The first I tried to read this, waiting for the next installment just drove me nuts.
Is it the best thing I've read on SOL? No, but it's pretty damn close.
Basically, it's about a well-hung guy who is broke in LA and ends up fucking on film in order to eat. It goes on from there to tell us about friends he makes, lovers he takes both on and off camera, his adventures and tribulations, andhis rise to the top as the cream rises (please forgive the pun).
My only real complaint about this story is technical: words are dropped, doubled, etc. I'm inclined to think that the author was working with voice recognition he wasn't used to.
In the end, though, it was my entry into the author's body of work, and I like that almost as much as the story itself.
I was a little hesitant to read Daze in the Valley, as I am with most Jay Cantrell stories - I'm not sure why... there is something about the large scope, the subject matter - I mean, a Porn actor? I could see all these things that could be involved - the seedier side, cheating, horrible scenarios went through my mind and I skipped over it.
But then... it had good reviews, it had a great score, and it was on the favourite lists...
I've been the same about Charlotte's Movie and I haven't read that one yet - and as I mentioned, I get the same about Jay Cantrell's stories, and I don't know why because I always enjoy them immensely.
How did this one go? It's my favourite story on the site. Hands down. I've read it 5 times before doing this review, and it's been a year, so I'm a little late to the game but I've always meant to review it and Phil Brown mentioned a while back he wished he could review it but didn't have a reviewer account - I do and I should and will be using it more.
So, some of the folks have mentioned what it is about in other reviews and I advise reading them, but it's about Adam Walters - small town farm boy to LA City Porn star.
This is an incredible journey as Adam goes into a business that is seedy and despicable and tries to make the most of it, make it better, and keep his morals and attitude. His friends and roommates get involved in the business, but on the periphery, and his costars get involved with him.
Yes, the seedier side is mentioned, but it is fairly glossed over. Yes, cheating or losing girlfriends is mentioned, but not focused on. Yes, most things I feared would be in the story - but they weren't the story, they weren't part of hte major plot, or they weren't the way Adam Walters wanted to live.
Some of the reviews mentioned problems in the language, missing words, etc - yeah.. I noticed them, and then I didn't care. Jay Cantrell gave me this story for the very high price of free. He gave me many hours of enjoyment and an intricate and brilliant story and I couldn't care less about a few issues - because his editors or proofreaders or pets don't get paid either, and this story is the highest quality you'll find on a site like this.
In fact, I'd love it if the site had a wiki-like editing system where you could send fixes to just be approved, but given that'd really annoy the writer, and they already put 100,000 times the effort writing a story than you did reading it I don't think antagonising them on the little things means much.
Do the characters have multiple names? Most have 2. They also explain them multiple times, and I never once got lost. Being able to read huge chunks and to the end made it easier, for sure. But, if you pay attention to the story it doesn't matter that much.
The thing that really gets me about this story is how many characters get involved over time, the side-plots, the depth of the story. This is an epic, an opus, a gigantic feat of writing that I can not imagine how much effort it took to keep together, to get plotted, to outline and keep the momentum and the main plot moving forward. But Jay did, and did it brilliantly.
The women? Hot. Devastatingly hot. The sex scenes? Unique scenarios every time, regular and just the best quality.
Each character has their own motivations, their own idiosyncrasies, habits and backgrounds - Jay has done a superb job making them individuals and keeping them consistent even as they grow through the series.
Seriously, if there's any reason you haven't read this - read the first few chapters and you'll be hooked. I have no idea why I put it off like I did, but it's hands down my favourite story and I just could not recommend it more.
I never planned to review anything which had been reviewed as heavily as 'Daze', but this is The Odyssey of erotica. Not only that, I started reading back when it was only 50-60 chapters long, maybe less; saying that I'm a little attached to the characters would be an understatement.
On the topic of characters, this is like The Odyssey: nobody goes unnamed. By the end, there's somewhere between 20-40 names that show up regularly, and not remembering them will lead to serious confusion. Fortunately for the reader, this is no chore: every character is unique and well-described. As has been said before, I feel that I could probably identify most of them if I saw them somewhere, and I'd probably get along with them pretty well too.
