Review: Kessa’s Pride by Kama Spice

14 Aug

Have you ever wondered what the Lion King would have been like if it had some sex in it? Have you ever thought to yourself, “Man, you know what the Lion King was missing? Hot sex. And lesbians. And dudes having sex with each other. How about some of that?” It took me a few pages to figure out that the story is set in Africa (honestly, I thought it was set in Canada at first—don’t ask me why) and once I had Africa on the brain, that song Circle of Life started playing in my head. My only frame of reference for Africa is what I’ve seen in movies: like the first part of Roots, that Matt Damon movie where he plays a rugby player and Morgan Freeman was the president of South Africa, the really awesome District 9 by Neill Blomkamp (which does not apply here at all), Leonardo Dicaprio’s awful accent in Blood Diamond, and most influentially, The Lion King, which is my favorite Disney movie of all time. Basically, while I was reading this book, I had the Lion King soundtrack playing in my head and I was imagining the characters walking around talking with an awful South African accent. That really says more about the state of America’s public school system than the author’s writing. Since 90% of what I know about life is derived from movies, I should probably watch Out of Africa with Meryl Streep, I Dreamed of Africa with Kim Basinger, the Ace Ventura movies, and The English Patient (scratch the last part: nothing in the world will ever get me to watch The English Patient. The title alone BORES me). Is there an Ernest movie where he goes to Africa? There is! YES!!!

I picked up this book because I was intrigued by the author’s nom de plume. Unless this is her real name— how awful would that have been? I bet she would have gotten in trouble at school and maybe while applying for a job, her resume would have gotten passed over even though it is awesome because the hiring managers thought her name was porny. And maybe on dates, the guy would have assumed she puts out on the 1st date and it would have been awkward every time she has to tell them she doesn’t have sex till the 10th date and then the guys would get mad and only pay for their half of the bill and yell at her for false advertising. Anyway, “Kama” is the Tagalog word for bed. It is also a Japanese word for sickle. But maybe the author was making a grammar joke “comma splice.” There’s also Kama Sutra, which I’ve heard is some kind of sex book with step-by-step instructions on how to do The Wheelbarrow (I’ve never read it— I’ve only seen excerpts on Glamour and Cosmo whenever they publish things like 25 Sexual Positions That Will Help You Keep a Man Excited and they tell you the positions are from the Kama Sutra). Or maybe Kama Spice is a spice like saffron that you add to paella and it has the same effect as Spanish Fly.

I have to admit that I kept reading the heroine’s name as Ke$ha. I’m sorry, Kama Spice, but I hate that “Don’t Stop, Make it Pop” song because she sounds drunk in it (how unprofessional is that?) and I think she’s a bad influence on young impressionable female minds. I don’t think anyone should brush their teeth with a bottle of Jack. Also, I don’t believe her when she says, “the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger… but we kick ‘em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger.” Twenty-three year old girls should not be attracted to decrepit one-hundred-and-thirty-seven year old men who are old enough to be their great-grandfathers. I will definitely kick someone to the curb for looking like Mick Jagger.

You’re probably wondering what this book is about, aren’t you? I’m getting there.

Valren Nimhah grew up hearing stories of Kessa Liah of the Silver lineage—one of the most powerful females in over a hundred years. As Leader King, he knew he would have to bring her back. She has risked the safety of the pride by living among humans. Besides, he was in heat and needed a powerful mate. What he hadn’t bargained for was how easily Kessa would drive him to the brink of madness, blinding him with savage desire.

Kessa Liah has managed to subdue her animal urges while living among humans. But after the death of her human mate, a Leader King finds her and promises to bring her back to everything she’s left behind. When he sends two males and a female to remind her of what a real cat in heat is like, she is powerless to resist. The familiar scent of Lith’han sex sends her into a frenzy. If this is how her body responds to ordinary pride members, resisting the lust of an alpha male will be almost impossible.

