Venomís Bond by Nica Berry
Loose Id
LGBT Sci-Fi/Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1-59632-521-0
Reviewed by Cassie



Marquez is one of a handful of fertile men among thousands of women on the ship Trafalgar.  Like the other men, Marquez is held captive in a small section of the ship, and brought out only to provide the women with semen to breed children.  His life is full of misery, fear, and pain, at least until he meets Jared.  He protects the younger man when he discovers that like himself, Jared prefers men to women.  When the women, and the other men, discover their secret, however, things grow much worse for them.

Marquez finally escapes the ship with Jared, who seems near death.  Their escape-pod lands on a hot, jungle planet populated with intelligent telepathic lizards, and one woman.  Marquez is terrified at first, of both the woman and the lizards, but as he slowly heals he begins to feel friendship toward the lizard Ghariel.  As Jaredís health continues to worsen, Marquez faces a terrible choice: he can continue to live unable to communicate with the lizard society, or he can risk death from Gharielís poisonous biteóthe only way for a human to become telepathic.

Venomís Bond is a story that is definitely not for the faint of heart (or the weak of stomach).  Horrible things happen to Marquez on the Trafalgar, including physical and sexual torture and abuse.  The first part of the story was very difficult for me to read because of the way Marquez and Jared are treated.  This book definitely earns the warnings on the Loose Id site.  If you have trouble reading stories with torture and violence, you should probably steer clear of this one.  That said, despite Venomís Bondís unusual story and graphic violence, I actually enjoyed the book.  After the back-story is established and Marquez lands on the planet, the story really picks up.  Marquez has a great deal of emotional baggage to work through, and the lizard Ghariel, one of the healers who helps him, is patient and kind.  At first I was a bit freaked out by the idea of the second hero of the story being a giant lizard, especially as they were described as being much more lizard-like than human-like, but after a bit I got used to it and Ghariel stopped seeming creepy.  In fact, Ghariel and the other lizards, despite their inability to truly communicate with Marquez, seemed increasingly human as the story progressed.  After everything Marquez had been through, I was really hoping to see him get a happy ending, and I wasnít disappointed.  Nica Berry did a good job of creating a frightening future in which fertile men are rare and treated like experimental subjects, and the lizard society she created was fascinating.  Venomís Bond is definitely not for everyone, but if you like science fiction and very unusual heroes, and you can get past the violence, then youíll probably enjoy it.


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