Slave of the Aristocracy: Book One – On the Auction Block
on Aug. 25, 2015
A fascinating books series that would actually work quite well even without the adult content (but wouldn't be nearly as much fun or surreal).
The world Zacharias has created for us is the "male dream" in almost every respect. Men of substance (the aristocrats) buy and sell sex slaves at their whim. The slaves are all young, beautiful, skilled, and uninhibited. Men have total control over their slaves, with no responsibilities at all; the main character belongs for a time to a man devoted to torturing his slaves in excruciating fashion, and no one thinks the less of him for it. When slaves become too old to be pleasing as sex slaves, they are discarded (worked to death in short order as "work slaves").
Zacharias makes this world believable, through use of detail and a very-well-thought-out plot that immerses the reader slowly in the various levels of this society over the course of the first four books, and then shows it subject to change in the fifth. As a man, it is rather uncomfortable to see the dark side of the male fantasy. I'm hoping that was a purpose in writing the books.
Not just the story is good, though. The writing, and especially the dialogue, make these books an enjoyable read just for the language. Highly recommended.
on Jan. 20, 2020
The first book in a series that takes the un-named (or, rather, variously-named) protagonist through a series of erotic (and not-so-erotic) adventures as a voluntary slave. The story unfolds slowly until the last pages, and proves to be far more satisfying than I expected from the first book.
As is her wont, Ashley Zacharious tries very hard to make the actual mechanics of the slavery and story events work in a logical an clear fashion. Our heroine isn't some broken thing that enjoys pain and degradation, as we first suspect, but rather is a dedicated woman on a mission. I'd love to see more of this character in sequels.
The only downside to the series, in my mind, was the wanton cruelty exhibited in the book on the accountant. Zacharious puts her heroine through trying times indeed in that book, and I found it more grim than I would prefer. If not for that, this would be a five-star review.
The Most Awesome Retention Bonus Ever
on Jan. 23, 2020
This is my favorite Ashley Zacharias book so far, and I've read most of them. The protagonist is very relatable, the dilemma she finds herself in is very believable, and the resolution follows very naturally from the actions the reader sees her take. There is some kinky stuff here, but it is in service to the story rather than the reverse.
If I were reading a draft of the book, I'd make two suggestions to the author:
1. Make the consequences of the heroine's realization that she gets sexually excited when she gets ordered around a bigger part of the plot (make it add to her dilemma; does she even want to escape from her situation?) and leave open as long as possible the possibility that she could choose to stay on this path, and
2. Make the story climax more elaborate; have some elements of it go awry, so the heroine has to adjust her plans (and demonstrate her genius once again) to make her solution work. As it is, the story climax is a bit anticlimactic (at least compared to our expectations at that point).
But those weak points don't detract much from this book. The pleasure of the book comes from seeing the main character grow in character and inner strength under the pressures of a horrible situation. Her increasing awareness of the power of her own sexuality eventually morphs into a realization that, contrary to her views at the beginning, her situation is not hopeless and she is not powerless to affect her fate. This is a common Zacharias book element, but we generally only see it happening over the course of several books. I think seeing it happen over the course of a single book makes it better.
on Feb. 12, 2020
This book is erotic only if you consider torture itself to be erotic. The book is technically well-written, and the main character is well-fleshed-out, but I found the whole scenario implausible and the unrelenting bleakness of the story was unattractive in the absence of any purpose to the bleakness other than to be bleak. I'd rate it lower than three stars in terms of my own enjoyment, but it doesn't fail to deliver anything it promised, so will take the hit of not knowing what I was buying, and rate it at a three.