I like were-cat stories because I’m more of a cat person. I don’t really like werewolves because they probably have a wet dog smell when they get caught in the rain or something or just after a shower. Gross. I also like to picture other people in place of the book’s characters while I’m reading. It makes the book more fun. In place of Ke$ha, I pictured Cheetara from Thundercats even though she’s supposed to be a saber-toothed lion and for the black-haired hero, I substituted my dream man of the moment, the beautiful Nordic Viking god, Alexander Skarsgård. If I’m going to read some hot masturbatory material (why, yes, other authors, I may have gotten busy with myself reading your books too), I might as well have Alexander Skarsgård in there. And this book is hot. There is sex happening every five or six pages— not just with the hero and the heroine, their whole Pride revels in and celebrates sex, so a blow job is probably just a hey-how-you-doin’ so you probably shouldn’t expect anything after a sexual encounter with one of these creatures because you would probably just feel like a cheap slut if no one calls you back.

Ke$ha Liah is a widow. Her husband, Sher, with whom she shared a blissful human marriage for thirty years had died and their grown children are now living their own lives (Kama Spice, their children’s names are AWFUL). Ke$ha ditched her people long ago because she was disgusted by their depravity and licentiousness, fleeing to the world of the humans and transforming herself to a human female. In order to keep her charade as a human, she never shared with her husband of 30 years that she is one of the Cat People and used her magical cat powers to age herself in pace with him. Ke$ha has tried very hard to distance herself from her Cat People past and fortunately for her children, were-cat babies can only be produced with another Cat Person during a special ceremony where they share life essences or something, so they are not Cat People (their real name is some complicated made-up word with a glottal stop). Ke$ha comes from a long line of Silver Cat People who are very rare and powerful, so soon enough, she is found by a Lion Leader King of a local pride who is in search of a powerful mate to make his Queen. Ke$ha is not interested in going back to the Cat People lifestyle, so she sets out to escape, however she gets caught when she makes a pit-stop in the forest to make sweet, sweet love to a young interracial couple who are out camping. Ke$ha is a creature in constant heat because it is the nature of the Cat People, so when she comes upon the human couple who are in the middle of doing it, she says what’s up and they invite her to partake in the connubial good times. Isn’t that sweet? The pit-stop invites the attention of some hunter-and-tracker types dispatched by the Leader King to bring Ke$ha into the fold, so in order to save the human couple from being ravished and eaten, she runs the opposite way in order to get the minions to chase her instead. She gets caught soon enough and brought to face Valtrex**, the Leader King who wants Ke$ha to be his girlfriend.

While fighting off Valtrex—Ke$ha knows once she indulges in the good times with him, she will be fully absorbed back into the Cat People lifestyle and would never want to leave—she makes a new life for herself within the village, getting to know some folks and hanging out. She realizes that it’s not so bad—she has to sleep next to Valtrex every night and it is getting harder to resist him—because most of the Cat People seem to like her and they don’t seem to be the lustful, depraved, sex-hungry, flesh-eating perverts that she remembers from her youth, so she starts thinking, “Wow, you fuckers are all right.” But four times a year, an event called The Night of Revelry comes around and the Cat People celebrate by doing everything that made Ke$ha disgusted about the culture: indiscriminate sex-making and carnivorous consumption of bloody, meaty things. When she was a developing young Cat Person, she was caught and raped by a rogue Cat Person during the Night of Revelry, so she ran away to live among the humans. The Night of Revelry brings traumatic, painful memories to the surface for Ke$ha so she renews her determination to escape and live far, far away from the Cat People. It’s really too bad that Valtrex is not the brute she remembers meeting and has turned out to be a rational, if a bit old-fashioned, and gentle cat-man. Since Ke$ha ran away from her Pride before she could partake in the Lith’hah good times, she has never been with a Lith’han before and believes it would probably be awesome times. Which is why she will not have sex with Valtrex. It will just be too awesome.

Valtrex is a good guy. He is not one of those “mine, mine, mate, mate, heed me woman” type of Alpha-douchebags that seem to be prevalent in paranormal erotic romance these days. He listens to Ke$ha, seems to be a good leader, and it is only when Ke$ha openly defies him and questions his AUTHORITA in front of the others that he gets pissed and punishes her. And why wouldn’t he? He’s the King and for people to respect and obey him, he can’t have some feisty lady mouthing off to him and challenging his pronouncements. There’s really not much of a character development in this story for Valtrex: he seems to be a stable, steady cat who just wants to make Ke$ha his one Queen and he’s always got a ready equipment in order to satisfy her desires. He’s not weird or stalkery or overbearing or too pushy; he just seems to genuinely want this ultra-special limited-edition Cat Chick to be his #1 gal. Sure, it starts out as a matter of “pride,” being the one to capture one of these rare, elusive Silver Cat Chicks, but after getting to know her, he seems to genuinely like her. Yeah, Valtrex is a cool dude. He’s like the Matthew McConaughey of Alpha males. And why not? His tribe is all about sex, brew, weed, and good times, man.

