Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Review- A Roof for the Rain by Katrina Strauss

A Roof for the Rain
by Katrina Strauss
March 26, 2009
Sci-Fi/ Futuristic/ Gay
Short Story

Buy it Red Rose, All Romance Books

It's the year 2031. The rain doesn't fall, while access to water is controlled by a ruthless few. In the midst of this harsh, barren world, Jacob has taken up his father's mantle as leader of the rebellion against the Water Lords.

Loyalty and sacrifice have their place in Jacob's life, but there's little room for love. Gorgeous recruit Ethan at least meets Jacob's physical needs, but duty to their cause comes first.

When a killer dust blizzard interrupts a scouting mission, memories of Jacob's painful past hit him full force.

Will he find shelter from the storm in the form of Ethan's love?

It’s very rare for me to feel so strongly and positively about a short story because many times the plot is incomplete or I feel frustrated that the characters are not well developed. A Roof for the Rain is one of those rare exceptions. I got hooked straight away into this bleak, future world and, amazingly, I got a good feel for both characters, especially Jacob, and what motivates them and how they got to be who they are.

It’s 22 years into the future and a second dust bowl, like its predecessor in the 30’s, has devastated the land and there’s precious little water. A group of nasty people have taken control of what water is to be had and you either join them and be a virtual slave or be a part of the underground rebellion.

There’s been a small earthquake and unexpectedly, extra water is coming through the pipes in the underground bunkers. Hopeful for a new source of water, Jacob and Ethan, both soldiers in the underground rebellion, go hunting for the area where it might be coming from to protect that spot from the Water Lords. They can see a huge dust storm coming though and run for protection in an old abandoned house where they wait for it to roll over. In the meantime, old memories of a normal pre DB2 life are coming up for Jacob and he takes solace in the arms of a willing Ethan.

Can I just say I loved this story? It’s so nicely written and intrigued me on so many levels. Not only the introduction of a compelling future world with many conflicts and possibilities, but also the depth of the characterizations of Jacob and Ethan and how they relate. Katrina Strauss’ style, in not only writing but in story telling as well, is so smooth and layered at the same time in this story.

Jacob was still a young boy when DB2 hit and his childhood memories of a normal life; living in a house above ground with windows, green fields, and the ability to move about freely and so on have been hidden for a long time. His father was the main leader of the rebellion when warring started over resources and since his father died, he’s taken over and become a leader in the rebel army. So he's had to fight for survival most of his life. Because of his past and his current position, he has a more somber attitude about things.

Ethan is much younger and was born in the underground, so he has no clue or dreams about what life was like, could be like, on the outside if it would start to rain again. This underground living and being a soldier is all he knows, so in a way, between him and Jacob his spirit is lighter and he easily has a brighter outlook on life.

As far as the relationship goes, Jacob and Ethan are so perfect for each other. Jacob is obviously the older dominant one, always in control. He’s so attracted to the playful submissiveness that Ethan has, even though Ethan is also intense and very powerful in his own right and makes no bones about what he wants with Jacob. Jacob can’t resist either quality in Ethan.

Until this day that the story takes place in, Jacob hasn’t relinquished control over himself and what he feels. Memories suddenly start floating to the surface of his mind though, especially after he and Ethan are stuck in the old house reminding him of his childhood, and this makes him more open and vulnerable to Ethan.

I totally got off on this future world that Katrina Strauss created as well. The concept is provocative and I was so curious about what has happened really and how Jacob and Ethan actually live, although there are glimpses of it. This is the part of the story that was least developed and was more there as a setting for both Jacob and Ethan to come together and cement their relationship. But in itself, I wanted to know more.

This is one of the problems about short stories. While in this case I was very satisfied with the presentation as is, it left me craving for a whole lot more. The details that were presented were so tantalizing. How did the Water Lords gain control? If the rebels live underground then why is it that they can go above ground as well and why don’t they more often? What’s going to happen now with the new development that the story was left off with? And so on. I felt very satisfied though that Jacob and Ethan will have a go at it though.

Can I say anything bad about this story? Nope, not really. All in all, A Roof for the Rain was thoroughly enjoyable read. It was almost the perfect blend of plot, characterization and back story, without one sacrificing too much for the other creating a full, well rounded story. My only wish was that this would have been a much longer. I’ve read that Katrina Strauss might have a companion story to A Roof for the Rain coming and I can’t wait to read it.

Sex rating: Commando- m/m, anal. Intense, hawt male lurving, gritty, juicy, sex.

Grade; A-


JenB said...

I haven't read this one yet, but I just don't think Katrina is capable of writing a bad, boring book. And her books are totally weird, but weird in an interesting, engaging way. She's so incredibly creative!

And it doesn't hurt that she writes hot manlovin'. :)

This one looks fantastic. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to read for fun again and I'll grab it.

MB (Leah) said...

My experience of Katrina so far is that she just keeps getting better and better. And I mean that in her style. I just love reading her stuff and am willing to even deal with the BDSM. LOL

And as you say, she writes some really out there stuff, but not so out there that you're scratching you head going WTF? LOL Out there just enough to go wow, that was different.

It's very short book. Took me like an hour to read and I read very slowly. So you could probably pop it off in like 20 min. And it's only $1.99. Can't beat that!

Katrina Strauss said...

Thanks so much for your kind words, Leah! I know as both a reader and author that short stories can be a mixed bag, and am pleased this one worked for you! :)

And yes, thanks to a reader's suggestion, I'm thinking of writing a companion piece that shows the situation on the Water Lords' side of the fence. So please stay tuned!

MB (Leah) said...

Heh, Katrina, I almost got down on my hands and knees to publicly beg you to write a longer story on this review and then deleted it. Didn't want to look so pathetic begging an author. LOL

This was such a fascinating world you created and I wanted more, MORE!

I wanted to see how Ethan reacts to the new situation. So many possibilities. Great story! Really. :D

Sarah said...

Am going to come back and read your review when I am finished reading it!! Have not had a chance to read all week. Work is teh busy. High marks for you dude... so must be pretty good!!

MB (Leah) said...

You'll love it I'm sure!

It's a short story though, so it can be read easily.