A VVivacious Release Day Review: The Craving by Z. Allora

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Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5
the-craving-by-z-alloraPhoenix is a chosen, destined to devote his life to the betterment of dimensional art at the monastery and spend his life as a slave to the Principles of Purity. But for Phoenix this is a great honour and from the very day he learns of his status as a chosen, he decides to spend his life abiding by the Principles of Purity. Phoenix is prepared for his future but what he isn’t prepared for is Zadra Solav who steals his breath and pushes him into his first craving years ahead of schedule.
 
Riva Quinton lives on the radioactive wasteland which comprises his planet of Feri. His aunt sacrifices her life to get Riva on a Star Chaser headed to the monastery, so that at least he may survive his family. On the Star Chaser he meets Eytan Rain Otak Sita a.k.a. Eros from the planet of Song Di-Wang II. Their budding friendship rushes headfirst into an emotional attachment but as initiates of the monastery they are forbidden from love and lust.
 
Two couples, very much in love, separated by the law… Will they ever find their happy ending?
 
This story is fascinating and very interesting. There is loads of world-building. This entire story takes place in a different star system and a technologically more advanced one at that. There are a lot of planets harbouring a lot of different species with lots of different customs and outlooks on life. It was amazing to witness so many different outlooks of people on life. These planets are united by their political affiliations wherein they all accept the rule of His Greatness Ruler Xantha Aspara Paramendor, resident of Viking-Haven and ruler of the Xantha Galaxy.
 
The world-building in this book while fascinating, also has a lot of pitfalls but that is mainly because of the fact that the author has created an entirely new galaxy and even imparting basic knowledge of this galaxy and its various planets and people would have probably not made for a very interesting read. So while I acknowledge that yes some things are a little vague, I accept that it is better that way. But one thing I would have loved more information about and I felt that this information should have necessarily been parted with was how other people viewed dimensional art especially sixth dimension dimensional art, how exactly did that art influence people’s actions and how come no one had used the same art responsible for peace to incite war, rebellion and hatred and what would the outcome of such a thing be. In this book we only ever get to see dimensional art from the perspective of its creators which basically doesn’t give us any information on how dimensional art brought about peace and changed the course of the Galaxy.
 
This story is also not evenly split between the two couples. I personally feel that we get to see a lot more of Riva and Eros because they are established as a couple earlier on in the story while Phoenix and Zadra are more like the secondary couple especially because they aren’t a couple for more than half of the book.
 
I liked all the main characters but especially Eros and Riva because we get to know them quite better and also because since Riva has spent his life so far on Feri, he is inquisitive about a lot of things about the Xantha Galaxy that we aren’t privy to and thus his perspective is the most informative.
 
Yoshio Xirau is a non-chosen female admitted to the monastery and that is a rare thing to say the least because she is the only one. Now Yoshio is shown to be shy and afraid to connect with others. But this description only fits Yoshio in one chapter, because following that you she her back-talking and making her opinions known which begs the question that given her personality in latter chapters, why did she allow herself to be bullied by the chosen females. I found her role to be very intrusive with regards to Phoenix and Zadra’s relationship. My problem with her characterisation was that she seemed to be a whole lot unrealistic especially when she manages to smuggle two people under surveillance on-board the Ruler’s very own Star Chaser.
 
Personally the plot is interesting because of the fascinating world-building but when it comes down to the essence of the plot, it was supposed to answer the question if these two couples whose existence was contrary to the law would be allowed to be together. But not much of the plot is devoted to this aspect of the story. Also the fact that these couples are breaking the law doesn’t seem to burden their conscience at all, not even Phoenix’s who has lived by the Principles of Purity since the age of 14. There is an easy resolution to the plot. Also it seems like the author may plan a sequel because this book is very open ended as a wave of change is headed towards the Xantha Galaxy but while I would have loved a sequel focusing on dimensional art and its implications, I don’t know if I would like to read a sequel more focused on the political side of things.
 
There are a few loose ends – one being what was it that Zadra had asked for when His Greatness had asked him to name his price and the second one being Monk Paksus, what was up with that guy? Also I would have liked to know if anyone else shared Phoenix’s views of the empty canvas.
 