Like you'd expect in an epic about the porn industry, there's a lot of sex. A lot. What the author does avoid, however, is repetition. As the story progresses, a lot of the action occurs behind the scenes or through anecdotes described by characters, and that's not a bad thing when you've got a main character who regularly has sex with 10+ people. Kudos for sidestepping the trap of making the sex here feel mundane and boring.
I think by the end of the story, Jay Cantrell said that he had three editors, and it definitely shows. This is a nicely polished work with few errors, which is especially impressive considering its length.
The story is driven by a number of things. It starts out with hot sex and some romance, changes to business dealings and profit-making, and even dabbles in academics. The point here is that there are any number of reasons to read the story, and there's a lot of diversity in the conflicts that the characters face.
This is definitely a story that everyone should read. Jay Cantrell has put a staggering amount of effort into researching and accurately portraying events as he depicts them, and it shows.
I'll end my review by simply saying thanks to Jay Cantrell and his editors for all their hard work. It was truly a privilege to read this story, and I look forward to seeing more from all of you.
Reviewed: 2012-02-27 - (Review Updated: 2012-03-02)
Jay Cantrell's "Daze in the Vallley" is a lot of things: a sex-filled journey through the world of porn, a relationship tale filled with well-defined characters, a business tutorial on how to run a corporation . . .
But most of all, it's a reimagining of how Porn Valley might operate if caring, professional people were running things rather than by the perceived misogynistic model of business.
"Daze" follows the adventures of Adam Walters, a Missouri farm boy who's a business major at the University of Southern California. When a family tragedy occurs, he finds himself unable to pay the bills, and when a roommate's girlfriend accidently spies his rather prodigious equipment, he acts on a suggestion that he give porn a try.
Adam's unpleasant introduction to the industry almost drives him out before his career has even begun. But by running into the right people at the right time, Adam, as Derrick Driller, develops a reputation for behaving as a professional and really bringing the best out of his female co-stars.
And Adam is a true nexus, drawing to himself talented people with visionary ideas. Soon, his core group of roommates, friends and lovers finds itself in a position to bring significant change to Porn Valley.
Cantrell admits in a foreward to the story that he is not an expert on every aspect of how business is done on the Southern California porn scene. But the important thing is that the detailed world he creates seems quite real. It is a bit black and white; everyone seems to either be the salt of the earth or the scum of the earth. Still, it's all too easy to believe that in a business that's so looked down upon and marginalized by "polite society" that female performers might be cast in roles intended to brutalize them, so that only the most malleable of women make it through the "rabbit hole" to become long-term performers.
Through the year and a half that "Daze" was posted, it made the perfect serial. Now, clocking in at 167 chapters, it's bound to be a bit initimdating to a new reader. Rest assured that Cantrell has a very readable style, and the average reader will be surprised to realize he's just knocked off 10 or so chapters in a sitting. The plot is engaging enough to keep one coming back for more.
That's not to say that "Daze" is a perfect story. No story this long could be. For one thing, there are a hell of a lot of regular characters, and they all hang out together and most of them also have "porn names" that are used when appropriate. What starts out as a manageable core of eight characters balloons to three times that number by the end. It's taxing to keep everyone straight, even for the most devoted reader.
Cantrell also spends too much time justifying business by the numbers. It's not uncommon in a reimagining story of this sort for the author to feel he or she has to "show his work" to prove it's all logistically or financially possible. But as far as story telling goes, a lot of the material presented gets in the way.
Generally, though, "Daze" has plenty in the way of plot to maintain interest. Cantrell tosses out a lot of plot points, and he resolves most of them, although whether the payoff on any one of them sizzles or fizzles is up to the reader to decide. Interestingly, the most intriguing portion of the book is when Cantrell tosses a grenade, figuratively speaking, in the middle of the group of friends and threatens to destroy the group dynamic. What follows is Adam's challenge to prove himself as a leader, and to discover what he's willing to personally sacrifice to keep his friends and the business together.
Technically, Cantrell's prose is pretty good. Unfortunately, the first half of the story is littered with dropped words and letters. The author added a proofreader to his editing team somewhere around the midway point, which took care of about 95 percent of the problem.
