A fascinating world of gorgeous men and spirited women in a galactic setting, Cheryl Brooks’ “Cat Star Chronicles” fuses science-fiction and pop culture in a series of erotic romance novels that can easily go mainstream.
My introduction to the erotic romance subgenre was accidental. Looking for something to read at Kindle, “Outcast”, the fourth book in the Cat Star Chronicles series was a free download. It was the story of Lynx, a recently freed slave who was on his way to Terra Minor, an Earth colony to start a new life.
One of a handful of survivors from the planet Zetith which was blown up by an asteroid, Lynx, like all Zetithian males has to live up to the reputation of being the best lovers in the galaxy. But, after having been a “slave” in a harem of 50 women for 10 years, Lynx felt “used” up.
Even at the Prologue, you will fall in love with Lynx. A story of redemption, Cheryl Brooks’ description of the main protagonist was so compelling that even before you start the first chapter; you are already on your way cheering Lynx on.
Did I already mention that this was my introduction to the erotic romance subgenre? It was and I did not realize what type of book I was reading until I was already halfway. To the risk of sounding prudish, by that time, I was totally immersed in the story that not finishing it was out of the question.
And like all erotic romance novels, sex is an inherent part of the story, which means character growth and relationship development is achieved alongside steamy sex scenes. Remove the sexual tension and you damage the storyline.
And, that is where Ms. Brooks excels in her storytelling. She gives it to you slowly, like a walk in the park wherein you take in the scenery bit by bit and unhurriedly. Before you know it, you find yourself in the center surrounded by a profusion of colors and scents. The protagonists come alive in your eyes as you laugh and you cry with them.
I was so taken with Ms. Brooks’ storytelling style that I decided to download the whole series. The first three – Slave, Warrior and Rogue were told in the same unhurried style. The characters might not be unforgettable but the Zetithian race, which Ms. Brooks created, is memorable.
By the time the author pens “Outcast”, she had already laid a considerable amount of groundwork on the Zetithians that they have become fondly familiar to the reader. Hence on “Outcast”, Ms. Brooks raised her storytelling to a different level.
As she herself became familiar with the world and the characters that she created, the character and plotline development had also become more complex. The sex scenes are still steamy but they had become white noise. Still an inherent part of the story, but by this time, it was something that you have come to expect. Think of a historical movie like Marie Antoinette wherein the costume was part of the storytelling; in the last four books on the series, the sex scenes are just that.
Hence the later protagonists – Lynx and Bonnie (Outcast), Manx and Drusilla (Fugitive), Trag and Micayla (Hero) and Dax and Ava (Virgin) are heroes and heroines that can go mainstream while the earlier characters – Cat and Jacinth “Jack” (Slave), Leo and Tisana (Warrior) and Tychar and Kyra (Rogue) will remain in the erotic romance subgenre.
Case in point, the latest release in the series, “Virgin” is as much as a love story as a philosophical one as sci-fi storyline goes.
The story of Dax, who at the age of 33 is still a virgin (an unheard of state for a Zetithian male) and Ava, a part Terran part Aquerei female who was trying to find in what world she belongs to due to her mixed parentage, “Virgin” touches on the futility of war.
Again, on this seventh book in the series, Ms. Brooks raised the bar once more on the Cat Star Chronicles. While the first six books were more personal in nature as the story of the original six known survivors of the Zetith holocaust were told, “Virgin” gives a wider view as it takes the audience to the sin city of Rhylos and the war torn planet of Aquerei.
Here, Ms. Brooks takes a philosophical turn as she questions the morality of hedonism, vice and of course war. But, she never forgets even for a millisecond that “Virgin” is first and foremost a love story.
The whole series is a good read. In fact, I’m looking forward for the next installment. And because Prince Charming is a sex object in the Cat Star Chronicles, please keep the books out of reach of children.