Overall the story is well written, with good characters and amazing world-building but it fails a bit when it comes to the plot but still makes for an enjoyable read.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. It tries to capture the exotic world of the Xantha Galaxy and features Phoenix and Zadra.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 280 pages
Expected publication: February 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634779053 (ISBN13: 9781634779050)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Z. Allora on Writing, World Building and her release ‘The Craving’ (guest blog and giveaway)

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The Craving by Z. Allora
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reamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond

Available for Purchase at

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Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words is happy to host Z. Allora here today talking about writing, world building and her latest story.  Welcome, Z.

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Star System Building Starts With Sex by Z. Allora

I want to thank Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words for allowing me to share my new release with you: The Craving. (There’s also a giveaway to thank the readers). If you read my stories or you’re one of my Facebook Pretties, you know I believe that the relationships we have with sex and gender affects the filter we use to view the world. I figured just cause I’m wandering through space doesn’t mean I can’t continue to explore this connection.

Before writing The Craving I had to understand the generalizations each planet had about sex. What would their feelings and expectations toward sex, orientation, and gender. Do they have anything taboo? What are they? Why are they? Then I had to piece together if my character agreed or denied their society’s view on sex and relationships.

K’Dane: (moderately wealthy and technologically advanced)

The K’Danes believe they are sexually progressive. They openly discuss recreating (masturbation) and sex. The K’Danes go through a biological process called the craving, which is an unstoppable urge to soothe the burning need to bond on a physical and spiritual level.

Phoenix Dotir comes from K’Dane and he’s marked as a Chosen. This means he’ll forego a life mate to dedicate himself to his art. He’ll be doing every thing he can to avoid the craving. He adopted the monk’s Principles of Purity earlier than he has to which involves him wearing a protective device. He even exacted a promise from his mother that she would medicate him if he went into the craving.

Zadra Solav is torn between being respectful of Phoenix’s status as a chosen and going after what he wants. He’s open like most K’Dane but won’t try to convince Phoenix to abandon his path. 

Ambrosial: (Garden planet half vacation destination half monastery)

There is no sex at the monastery. The Principles of Purity promote chastity. Many of the initiates were unaware of the strict code of conduct or how a protective unit (chastity belt) ensures adherence to the principles. Orgasms are taboo. Even though most don’t like it they live under the strict rules or are careful not to get caught.

Song Di Wangan II: (Uber wealthy and technologically advanced)

Song citizens used to heart link with one partner for life.

The Xi virus ravaged the planet a thousand seasons ago causing many to perish. Those that were heart linked couldn’t survive the loss of their partner and it devastated the population. As a result of this monogamy was all but outlawed.

No sexual act is taboo on Song Di Wangan II. On a person’s coming of age day their parents would gift them with erotic pleasure workers to celebrate in any manner they wished. But desiring a heart linked love is viewed as backwards and dangerous.

Eytan Rain Otak Sita wants to share his life with one love. His family deemed his needs counter culture and disgusting, thus sent him away.

Feri: (radiated rock, life expectancy short & death painful)

The citizens of Feri learned at a young age, if you had privacy, time and energy you sought as much satisfaction as you could. Tomorrow wasn’t promise so enjoy everything you can to the fullest.

Riva Quinton believed in love and marriage. He wasn’t aware going to Ambrosial would mean giving up pleasure.

Viking Haven: (Capital planet and blessed in most ways)

People, who identified as female, threatened the current ruler’s great-great-great-great grandfather legitimacy. So rather then surrender his seat of power or worse share it, he mandated a gender divide. Male lords and males slaves were allowed to stay in Viking Haven’s capital while all others were banished to Valhalla.

The lords were kept to serve and protect His Greatness. Some still maintained relationships with women in Valhalla but until recently there was no easy assessable path. Homosexual power exchanges were the expected norm.

Slaves were born with the honor of serving the lords. Slaves were meant to receive penetration and the lords were meant to give. This stringent framework creates a number of issues for Viking Haven and those in charge need.

I could go into greater detail but you get the idea. Let me share the blurb with you.

The Craving Blurb:

The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.

Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.

Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.

Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.

Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.

Buy Links:

Dreamspinner Press ebooks and Paperback

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Giveaway

 Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.

About the Author

Z. Allora believes in happily ever afters for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:

E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com

FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora

Website: www.zallorabooks.com

Twitter: @ZAllora