Genre: Sci-Fi, Space opera, Adventure, Police Procedural
LGBTQ+ Category: Bi, Gay, Poly
Reviewers: Lucy, Ulysses (PRG)
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About The Book
Mauve is a pet, a human pleasure slave. He is smart, ambitious, horny – and the only witness in a murder case. Or rather, he is ‘evidence’.
Luckily, the crime was committed on Malicorn, where an unsolved murder would disturb its profitable reputation as the safest planet of the Empire. So Mauve ends up in the hands of the Malena MCD, the local Major Crimes Division, run by ex-space-marine Alexej Sirenkov and his brilliant wife Andrea. Unwilling to see him stored in the evidence locker, the Sirenkovs take him home for a few days. And while Mauve hopes they might just be the perfect forever-owners, he has no idea of Mistress Andrea’s plans for them…
Written by award-winning authors Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus, ‘Malena MCD’ is a funny, naughty, police procedural throuple rom-com set in the wildly diverse, hopeful ‘Virasana Empire’ universe and can be read as a stand-alone.
Warnings: First Person POV, Slavery, MMF threesomes, Graphic Sex Scenes, Violence. And pigs, of course. We’re on Malicorn.
Malena MCD is a fun romp through the Virasana Empire created by Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus. There are other stories and series written in this universe, but this book read well as a stand-alone.
In the Virasana universe, pleasure slaves are legally bred and owned, not always by scrupulous masters. Mauve has found himself the pet of several criminals of varying levels of larcenous success. Until his most recent owner is murdered, Mauve just accepted that it was his lot in life to be the property of whomever paid for him. And then, he ends up with Captain Andrea Sirenkov and her husband, Alexej, who is the leader of the Malena Major Crimes Division. Under their ownership, Mauve realizes just how bad he’s had it, and how good it can get.
This is a fun, action-filled story that gives us an other-world twist on a police procedural. It is very well written, with good pacing and highly amusing, quirky characters. There is some on-page, hot sex and a lot of slow burn, drooly moments.
I truly adored Andrea, who has that quiet, controlled power that is both sexy and easy to underestimate. Alexej is hot eye candy covering a heart of gold and a moral compass that insists he protects those who are often marginalized and overlooked while crushing those who would take advantage of them. Mauve is sweet, adorable, and sexy. He is convinced that because he’s smarter than most sex slaves and not quite perfect, he deserves to be a ‘bargain bin pet.’ Watching him realize his worth and find his place with the Sirenkovs was fabulous.
Malena MCD was so enjoyable to read, I’m definitely going to see what other stories Beryll and Osiris Brackhaus have in the Virasana Empire universe.
Mr. and Mrs. Brackhaus are unique in the modern fiction world. Their books are a delicious treat, from the elegant prose (which, despite their fluent English has a wee foreign accent that is wonderful) to the fantastical world building. The Virasana empire is a place that, to me, is both alluring and repellant. The Brackhauses make it eerily familiar, with its pop culture and shopping malls, fast-food joints and beach resorts. At the same time, they make it uncomfortable, reminding us that it is an Empire, run by a (benevolent) dictator; and a place where the nobility rules and is not bound by the laws that govern everyone else. It is the best and worst of the world we know all in one deceptively wry, shiny package.
And there’s the crux of this book: it’s all written from the point of view of a slave. Not just any slave, mind you, but a pet, a very specific kind of slave that is BRED to be a sex toy. In fact, the slave at the center of this story doesn’t even have a name, until the adolescent daughter of the husband/wife police team who rescues him gives him a name, Mauve.
Disguised as a police procedural and a murder mystery, Malena MCD (Major Crimes Division) is a slightly squidgy commentary on the bizarre notion that a civilized, high-tech, culturally diverse empire would have a thriving, and highly protected, slave industry. The fact that the planet of Malincorn is a pork-based civilization is surely a comment on something…
I was, for the first time, a little reluctant to read this, because the whole M/M/F thing pushes the boundaries of my comfort zone. But, I gotta say, the book – for all its intentional discomfort – is charming, and amusing. Mauve is a wonderful character. He should be tragic, given the life he’s led; but his pragmatic approach to his circumstances keeps him from being a figure of sadness. He is poignant, and his emotional upheaval over the Sirenkovs’ kind treatment of him would be heartbreaking if he himself was not so resilient and hopeful.
The book clearly is meant to remind the reader of “The Pet and His Duke,” an earlier installment of the Virasana empire which involved a slave who finds unexpected happiness. Of course, there’s Darios, the slave that Sir Yaden’s mother and father buy him when he’s still a wild, unteachable boy. Darios is still the housekeeper for Yaden and his husband. His quiet presence has been a reminder throughout the Virasana series that this is world that will never be quite graspable to us, while also being all too understandable. The joy of the Brackhaus duo is that they make the impossible plausible.
I’m an avid reader who loves pretty much all genres except math textbooks. As a kid, my parents exposed me to everything from fairies, hobbits, and dragons to the biographies of interesting people around the world, interspersed with poetry, plays, and music. Into adulthood, I spent a lot of years with my nose buried in various textbooks. Now, I read whatever grabs my fancy.
Ulysses Grant Dietz grew up in Syracuse, New York, where his Leave It to Beaver life was enlivened by his fascination with vampires, from Bela Lugosi to Barnabas Collins. He studied French at Yale, and was trained to be a museum curator at the University of Delaware. A curator since 1980, Ulysses has never stopped writing fiction for the sheer pleasure of it. He created the character of Desmond Beckwith in 1988 as his personal response to Anne Rice’s landmark novels. Alyson Books released his first novel, Desmond, in 1998. Vampire in Suburbia, the sequel to Desmond, is his second novel.
Ulysses lives in suburban New Jersey with his husband of over 41 years and their two almost-grown children.
By the way, the name Ulysses was not his parents’ idea of a joke: he is a great-great grandson of Ulysses S. Grant, and his mother was the President’s last living great-grandchild. Every year on April 27 he gives a speech at Grant’s Tomb in New York City.