Out of the Box by Audra North

May 7, 2014 Erotica, Reviews, Science Fiction 0

912LnN1bfwL._SL1500_In the “Civilized” future, there is no war, no violence, no cruelty… No love.

Juris is a Feeler, his emotions too strong to be controlled by the chip in his brain. If he can’t keep his flashes of feeling—joy, anger, lust—boxed up, he’ll be Terminated.

Lidian is a spy from uninhibited Benori. Her mission: to rescue the Feelers and destroy Civilization. Her first target: Juris, the only pilot who can get them all safely away before the Civilians catch on.

When Lidian frees Juris from the controller and shows him just what he’s been missing, their erotic encounters blow his mind. But with these new emotions comes something Juris has never had before: choice. Can he side with this smart, sensuous woman against everything he’s ever known, for a chance to break out of the box? (short novella)

Out of the Box caught my eye on the Twitter. The cover is so pretty. The blurb summarizes the whole story fairly well. Juris is having a rough day. He’s feeling, which is a complete no-no in this modern Earth. We catch up with him mid-check up with a Dr. Nakamura, the only “bad guy” we meet by name. Dr. Nakamura has a feeling something is up with Juris’s controller, but Juris is doing his best to control his nerves and his fear. Getting caught feeling is immediate grounds for termination, which wouldn’t be a problem for someone who has no feelings, but Juris does and he’s not in the mood to die.

We see quickly though, that even Dr. Nakamura, who is completely on board with this brain-melting technology, doesn’t completely control his emotions. He sighs, showing his frustration with Juris and the fact that his penis and his semen blocker are acting up. A nurse would be along shortly to deal with his penis issues. This nurse is really our infiltrating heroine, Lidian.

At this point the story becomes pretty erotic. It takes a sexual act to remove Juris’s blocker. This first sex scene actually threw me out of the story I wanted to know more about the Juris’s unique issues. I wanted more world building, not because the set up wasn’t enough, but because the set up was great and I wanted to go deeper into the Civilization.

I felt the same way about the second sex scene. We’re teased about how Juris’s mind is one hundred percent free from his controller. He’s experiencing a wide range of emotions. He’s relating to colors differently. It’s like he’s walking through the second half of What Dreams May Come, but very quickly we’re back to the sexy times. And how his semen has also be liberated thanks to Lidian.

Once they stopped doing it, I really got into the story. The mission was dire and dangerous. I had faith in Juris, but I was worried about the real power of the Civilization. Would they make it off Earth 2.0 with their rescued Feeler cargo? Would Juris live to ejaculate again? (he does) The tension was real. The story ends with a a Safe For Now cliffy, making it clear that you’re going to read the next installment to find out what’s going on down the road, or across the stars, for our hero Juris.

I’m hoping the next story is in Lidian’s POV. This whole story was from Juris’s POV and it made it difficult to get a good sense of what was going on in Lidian’s head outside of the mission and Juris’s sexual needs. It made me question the love portion of blurb. I never got the feeling that Lidian and Juris even liked each other, which is fine, but that’s the feeling I got. Juris is going through a lot of new physical emotions once his controllers and blockers are removed. Lidian knows this will happen and willingly makes herself available to Juris, but the sex felt pretty emotionless to me. It was hot. Very hot. There’s some great butt stuff in there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lidian got back to Benori and told Juris that she was already married, or not interested in him, or that she was gay and that he was just part of the mission. I’m pretty sure that won’t happen though. Still, for a story so heavily focused on emotion and feeling, the overall tone of the actual sex was pretty cold and mechanical.

Another thing that caught my eye was the fact that Dr. Nakamura seemed to be the only person of color in this universe. Though there are only few characters with given names, there are descriptions of several others and from those descriptions, it seemed everyone was white. With the exception of the good doc. I’ve had a lot of conversations with readers and writers alike about how shockingly white the fictional future is, considering white people are actually in the global minority. Like I said we’ll see how things go moving forward, if there’s a follow-up.

Final Assessment: Overall this was a fun, short read that just needs a little something more. Grade: B-

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Beks

A queer romance author of color who will read just about anything, for science, or this blog. She gravitates toward post Civil War era historical romance, westerns, BDSM erotic romance, LGBT romance and erotica. She’s interested in trying out more New Adult titles with multicultural characters, romances/erotic titles of any subgenre with Transgender characters, stories with Native American characters, especially if they are written by Native American authors, horror and romantic suspense.

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