Then there's the sexual content, pretty important for a story about the porn industry. Adam very quickly gets himself three girlfriends, Sarah and Allie, his first two co-stars; and Shelly, a shy ex-girlfriend of an ex-roommate, who's looking to shed all her inhibitions. Cantrell does a nice job managing the polyamorous relationship, and has a flair for expressing the love and emotion behind the sex when the foursome is together. Eventually, Adam's "family" grows to full harem status. Cantrell never really deals with the likelihood that one man is going to be able to keep seven girlfriends for any length of time, no matter how deep the commitment, but, then, that's beyond the parameters of what "Daze" is about.
Do Adam and his little group rehabilitate the industry, or do the enemies they make in the porn establishment take him down? Well, discovering such things is why we actually read the stories, isn't it? Of the long form stories at SOL, this is one that no one who climbs on board for the ride will likely ever regret.
Too. Many. NAMES! Jay... buddy... you can't give EVERYONE in this story three names. You just can't. It's cruel and unusual, at best.
Seriously... this is a good story, with occasional dalliances with 'great'. Jay Cantrell has built a universe wherein a group of insanely hot young college-aged kids enter the world of porn, and turn it on it's ear.
There's more than a hint of typical erotica-type good fortune. Come to find out, each and every person in this close-knit circle of friends is supernaturally talented at something or the other. It's a bit... well, mildly annoying, but only in the roll-your-eyes-and-keep-reading way. The protagonist is good enough, if a little too wide-eyed and out of his league most of the time.
Jay's doing a good job portraying the characters as real people, so much so that you get the sense he might well have based all of them off of real acquaintances of his. This leads to some weirdness, though, as someone suddenly displays some absolutely outrageous amount of talent, and everyone else in this extremely close-knit group ends up astonished.
I don't mean to bash the story, even a little bit, but there were a few things that kept it on the upper edge of "good" instead of somewhere in the "great" arena.
There were quite a few typos, some swapped pronouns, and a few words omitted, though it was always easy to figure out what he was TRYING to say. These are just blips in the road, though.
All in all, it's a very engaging story, and I'm most definitely hooked. The characters are fun to root for, and the sex scenes are pretty hot. There's a lot of foreshadowing, most of it pretty blatant, but all of it done in such a way that you're always wondering when he's going to get back around to addressing it (very much akin to Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books).
Technically, with the aforementioned glitches, the story is still well written, and an easy read. It gets a little over-technical at times, but not in too indulgent of a fashion. The stroke amount is fair, though the scenes are pretty few and far between (and Jay seems to prefer even his PORN stars to be less than "C" cups... WTF, Jay??). The plot is the strong point, though, and the strength of the story. It's well worth a read, and I definitely recommend it.
Reviewed: 2011-02-28 - (Review Updated: 2011-02-28)
This is my first encounter with Jay Cantrell. Jay normally writes much shorter works and thus has stayed under my personal radar.
I bookmarked "Daze in the Valley" several months ago but always chose something else for immediate reading. After all I wasn't in the mood for something jammed with sex scenes and let's face it, a story about the porn industry could be expected to be oozing sex.
Wrong! This is NOT a stroke story. The author claims "much sex", but compared with many other offerings on SOL there is a lot of plot development between each scene. This is a tale of a bunch of college age kids coming together in a fairly believable way and teaming up to launch their own enterprise. They set themselves a goal of not just making lots of money but also of shifting the emphasis of the porn industry from humiliation and degradation back to true eroticism.
At the time of writing (chapter 52), we don't know how it will all end but I can't wait to find out!
"But what about sex" you say? Let me promise you that you will find the sex scenes in this story to be among the most erotic you have encountered. Jay Cantrell has got an imagination! This is not a story where the protagonist shows his size and amazing prowess with monotonous regularity. Even the stroke scenes have a plot - and they are believable!
As a general rule, I dislike stories that work in "real time" - that is, a day by day account. However, in this case it is the right approach (so far). The plot and the evolution of the characters is so fast moving that you don't want to miss a day.
Either join me and catch up with the story so far and eagerly await each new instalment from Jay, or wait until the story is fully complete and settle in for a long read. Either way, be sure to read this story.
Me, I am off to read some of Jay's other works while I impatiently wait for some more chapters.