Sunday, April 13, 2014

Into The Woods, by Michelle Augello-Page

(pb; 2014: erotic anthology.  Illustrations by Alphonse Inoue.)

From the back cover:

"Escape into nine dark and erotic stories which explore sex and transformation written in dreams across the body, etched in the language of skin.  Each story is interwoven with magic, music and art, as lost and damaged characters navigate their broken worlds, searching for wholeness and connection.  Many of the stories are sexually explicit, engaging the reader in aspects of kink, fetish, and BDSM.  Some stories represent sexual trauma, abuse, negligence and cruelty.  Other stories seek to express the esoteric and transcendental power of sex.  Into The Woods is. . . rooted in the female, immersed in the physical and the spiritual and steeped in the rich archetypal landscape of fairy tales and mythology."

Overall review:

The above back cover blurb essentially says what my review notes say: this anthology is dark, theme-focused, provocative, enticing (on multiple levels) and mood-effective, with no wasted words and plenty of nuance.  All of these stories here have something to recommend them.  Coupled with Inoue's anthology-appropriate, equally alluring artwork, this is a great read, as well as one of the best erotic anthologies I've read in a long while.  Worth owning, this.

Standout stories:

1.)   "Into The Woods":  This "contemporary retelling" of Hansel and Gretel lives up to that description, with its troubling, sweet and non-erotic brevity and excellent finish.  One of my favorite stories in this collection.

2.)  "The Siren": A famous promiscuous singer, troubled by a recent betrayal of sorts, fraks and performs her way toward her next life stage.  One of my favorite tales in this mix.

3.)  "Into The Labyrinth":  On Halloween, a death metal vocalist and his girlfriend engage in holiday-dangerous BDSM sex.  Entertaining, fever dreamish and, at times, brutal read.

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