ARC-review: TABOO by Leslie Dicken

When two strangers meet by chance, their shared ecstasy challenges cultural differences and changes the course of their future.

Two societies have lived apart on a remote planet for generations. At the top of the Dwelling live the Aerotaun, people who have built wings to help them fly. The bottom is occupied by the Marimar, hearty swimmers who live and feed by the sea. Because of the mystery surrounding their ancestors’ landing, suspicions and distrust thrive between the cultures.

Until a taboo encounter occurs on an isolated beach.

Ariana, an Aerotaun, cannot resist the seductive allure of the forbidden Andreus. Their few days alone ignite sexual exploration and uninhibited ecstasy. But when Ariana finally learns the shocking secret about their purpose on the planet, she must decide if her heart belongs with her people or the sexy Marimar.

Warning: This title contains the following: explicit sex and graphic language.

Title: TABOO
Author: Leslie Dicken
Series: I have no information on whether this book is part of a series so I’m classifying it as a standalone
Genre: Futuristic Romance, Erotic Romance (Light) Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Year of release: 2011, May 17
Format: eBook
Source: Received an e-ARC for review from author

First line:
He was forbidden.

Memorable Scene:
-scene at the lagoon where Andreus finally takes Ariana > the build up to it made it an impressively climactic scene

TABOO is my first encounter with Leslie Dicken’s work, despite having two of her historical romances on my digital bookshelves. After reading TABOO I know I want to read those soon though because this first taste of her writing has left me wanting to read more.

Before receiving a review copy of TABOO I talked to Leslie Dicken on Twitter about this book because having read the blurb I was convinced it wasn’t going to be a book that would completely fit my reading preferences. I thought it was an erotic fantasy romance and though I don’t shy away from erotic romances, I have learned, reading romance over the years, that fantasy romance is not quite my cup of tea. However, when Leslie Dicken mentioned that TABOO was more light fantasy and science fiction romance-ish, I started to get more and more intrigued by the book as the title had already captured my attention.

Though TABOO classifies as a sci-fi/fantasy erotic romance I couldn’t escape the historic vibe Leslie Dicken’s writing gave off. The writing style was agreeable and fluent and I was soon immersed in the story of Ariana and Andreus but I did find the writing to have a historic feel to it, especially in the wording and sentences.

Though the start was slow and it took me a chapter or two to get into the story, it remained fascinating and intriguing and soon I was curious as to how the story would unfold. Once I got past the first two chapters I had little trouble envisioning the world Leslie Dicken created in this story and found the mix between world building, eroticism and plot to be nicely balanced. I also really liked how Leslie Dicken set up the world within this book, with the two different people and the star-crossed lovers trope.

Although I do think the story was too short for extensive characterization, I really liked the characters and their backgrounds. In that vein, I must also say the plot, the eroticism and the world building made a bigger impression on me than the characterization.

The love scenes were explicit and sexy and the sexual tension was built up excellently towards the scene where they finally fully give in to the chemistry between them. At first I wasn’t sure I liked that Ariana is betrothed to one man and lusting after/attracted to another and the one thing I didn’t really like was the way this was also not addressed in the end when Ariana never really tells her intended she wants out of their betrothal but does get her HEA with Andreus.

The story focuses mainly on Ariana and Andreus as there are hardly any secondary characters. If I counted them correctly there were two on page secondary characters who appeared extremely briefly and there was one mention of a secondary character but that was it. Understandably because as I’ve mentioned the plot, eroticism and world building didn’t leave much room for characterization and it’s not more than logical that too many secondary characters would take away even more space for Ariana and Andreus to be thrive as main characters.

TABOO is a character-driven and sensual fantasy-ish science fiction romance that, after a somewhat slow start, managed to capture and keep my attention with its excellent writing and fascinating plot and world building. I loved the original and refreshing setting and backdrop for the romance and I really enjoyed the sexy, sensual love scenes. This first taste of Leslie Dicken’s work certainly won’t be my last.

Favorite Quotes:
“Tell me,” he whispered in a voice thick and gruff. “Did your lover kiss you like this?”

She slipped the tip of her tongue out to taste him. His flavor was raw and wild, like the sea he tried to tame.

“Make me well,” he whispered against her mouth. “So I may ravage you again.”

A small tug of male pride curled his lips. He’d have her screaming before it was all over.


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