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Ontology on the gone!

The Journal of the Lincoln Heights Literary Society
Miscellanea and Ephemeron

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07/30/2008 Archived Entry: "e-Book review: Hart and Soul"

Hart and Soul
Written by Nica Berry
Published by Torquere Press
ISBN-10:  1603704000
ISBN-13:  9781603704007

Review by Jilly Gee

Niann, orphaned child of an outsider, was only ever truly loved by Jennar.  Because of their statuses, however, the two led very different lives; Niann was forced to carry out menial children's tasks while the others were allowed to go out and find their totem animal, giving them a purpose in life.  It is not simply the fact that Niann was an outsider that kept others from allowing him to go find his totem animal, though; Heyka, the village shaman, had forseen Niann's totem animal as the deer, and planned with the village leader to keep this to themselves, making it all the easier to take advantage of Niann when the time came.  After all, can't have the young man who will soon be forced to live as a woman, serving to fulfill the urges of both men and women every day knowing about such a plan beforehand.

Seeing as how Niann actually does start thinking of himself as female, it's stretching the boundaries of "gay erotica romance" a bit, going so far as to have Niann being referred to as "her" and "she" throughout the latter half of the story.  Still, his anatomy is still that of a "he", as is demonstrated several times, though only one of those times is with Jennar.  Well, only once as a human, anyway.

"Hart and Soul" has a lot of sexual freedom, not only relationship-wise, but form-wise.  The couple's first sexual encounter is actually as two stags, consisting of sniffing, nuzzling, and thrusting.  While it's obvious that Jennar and Niann only have true feelings for each other, that doesn't stop Jennar from fulfilling his desires with others, even bedding women, against his more intense desires, although it seems more like those women bedded him. Niann gives himself to others sexually quite often, not stopping to consider a "mate".  These things can leave a bad taste for people that hold love stories in a much more idealistic view then the real world.

Even though I prefer the men manlier and the relationships more monogamous, I still found myself drawn in by Niann and Jennar's strong feelings for each other, the sweet, yet gut-wrenching moments that occur as they miscommunicate and still increasingly desire each other. It is definitely not a light read, as for every sweet moment, there is an angst-ridden one ten times worse to accompany it.

Replies: 1 Comment

Thanks for the review!

Posted by Nica B. @ 08/03/2008 09:45 AM PST

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