I want to thank Divine Magazine for hosting me. I appreciate the space and wish to celebrate your readers with a giveaway. But first…
There’s something enthralling about two people wanting exactly what the other desires, but circumstances pull them farther away from their needs and each other. (Sigh) I’m driven to hold them together even though their reality rips them apart. In The Craving, there are two couples who are fighting the odds stacked against their happily ever after’s.
The couple I’m going to talk about today both came from K’Dane, a progressive and moderately wealthy planet in the Xantha star system. All K’Danes go through the craving. The craving is an irresistible biological driving force that all must answer. It compels them to seek out their life mates to not only sate their lust, but also quench the overwhelming burning need to join. Although most connections result in a life mate bond, not all do.”
Phoenix Dotir is a talented artist and has been marked for a higher purpose, that of a Chosen. His dimensional art has the potential to end conflict, improve the quality of life in the Xantha star system, and will guide people towards a utopian like perfection. He’ll join the other dimensional artists at the Ambrosial monastery. It’s an incredible responsibility, which he takes very seriously.
Zadra Solav sees himself as a lowly Star Chaser’s son. Despite his family’s bad influence, he’s a good person and wants to break away to make something of his life. The stars call to him, and he wants nothing more than to answer them.
At their learning space, Phoenix becomes Zadra’s tutor. He uses his artistic ability to assist Zadra in successfully completing his classes. He struggles to push aside his very un-monastic desires to do purity protector (chastity belt) melting things with Zadra. Regardless of Phoenix’s wishes and desires, he’s a Chosen and his path requires he sacrifice the physical and spiritual connection with others for the sake of his art. He feels the weight of having the potential to affect the course of the star system.
Zadra’s drawn to Phoenix, but refuses to give into the desire to seek more. He must respect Phoenix’s status as a chosen, which makes him unobtainable. So Zadra settles for friendship… but a few simple touches and his entire existence is turned upside down.
Phoenix’s mother vowed to medicate him if he showed any signs of The Craving, which she ends up doing. Zadra’s family sends him into deep space.
Time and light years of distance doesn’t soothe for either of them. I ache just thinking about being pulled away from the one I need. It drove me to write The Craving.
💕 The Craving Blurb
The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.
Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.
Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.
Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.
Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.
💕 Review by Elaine White
Book – The Craving
Author – Z. Allora
Star rating – ★★★☆☆
No. of Pages – 280
Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 3rd person, multi-POV
Would I read it again – No.
Genre – LGBT, Fantasy
This was an interesting one. On one hand, there were things I loved, but on the other, there were things that I just didn’t really get. Hence the middle of the road 3-star rating. It wasn’t awful, it wasn’t brilliant, it was just okay. Whatever the reason, there was an indefinable something that failed to grab me within the story that has been in others of the genre; in comparison to the ‘feeling’, this one didn’t stack up.
First off, there was a bit of confusion over the language used. For a start, a shout of “Shards!” doesn’t really translate into anything obvious, nor did K’Dane. Further along, it felt like a bombardment of information as at the end of the first page we’re presented with 14 yo Nix being branded with ‘the mark’ that is explained right off the bat, with a lengthy info dump on all things even remotely related to ‘the mark’. For the first two pages, it was just too much information to take in and make sense of within the situation.
I wasn’t instantly grabbed by the story. I couldn’t figure out why we started with Nix so young, at 14, when he wasn’t due to begin his training until the age of eighteen. I felt that maybe the first 1-2 chapters could have been condensed into a flashback memory (of the likes used later on in the story) or made into a prologue, if the scene where Nix was marked was so important. But I’m not really convinced that it was necessary. And that’s part of the problem. There were things that, as I was reading, I hoped and expected to read about later, which never happened. But there was an equal amount of scenes that we didn’t really need to see to understand what came next, but which were told in a lot of detail.
I found that the whole concept of the galaxy and its systems took a little getting used to, with all the specific words and phrases, the concepts of life mates and ‘nucleus’. There were a whole lot of species that were mentioned, explained or explored in detail that weren’t really needed. There was also a whole lot of information to learn about each of them.
There were a few times when I just had to accept that I’d never quite grasp the concept of some things and others where I tried to re-read to find out if that helped. It usually didn’t.
