.
*I am not complaining about the total heterosexuality of it, since I think unrealistic homosexual erotica is probably worse than no homosexual erotica.