Ke$ha, on the other hand, is more of a typical heroine: she’s stubborn, feisty, resistant to change, and can’t nobody hold her down. As Valtrex tells her, “The females want to be you, while the young males want to possess you.” It’s the usual stuff that super-special limited-edition chicks have to deal with. Oddly enough, even though Valtrex shows himself to be a fair-minded, logical, reasonable dude, she still assumes the very worst of him. I get that she has “trust” issues and she doesn’t really want to live with the Cat People and this King Dude is forcing her to stay, but— Hmm, I forget where I was going with that. I guess if I were Ke$ha, I’d be resistant to Valtrex’s advances too. Sure, he’s hot, but Ke$ha doesn’t want to be part of his pride. She wants to be an Independent, but as Valtrex tells her, that’s not allowed for Cat Chicks, so too bad for her.

This book is a very easy read. I was able to finish it in one hour. The sex scenes are hot, the h/h are not annoying and actually seem to like each other, and the story-telling kept my attention. My one point of contention is the lack of details in regards to the world-building. I didn’t totally buy it. Ke$ha is supposedly a “Silver Lith-hah” and it is mentioned early in the book that she is some kind of sabre-toothed lion, but it was unclear about what any of it means. There are other terms that are tossed about that the author doesn’t elaborate on: Awakening, Pre-Awakening, True Mate, and there are various rituals and ceremonies, but we are not shown the significance of any of it. What does it mean that Ke$ha ran away from her pride before she was “awakened”? What does it mean for her to be “awakened”? And why is Ke$ha so special? I get that she’s stronger, faster, and bigger in Lith-hah form than other females, but is that it? She seems to be able to shift her human forms so that she can appear younger or older, but is this a trait that is special to her? There also doesn’t seem to be monogamy in this pack and it just seems to be one big puppy (heh) pile. I would have liked to know more about the relationship structures. If somebody becomes your True Mate, does that mean you stop having sex with other Cat People? There is one scene where Ke$ha is watching while another naked Cat Chick approaches Valtrex and starts giving him a blow job. Their eyes meet, Ke$ha gets upset, and she runs away. Was she upset because some other chick had her dude’s penis in her mouth? I wasn’t able to sense if there was true, deep emotions about Ke$ha and Valtrex: they seem to like each other and enjoy the sexy times together, but I didn’t get the feeling that they’re in luuuuuurve or anything. Valtrex also mentions early in the book that he would like Ke$ha to be his “primary female.” Does that mean he gets to bone other chicks and she gets to bone other dudes? Is it a “free love” type of society? I have no problem with that if that’s the case, but I would have liked to read more about the culture, the customs, and the sociology of the pride. As it is, there are Ancients, the Council, the Leader King, and some warrior-types, all of which seem pretty generic.

All and all, I enjoyed Kama Spice’s writing. The prose is clean, the pacing is good, the characters are likable for the most part, and while the world-building could have been meatier, it’s worth a read. Check it out and buy it here.

Bam

** The hero’s name is not really Valtrex. I was just making a joke. It’s really Valren.

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4 Responses to “Review: Kessa’s Pride by Kama Spice”

  1. Kama Spice August 17, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    This review totally made me laugh my a$$ off. Thank you for reading and reviewing!

  2. pamelia August 18, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Sounds like I may have to break down and get an eReader after all.

  3. r4 August 28, 2010 at 12:38 am #

    I do not know about all but that sounds like a damn good read. I love my shapeshifters and I am so happy to welcome a newcomer to the family of Ellora’s Cave.

  4. Suzy September 2, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    I don’t think you need an ereader for Ellora’s Cave books. They’re mostly pdf’s you can download right away, I think.