To be honest, the story felt really long. Chapter 1 alone was 7% and there was a 2-year time span between Chapters 1 and 2. If some of this had been cut out or condensed into flashbacks, as I said earlier, that really would have helped. Instead, we got 4 Chapters for Phoenix’s POV alone, at the very start, giving very detailed information about his family, his sister, his passion for painting, the craving and so forth, but none of it was really all that relevant to what came later. Then, by Chapter 4 we finally got Zadra’s POV, but it only lasted for one chapter, to show us his experience of the craving. Chapter 5 switched to Eros’ POV, Chapter 6 offered up Riva’s POV and then it became a bait-and-switch between those two until Chapter 10 when we finally returned to Nix’s POV. After that, it switched between Nix, Zadra and Riva. I don’t really recall having Eros’ POV again after this point.
The focus of the story, despite the blurb, is actually heavily slanted towards sex, which wasn’t what I’d been expecting. Nix is this holier-than-thou wannabe monk who has a calling, but who can’t resist Zadra when they meet and lust sets in. Zadra is the older, hotter guy zonesing for the geek but knowing he can’t have him. Their play of flirtation was exciting until the craving set in and their relationship seemed to take on the focus of when they could finally get into each other’s pants.
The same could be said for Riva and Eros, who are happily getting to know each other in a very short space of time but suddenly end up with the worst case of blue-balls-repression in history once they reach the monastery and are now jumping each other every chance they get.
It got a little tiresome after a while to see that their only real interactions were based on sex when they all claimed in their own POV’s that they wanted more.
I liked the characters. Individually, Riva, Eros, Zadra and Nix were all very likable and sweet, each having their own adventure. They interacted well together and within their couples. They all had a bit of tragedy or hardship to overcome.
There were positive explorations beyond the romance, which really helped my liking of the story. Such as Riva’s stutter (though I wasn’t thrilled that it was ‘cured’ by a stasis pod). There was also a running challenge to the established authority, questioning things like gender segregation, a refusal to acknowledge the nonbinary, love, soul mates, sex, identity, slavery and sexuality. A decent attempt was made to challenge each one, but it was limited to the last third of the book.
I liked the way that Eros had hair that changed colour, letting us know his mood even when we were in someone else’s POV. However, I do think this attributed to the fact that he never really got another POV again.
There is some seriously detailed world building, but it got to the point that I felt I needed a map or a key chart with me at all times to remember everything. From the names of species to their worlds and laws, there was a whole lot of information provided. Sadly, it wasn’t easy to remember.
While the romances were sweet, they were a little superficial. The writing was a little minimalist for me because I like deeper explorations of mind, description and the plot overall. The flirtations were cute, most of the sex was decently hot and the characters were all likable. But the whole thing was resolved a little too neatly, the relationships lacked true chemistry that made me root for them and I wasn’t hooked on the story from page 1 or even Chapter 5.
There is a whole lot going on within the plot of story, especially since it focused on four (five if you include Yoshio) character’s and their individual POV. Other continuous characters throughout the story are the ruler and his body slave, Tai. It wasn’t easy to follow most of the time. It was disappointing to finally be getting into Nix and Zadra’s story only to switch to a whole new romance on the horizon.
Though the story was good, it just didn’t jump out at me as something I’d read again and again or that would inspire me to revisit the author. The story read as 3 shorts that had been blended together; 1 – Nix and Zadra, 2 – Riva and Eros, 3 – all of them coming together after their escape and bringing change to their world.
I see another book on the horizon, based on how it ended, but there is no warning that this is part of a series, so if you don’t mind a bit of a cliffhanger it’s fine. If you hate not getting the complete story, I’d maybe wait until the next part comes out (if there is one).
Sadly, though it’s called “The Craving” the story didn’t focus on that aspect of the story, merely using it to further the plot. The story was really about Nix and Zadra and their adventures between finding one another and actually ending up together. Everything in between was just another push together them figuring out their relationship.
“Their trajectories were in opposite directions, but…
They could go somewhere in the Shadow Forest. Zadra would build them a one-room shelter. They’d have one very large sleepfoam… and Phoenix didn’t only want to sleep on it. That’s all they would need.
Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.
💕 Meet Z. Allora:
Allora believes in happily ever after’s for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.
To contact Z. Allora: