Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Book review: City of Dreams

City of Dreams by Brian Tarsis is a stand-alone graphic novel:  a BDSM fantasy/fairy tale. When it arrived I told myself I wouldn't read more than the first few pages before doing my writing for the day, but as you can guess ... Yes, once again I failed my Will Save.
(I have a very low Wisdom; that's my excuse.)

Taris both writes and illustrates. His careful linework is clear and clean; sometimes spare and sometimes lushly detailed, as befits a fairy tale like this.

The plot is pretty slight: virginal Christine dreams herself in a fantasy realm every night, where she is woken from her enchanted sleep (rather vigorously!) and initiated into the glorious mysteries of submission by a handsome prince. It turns out he has a real-world counterpart too, and that guy turns up and takes her off to meet his mom for a good whipping. The storyline zigzags back and forth between real life and the dreamland, until finally everyone escapes happily ever after through a magic mirror into the land of healthy, filthy fun. 

In fact the novel is a really good introduction to the various tropes and practices of BDSM fantasy. And more than anything, City of Dreams bears a huge resemblence in terms of tone and incident to Anne Rice/Roquelaure's Beauty books: sparkly, well-scrubbed, pretty people doing naughty things without any emotional backlash, and falling in love through it. Oh yeah - and Pony Boys :-)

There's no darkness in this BDSM, despite the eyewatering things our heroine is subjected to. The only thing that stops it being almost respectable is the gleeful depiction of all those cocks and pussies at work.

I especially liked the Penisfish. ("Oh no! Please don't send us to the penisfish tank, mistress!")

So - if you're visually oriented like me, and love comics and BDSM and fantasy settings, this is a hot read and great fun. It's eyecandy only, but I think we all need more eyecandy like this.


Jo said...

Penisfish!! Why didn't you include an illustration of THAT one?

I'm assuming that's phallic fish,rather than the South American one that swims up your urethra and digs in its spikes? Because that would be pretty hardcore as a fetish. Baha!

My first thought on reading the beginning of this was how Beauty like it was. It does make sense that that would make a good comic.

Pony boys! :D

Janine Ashbless said...

Yes, they are phallic fish that swim into every orifice :-)

t'Sade said...

Is there a link for shopies?

The penisfish sound adorable. I love good comic sex, I have all the XXXenophiles and I really love Ironwood, but I'm always looking for something to occasionally browse through and get warmed up.

Janine Ashbless said...

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Sadly they do not sell penisfish in a tank!

Janine Ashbless said...

Damn try again with Amazon UK

Janine Ashbless said...

Okay, so I look up Ironwood and I get the Spiderwick Chronicles...

t'Sade said...

Ironwood Book 1 and Book 2.

Jo said...

Penisfish in a tank.. like Seamonkeys!

Janine Ashbless said...

Thanks t'Sade.
Damn ... Vol 1 is only available 2nd-hand in the UK - for £79!!

t'Sade said...

Holy crap. I hate when books are out of print and one reason I like the long tail of ebooks. One of my favorites, Villains by Necessity by Eve Forward, was about $90 for a copy when I tried to replace my copy. I finally got a copy for my birthday... and found my original copy. :)

Well, it isn't too important to show off. I just happen to like the sexy style of the artist. The plot is a trifle abrupt at the end, but there was such promise in world-building and playful sex in that book (giving head to centaur girls comes to mind). But, it isn't worth £79 by a long shot.

I'll try to find some legal way for you to get it that doesn't break the bank.

Janine Ashbless said...

I've got the 2nd volume on order - that's still in print. Yep - e-books looks like the way of the future :-)

Chris said...

Vines fifty-seven, Princes zero!

Laughed till I choked.

I must read this.