The romance blogosphere is abuzz with The Last Hour of Gann, a self-published erotic horror novel by R. Lee Smith. I’ve read many reactions to it, from effusive praise to reasons why it’s a DNF to “WTF lizard man pr0n? Are you on crack?”
Here’s the summary from Goodreads:
It was her last chance:
Amber Bierce had nothing left except her sister and two tickets on Earth’s first colony-ship. She entered her Sleeper with a five-year contract and the promise of a better life, but awakened in wreckage on an unknown world. For the survivors, there is no rescue, no way home and no hope until they are found by Meoraq—a holy warrior more deadly than any hungering beast on this hostile new world…but whose eyes show a different sort of hunger when he looks at her.
It was his last year of freedom:
Uyane Meoraq is a Sword of Sheul, God’s own instrument of judgment, victor of hundreds of trials, with a conqueror’s rights over all men. Or at least he was until his father’s death. Now, without divine intervention, he will be forced to assume stewardship over House Uyane and lose the life he has always known. At the legendary temple of Xi’Matezh, Meoraq hopes to find the deliverance he seeks, but the humans he encounters on his pilgrimage may prove too great a test even for him…especially the one called Amber, behind whose monstrous appearance burns a woman’s heart unlike any he has ever known.
From R. Lee Smith, author of Heat and Cottonwood, comes an epic new story of desire, darkness and the dawn that comes after The Last Hour of Gann.
WARNING: This book contains graphic violence, strong sexual content and explicit language. It is intended for mature readers only.
I first heard about this book from my BFF, Meka, who tweeted me saying we should read the book together. She may have meant that in the sense of, “Hey, sometime in the nebulous future we should read this book, right after I watch some paint dry but before I start monitoring grass growth.” However, I immediately got excited and suggested a joint
review. Then I realized the book was massive, and I belong to three book clubs for which I have to read long tomes, and fitting an even longer book into the mix wasn’t happening. Rather than shelve the project, I thought it might be fun to do this as a readalong.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am not a fan of alphas in romance. I never have been. However, my taste in other speculative fiction runs to the dark. I once suggested that we read one of my favorite dark fantasy novels at one of my millions of book clubs, of which Meka is a member. She couldn’t finish it. I can’t stomach rape, but rape as backstory is a thing Meka enjoys.
What? This is a horror novel? You did *not* tell me that when we were first talking about doing this, missy! You have some ‘splainin to do!
It is not my fault you didn’t click on the Amazon links. You would have seen that designation, although it sounds like the book is more dark sci-fi than horror.
Anyway, Shannon and I are constantly giving each other book recommendations that we might read, eventually, sometimes years down the line, so the fact that she latched on to this title and all of a sudden came up with this awesome idea has kind of floored me. So here I am, along for the ride and a little worried. While she and I might not be the book twins that we first thought we were, we have a way of talking about books with one another that is pretty hilarious. At least to us. Also, I will have all the alphas. But not the alphaholes!
Not all the alpha holes, though. This one is a lizard man, remember? Though I have to say that what I’m picturing is an evil version of the lizard creatures from Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books. You’re welcome for the fact that I probably ruined a childhood fantasy classic forever.
Anyway, before we get too sidetracked, here’s how this works: There are eight sections in the book, each of which is divided into chapters. We’ll read one section a week for the next eight weeks, and post our thoughts on the blog. Anyone who wants to
discuss the book with us further is welcome to do so in the comments. We ask that you not spoil later parts of the book if you’ve read ahead, though we will spoil the hell out of the sections we’re reading.
Our goal is to be even-handed, praising where praise is due and offering criticism where we think appropriate. I certainly don’t want this to become a
protracted love fest or pile-on.
We’ll try to do this every Friday. There are a couple of weeks I know
it’ll be hard to manage, but we’ll do our best. We’re both excited to
get this project going, and we’re looking forward next week to starting
with Book I: Amber.
despite my worries that the hero is a lizardman, which I am totally judging by the way because I need my normal catman alphas, I am really looking forward to reading this book. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi at all, and Shannon is like the sci-fi mistress. I’m just going to say this–I heard that there is a lot of rape in this book. I think I can handle that. But if even one puppy gets shot, I’m out of here!
See you all next week!