**spoiler alert** I’ve never read anything with pony play before (it’s not something that’s particularly interested or appealed to me before), but I w...more**spoiler alert** I’ve never read anything with pony play before (it’s not something that’s particularly interested or appealed to me before), but I was in the mood to try something new and decided to give this one a shot. Which turned out to be a very bad choice, especially for a first introduction to this type of kink.
I haven’t finished this story, and I’m not sure if I ever will. I got to about 54% (at the scene where Reuben is introduced to the “reading chair”) and decided to call it quits. I may try to finish at a later date (out of sheer morbid curiosity), but for now, I wanted to get my thoughts down while it’s all still fresh in my mind.
I guess I’ll start out with what I actually liked. Just a couple of things, which are what saved this one from a 1-star rating. First was the professional writing. There is so much unpolished, juvenile writing, and silly, corny, unrealistic dialogue in this genre, that finding something that’s well-written (even if you don’t like the actual content, characters, etc.) is like finding a diamond in an ocean of pebbles. So, kudos to the author for the high-quality writing. Secondly, I thought the world building was very well done. It’s a fascinating, unique setting, and I had no problems at all, picturing this strange, historical, steampunk-ish, zombie-ridden, post apocalyptic-type version of our world.
But, as for the rest of the story… Well, I still don’t know how I feel about the pony play aspect, and I honestly don’t know if that’s because it just doesn’t do it for me, or if I couldn’t really focus and appreciate it because my mind was too preoccupied with all the other fucked up shit that was going on…
I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned this (I haven’t had a chance yet, to read through any of the other reviews here, and I don’t really want to – I don’t want to be influenced by them before I write my own review), but this story is NOT a romance. It’s advertised as one (on the Smashwords page, where I purchased my copy, it’s tagged as “Romance”) but holy hell… In what twisted, fucked-up universe could this EVER be considered a romance? And the BDSM? NOT the typical kind you would expect. The BDSM aspects of this story are all about punishment (and NOT the erotic, titillating kind) which involve Reuben being bound while he has his face smashed into a wall (bloody nose and all) by his Master’s lackey, being hit/slapped in the face by his Master, and having his Master snap, fly into a rage, and beat the living fuck out of him with a cane.
Which brings me to the characters. In the beginning, I was really fascinated with the “Master”. He was presented as a very odd, mysterious type of character, and I was looking forward to learning more about him. But as the story progressed, I slowly started getting some really bad vibes about him. And by the time I reached the scene where they had their first dinner together, in that “house of horrors” dining hall, I realized he was NOT some sexy, darkly sinister “make you shiver in a good way” type of character. He’s just a creepy fucker. Like, “mentally ill serial killer” kind of creepy.
And then there’s Reuben. Poor, stupid Reuben. I liked him very much in the beginning, but again, as the story progressed, I started to realize just how ironic it was that he was always so upset about everyone calling him “stupid”, because… he actually IS. And oh god, how I can’t stand stupid main characters. It’s the final nail in the coffin that completely kills a story for me. And this character really does fall under the TSTL (too stupid to live) category, which again is ironic, because the man that owns him may very well kill him… literally. But oh no, he’s more worried about being called stupid, worried about what he’s going to be fed, worried about the humiliation, whining and sulking about not being allowed any alcohol. Not to mention, attacking his Master and mouthing off every chance he gets, even AFTER he’s been repeatedly beaten for that. Slow learner? Umm, yeah… that would be putting it mildly. Hell, even a retarded half-wit would have enough sense of self-preservation to keep their mouth shut and behave (while waiting for a chance to escape), especially when they know for a fact that “disobedient horses” get “put down”, and have their heads stuffed and mounted on the dining room wall.
Like I said before… Lots of fucked up shit going on in this story. Creepy as hell. NO romance (yes, I’ve only read roughly half of it, but I honestly don’t see how this could ever turn around and become “romantic”). A creepy, mentally ill, abusive, murderous main character, paired with an incredibly stupid, sulky/whiny one. And I’d be hard-pressed to even call this erotic, although, to be fair, that part of it is purely subjective. If I didn’t have so many issues with the characters, the sex scenes would probably have been much more enjoyable for me.
But as it is… this story just left me cold and queasy, and I really wish I could get my $4.99 back. :((less)
**spoiler alert** Well, I really loved the first book in this series (gave it 5-stars), but this one was a bit...strange, in that the tone of it seeme...more**spoiler alert** Well, I really loved the first book in this series (gave it 5-stars), but this one was a bit...strange, in that the tone of it seemed quite a bit different from the first, and almost felt like it was written by someone else...
