Review: When She Dances (Risdaverse, #5) by Ruby Dixon

Posted October 22, 2021 by Angie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

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Review: When She Dances (Risdaverse, #5) by Ruby DixonWhen She Dances (Risdaverse, ) by Ruby Dixon
Published by Self Published on October 9, 2020
Genres: Adult Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction
Format: eBook (170 pages)
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
Add Book: GoodreadsBookhype

I never expected to spend my days as a dancing girl… but it beats the alternative. In the window of a filthy space station cantina, I gyrate my hips and hope for better days.

When I’m bought by the most intimidating alien on Three Nebulas Station, those better days are on their way. Zakoar of the Broken Back is a cyborg who deals in black market prosthetics. He’s terrifying to look at, with a metal jaw and a fearsome demeanor. He intimidates everyone in the galaxy… except me.

Zakoar doesn’t want my name. In fact, he doesn’t want anything from me… except a little bed sport. In exchange for my willingness, he’ll take me to a human-friendly planet where I can live unafraid.

Love isn’t part of the bargain, but every moment that I spend with him, I learn more about the male beneath the metal…

…and I’m suddenly dreaming of a very different happy ever after for myself…


Proceed With Caution:

This book contains human trafficking, mentions of war violence, and dubious consent.

The Basics:

This is another book in the Risdaverse series. This time we get to officially meet Zakoar of the Broken Back, who installs illegal prosthetics at Three Nebula Station, and Tessa, the human who dances naked in the bar across the street.

My Thoughts:

When She Dances was a weird one for me, and not in the way that all of these alien romances are weird. Tessa is a slave for essentially the entire book. Zakoar has been watching her dance in the cantina window for years but has never gone in. Tessa has watched him watching her and fantasized about him barging in and taking her away. Well, the cantina is closing and she’s to be auctioned off. Obviously, she doesn’t want a new owner, but then Zakoar waltzes in, buys her, and takes her home. Yep, he’s her now owner.

Now, I totally do not have a problem with master-slave romances or dubious consent when it’s in the right context, i.e. Dark Erotic Romance or Dark Erotica. This is not that. This is a straight up Science Fiction Romance with a master-slave relationship. It’s presented in such a way to let us know that Zakoar is completely against slavery, he wants Tessa to enjoy sex with him, and that he plans on letting her go when he’s done with in her. In fact, before anything happens between them, he tells her his plan to get her on board. He even goes as far to say he won’t touch her if she says no. Except she really has no choice. Of course, she’s going to agree to trading sex for freedom! It was just an illusion of choice.

I think When She Dances would have worked better if Zakoar really did buy her under the guise of freeing her. He could have told her that he doesn’t actually own her and that he’s going to take her to Risda III where she can start a new life. Instead, he actually does use her as a sex slave for a month before feeling bad and packing her up. At which point, she doesn’t want to go because she loves him! And he loves her! But he’s ugly so there’s no way that’s true which is why he had to buy her! It was just weird. In a bad way.

In the end, When She Dances was okay. I see what the author was trying to do, but it simply doesn’t work in this fluffy, romance-centric world. All of her other books have the hero rescuing the heroine from slavery, or meeting them after their liberation and making them feel safe and protected, not buying them and continuing to use them until they feel bad about it.

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