1 out of 4 stars
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Domina World by Vivek Golikeri is a collection of erotic short stories that often have continuity with each other. They follow the interactions between supernatural beings, called "energesses" or "femforces," and mortal humans. These energesses have incredible powers, from transmuting energy into matter to creating small parallel dimensions, and they recharge these powers through male sexual attention, which they get through agreements with mortal men and women.
Of course, since this book is self-styled erotica, the plot is far from its main focus. However, the plot is so contrived as to be wildly distracting. The energesses seem to get new powers whenever the narrative calls for it, from traveling through time to talking with ghosts, and conflicts are woefully few and far between. Many of the short stories have so much continuity that the book feels as if it's separated into several chapters, only for it to skip to a completely different scene abruptly. In erotica, the sole duty of the plot is to provide a coherent framework for the sex scenes. Unfortunately, this book's plot fails at this duty in spectacular fashion.
The stories all follow the same basic premise, with little variation: an energess offers a mortal wealth, beauty, or love in return for performing sexual acts at her behest. There are multiple women in unhappy marriages, for example, and many of the male characters' first introduction to the energesses happens when one of them repairs their car or boat. The author also tends to write male love interests who are poor caricatures of different nationalities, such as French and Austrian. With such interchangeable and flat characters, it's impossible to become invested in them.
While the plot and characters are quite lackluster, this book's greatest flaw is, by far, its writing style. There are many typos, consisting mostly of capitalization and quotation mark usage errors, but they aren't actually too distracting. The dialogue is incredibly awkward and frequently repetitive, with characters saying exactly what they're thinking or feeling for no reason other than informing the audience. The word choice is also very stilted, and the sex scenes are rarely written well or even in any detail. Still, I have to admit that there's something implacably charming about an erotic novel that practically refuses to address sex as anything other than "doing a dalliance."
Because of its very poorly executed plot, characterization, and writing, it goes without saying that I rate Domina World 1 out of 4 stars. If you are looking to read quality erotica, or, indeed, a quality book, you are best off looking elsewhere. However, I actually enjoyed reading it. Nearly every aspect of its execution fails in such incredible fashion that it's quite a spectacle, so if you have a fondness for so-bad-it's-good media, you will love reading this book. As a brief taste, I'll close this review with my absolute favorite quote: "I'm going to f---k a whole platoon of them! Yum, yum, here I come!"
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