There was also a het sex scene (albeit, brief) that did not sit well with me at all. And then there was mention of Viggo marrying and having children at some point in the future, but oh...he'll keep Colum on the side as his lover. Yuck. :( I realize that may be "authentic" to the time/setting, but nothing kills my enjoyment of a story faster than that particular scenario.
After that little tidbit of info (which was unhappily stuck in my mind) I just couldn't properly enjoy the rest of the story. And then, after Viggo had been quite cruel and cold in the beginning (which was a bit of a shock, and made me feel quite bad for Colum), there were a few moments between the two of them, towards the end, that were kind of overly sappy, and seemed very out of character. It was kind of weird, and reinforced that feeling I had of it being written by someone else.
I don't know...the writing itself was technically very good, which is why I decided to give it 3-stars. But for my personal enjoyment of the story, it's more like a 2-star read for me. So I doubt I'll be continuing with this series. :((less)
This is definitely my favourite Brad Vance story so far! Hot-hot-hot! :)
Did you watch the Vikings (2013) TV Series and imagine the storyline following...moreThis is definitely my favourite Brad Vance story so far! Hot-hot-hot! :)
Did you watch the Vikings (2013) TV Series and imagine the storyline following a...slightly different script, from the point where Ragnar attacks the monastery and takes Athelstan as his slave? If so, you're going to love this! :P
For me, the emotional aspect of this story made the sex so much hotter than if it had been just plain erotica. Colum may be Viggo's slave, but there's a measure of kindness and caring there, and some very sexy possessiveness, that takes the sting out of Viggo's sometimes rough and callous treatment of Colum. There's also a mutual respect between the two of them, stemming from the surprising revelation that there's more to each of them than what the other expected.
I did feel a bit sorry for poor Niall (Colum's friend, who is also taken prisoner), although...I guess it wasn't too bad since he did seem to enjoy being used and abused. But I do hope Book 2 will find him with someone a bit kinder and more...appreciative of what he has to offer. Heh. :P(less)
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this one. Just wish it had been a little bit longer! :)
Sidian was really fascinating, and I would have liked to have known...more**spoiler alert** I enjoyed this one. Just wish it had been a little bit longer! :)
Sidian was really fascinating, and I would have liked to have known more about him. I also would have liked for the underwater scene to be longer. There's just something so sexy about sex underwater, while someone else breathes for you. :P
The ending made me chuckle, but I wonder what happens later? After they leave the island, will Aire never see him again unless he returns to the island? Is Sidian strictly a freshwater creature, or can he survive in the ocean? Could he even get to the ocean if he wanted to? And would he even do that for a mortal?
This is really just an erotic encounter, not romance, but I guess I'm always looking for the romantic, happily-ever-after side of things. :P(less)
It's sadistic, twisted, horrifying, disturbing...and I just could not put it down, even though my stomach was all tied up in...moreThis was an amazing read.
It's sadistic, twisted, horrifying, disturbing...and I just could not put it down, even though my stomach was all tied up in knots through the entire thing, and I actually felt physically nauseous several times. That has never happened to me before. I usually have a very strong stomach when it comes to violence and torture (in literature), and have actually read much more brutal, graphic content than this in other stories. But this one had a much more profound effect on me, most likely because the medical experiments/tortures described are based on real life events: Nazi human experimentation (Josef Mengele also makes an appearance as a fairly prominent character in this story).
As for the main characters...despite what you may think for a large portion of this story, there is actually a "romance" here (IMO), but I found I had to create a new label/shelf for it, because to call it an "erotic romance" would be ten kinds of wrong. It's dark, twisted and sadistic (Stockholm Syndrome at its very worst) and the "romance" kind of creeps up on you so very slowly. At the beginning of the story I was horrified with their "relationship"...during the last quarter I was an emotional wreck, hoping like hell that they would have a happy ending...together. (less)
I didn't feel any real connection between the main characters, and the rushed declarations of love just made tha...moreThis was a disappointing read for me.
I didn't feel any real connection between the main characters, and the rushed declarations of love just made that even worse.
One of the main reasons I bought this book is because I was interested to see how a woman would react to (and feel about) having sex in a man's body, with another man, but unfortunately, she seemed to be more fascinated with how she peed with a penis. And their first sexual encounter was extremely underwhelming and unrealistic. A cock sliding right into a virgin ass, with no prep and water as a substitute for lube? Ummm...no.
The ending was also a bit sad and not at all what I expected. Don't want to give too much away here, but I was kind of irritated that we'd been led to believe this would be a "souls reuniting" type of deal, but that's not at all what happened.
The only thing that saved this from a 1-star rating was the descriptions of the time/setting, which were very well done. But other than that, nothing else about this story worked for me... :((less)