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alternate reality x-rated jungle book

By A. M. Harte, editor, author of Theatre of Horrors

Sep 27, 2009: I sat down today and read through all ten parts currently posted.

I have to say it took me a while to get into the story, as the point of view shifts back and forth between characters, the dialogue sounds forced, and there is an overabudance of backstory (the same-old telling instead of showing pitfall).

Several chapters in, however, the story picked up. The plot itself is intriguing: Ketrin is a wild child, brought up by "lupinoids" (basically wolves), and thus posseses many wolf skills such as telepathy, rapid healing, and so on. He decides to rejoin human society in an attempt to understand humans, so he can report back to the wolves. Of course, things go awry what with greedy villagers, and the general human misconception that wolves are evil creatures.

The story then splits off to follow several other characters, amongst which Sherinel (Ketrin’s lover) and Mavrida (his human mother). There is also intervention by superior beings (gods? something else?), and a sense that there is a larger, darker force at hand. So far, so good.

The problem is, however, that the writing has very little sense of suspense and emotion. The narrator is omniscient, making it hard to sink in and enjoy the story. It doesn’t help that the narrator knows every character’s thoughts and motivations, and tells them to you, meaning that the plot loses much of its potential tension. That said, I am generally not a fan of stories with a mythic narrative tone (which Ketrin has), so perhaps fans of myths may enjoy the writing.

Furthermore, later chapters seemed to devolve into a PWP, and the sex scenes aren’t even smutty and enjoyable. As a matter of fact, all the explicit sex became repetitive, and I ended up skipping through the sections, as they hardly seemed to contribute to the plot. And, frankly, I found it a little hard to believe that everyone would be getting off with everyone all the time.

The characterization is quite weak, as well. There is a large cast of characters, but I got very little sense of diversity in their thoughts or actions: they all fit into one of several neat boxes. It didn’t help that the reader hardly gets a sense of a character’s growth. Ketrin adapts to human society unnaturally fast, with few examples of struggle or confusion; Sherinel goes from coward to strong leader in a matter of days, his previous insecurities forgotten despite having been abused as a child; and so on. I found it particularly hard to swallow that Ketrin and Sherinel declare their love for each other in chapter 2, after only having spoken a couple times.

There are also continuity errors, particularly with regards to the timeline. Sherinel is told he’s been unconscious for days, but the story then picks up with ‘a day or two later’. The same occurs with Ketrin’s arrival in human society: his weeks of adjustment are described in a couple sentences, then the story picks up as if no time has passed at all.

The website itself leaves a lot to be desired. It’s quite cluttered, and feels very much like an old-school 1990s website, the text stretching as wide as your screen. To make matters worse, the website is cluttered with author story notes and commentary, while all I wanted was just the meat itself. Yes, there are ‘skip to story’ buttons, but that didn’t make the excess commentary any less annoying.

The author is honest about being unskilled with web design, but with so many free blogging options out there, it hardly seems like an excuse.

What I did like about the website was an inclusion of a hand drawn map on the side of the chapter, showing the setting. With each chapter, as new areas of the world are discovered, the map becomes more detailed.

Overall: the plot itself is interesting, but the writing lacks suspense and intrigue. The author shows all his cards too quickly, meaning that the development of the plot becomes predictable, and all that is left is a series of repetitive sex scenes.

Recommended for patient readers who enjoyed The Jungle Book and like a lot of explicit sex.

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