Melokai by Rosalyn Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Ramya is the Melokai of Peqkya. She's been the Melokai for a long time and believes her time is up. When she goes to the prophet Sybilya to learn her fate she instead receives a shocking prophecy fortelling trouble and a wolf claiming the throne. Ramya is prepared to fight off all who dare challenge Peqkya, but she is not prepared for love. Ramya finds herself thrown off balance by her personal life while preparing to defend her home.
Melokai is so different from what I expected. The cover promised warrior women or at least a warrior woman, which is somewhat seen towards the end of the book. People talk about fighting, but very little is described. What the book does go into detail about is sex of all types. The book has male prostitutes, female prostitutes, inner species, homosexual, gang rape, and I'm probably forgetting some other types of sex. This read like a woman's romance novel for much of the book.
Those aren't the only unexpected aspects of the book. The book also features lots of human like animals or animal like humans. Pekya's people are described as cats. I'm not positive they actually are cat women or if it's simply a moniker for them. Pekya does have talking cats called clever cats which are largely messengers. Next comes Drome and these people are definitely part camel. They have humps on their backs that can store water. The Trogrs seem to be part bat. They don't have eyes, but them hum to see what's happening around them. Then there are the wolves who have evolved the ability to stand on their hind legs like people. They also must have opposable thumbs or something near enough because they are described as being able to hold weapons. At the end are the Fertilians who seem to be plain old humans.
So Peqkya is shown to be a horrible place to live as a male. Peqkya men are kept alive for reproduction, pleasure, and slave labor. What's worse is Peqkya has a specialized position for men known as pleasure givers. These men's only job is to please women sexually. It doesn't sound bad at first until you realize they have to have sex with any woman who demands it at any time. I know it still doesn't sound too bad. What makes it horrible is if any of these men can't perform or do not please the women they are with they have their cocks cut off, shoved in their mouths, and then are sentenced to death. So yeah, not so great. Peqkya is the home to the main point of view and title character the Melokai Ramya. It was challenging to care what happened to a place that treated men in such a worthless fashion.
My largest problem with the book is in the end there aren't many likable people. I felt somewhat sorry for Ferraz, his fellow pleasure givers, and the other Peqkya men. I also felt for Queen Jessima of Fertilian who was forced into a loveless marriage to a much older King who cries out his dead wife's name while having sex with her. The negative actions of these characters seemed to stem from their unfortunate lot in life. I couldn't feel for any Peqkya women due to their complicit nature in thoroughly terrifying the men around them with the constant threat of death.
Melokai was not at all what I expected from the description and the cover.
2.5 out of 5 stars
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
View all my reviews