Current trends in the genre of erotica have shown a growing appreciation of a horror aspect to sex and sexuality. Between works of written erotica, and the porn industry, horror seems to be making an unexpected rise in popularity. Capitalizing on this idea is indie author, Laila Faire, who has crafted a number of horror erotica novellas, including “Carnival of Sin”. This was actually the first work of horror erotica I’ve ever read, and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I figure the best thing to do was write down my first impressions, and tell you a bit about the story.
“Carnival of Sin” is the story of a young woman by the name of Heart who is on a personal quest to discover the truth behind the disappearance of her best friend, Bliss. The only clue she has to go on is the name of the place Bliss visited just before her disappearance: the Carnival of Sin. Having grown up on the streets since she was a teenager, Heart has a tough and gruff demeanor that helps her out greatly during her investigations. She’s searched the dark web, and used both sex and violence to obtain any leads she can get her hands on. Ironically enough, it’s only when she begins to give up on her search that the Carnival reaches out to her. With a sealed invitation, the real challenge begins.
The first thing I noticed about Laila’s novella was how incredibly imaginative it was. It’s easy to get lost in the setting of Carnival of Sin, whether you’re travelling down the dark alleys of the city, or through the otherworldly carnival grounds. There’s enough description to help place you in the scene, without making the story feel like it’s dragging on. Overall, I like the pace at which you progress through the story itself. I don’t feel like I’m waiting to see everything before I find out what the character is going to do next.
A few things I wasn’t a fan of were the character’s names. I’m not usually a stickler for little things, but it always bothers me when characters are given names that are very transparent of their identities. I also felt like Heart could have shown a bit more of her fortitude had the writer allowed her to experience more trauma during some of her more trying times throughout the plot. Overall, Heart could have appeared more human, and even more relatable, had she been allowed to show a little weakness.
As for the sex scenes, I can tell you now, there is no shortage of them throughout the novella. One of my favorite things about Carnival of Sin, in fact, is the way Ms. Faire has managed to mesh together the carnival elements of the 50s and 60s with various kinks and fetishes. All of which feel very natural to envision, as though these types of performances had always been. Even for a novella, readers can expect a hot sex scene in every chapter, varying from something as light as voyeurism, to rough, group-sex action.
As you might expect from a novella with multiple sex acts, they are also quite varied, and suitable to satisfy a number of tastes. There were definitely a few times when the book became a one-handed read. If there were to be one thing I would change, however, it would be in description of the scenes. I had a difficult time imagining what the character’s bodies looked like throughout the book. I know it’s often recommended to not be too specific with what the people look like, so as to encourage a self-interpreted image, but I don’t recall ever seeing the little things, like what color is Heart’s hair? Or Bliss’?
Laila Faire is clearly paving the way in this new sub-genre of erotic horror, and I’m going to be following her work some more to see where she goes with it next. Carnival of Sin has a lot to offer readers, and allows some room for even more elaborate adventures to arise from it. I could conservatively see this novella extending into an even longer novel, if the author chose to. It’s an excellent book, no matter what anyone says, and I definitely recommend you give it a read. As for me, I think I’ll be checking out her other stories as well.
If you’d like to read “Carnival of Sin” for yourself, you can find it here on Amazon.