Spaceport: Courtesan by Cat Marsters

Spaceport: Courtesan by Cat Marsters
Publisher: Changeling Press
Length: Short (75 pgs)
Genre: Action/Adventure Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Type: M/F * M/F/M * M/M * Menage * Multiple Partners
Rating: 3 cherries
Review by Lotus

I am Sayana, high-caste Otha, and I was born to fuck.

Sayana can have any man she wants — and he’ll pay for the privilege. As a Nil Rajan courtesan of great renown, she’s in the rare position of choosing which clients she’ll allow to share her bed.

Only two men have ever been invited for free. One is her friend and assistant, a quiet, watchful Antillan who’s deadly with a weapon and highly skilled in bed. His name is Janus Valdec, and he’s the one person Sayana truly trusts. The other is Captain Rider, a pirate with eyes like space trash who touched more than just her body in a chance encounter three years ago.

Rider figured out her most closely-held secret, and she’s been on the run from him ever since. When an attack on her ship leaves Sayana vulnerable, she’s forced to choose which of these two men she can trust — not just with her heart, but with her life.

Cat Marsters’ Spaceport: Courtesan begins with a delicious premise, fans out into a properly dramatic and over-the-top space opera, but then finishes in strange and bewildering territory. The concept of the tale is strong—an expensive whore in a seedy spaceport is more than what she seems, and has much to hide—and provides a perfect basis for an erotic novella. The sex is plentiful and ranges from quick and dirty to sensuous and beautiful. Sayana’s story is also populated with all the character staples of high adventure: she has a loyal sidekick, capable and well-placed friends, and there’s a even good-hearted rogue in her past who’s come looking for her.

So, with all this going for it, it seems a shame that the early wit and drama of the story is abandoned in the final act. This is supposed to be a romance. The love story should not interrupt, but flow seamlessly into, the promise of the initial storytelling. The main romance has a very promising start, but the author mishandles the love triangle she seems intent on setting up. The seeds are all there: Janus’s ambiguous friendship, Rider’s luminous sexuality and courtly roguishness, and Sayana’s complicated past. This is a classic formula for romantic space opera, and not one that should be squandered. Not for a moment am I suggesting that there’s no room for originality here, but the author ultimately robs the situation of its emotion and it takes the power out of the resolution.

But that’s the bad news. The good news is that Courtesan still succeeds at being charming, funny, and really, really sexy. Sayana genuinely enjoys what she does, and her wholehearted commitment to sex is refreshing and inspiring. Until very near the ending, which is something of a jumble, this book is not only sex-positive, but prostitution-positive as well. Sayana’s trade is seen as legitimate, and many of the other characters are able to save themselves with it, although the potential dangers of prostitution are not ignored. Overall, though it is a mystery as to why she allowed her sexy space opera to fall apart in the third act, Marsters’ contribution to the Spaceport series is a worthy one.

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