grumbler

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grumbler's favorite authors on Smashwords

Amy Kitt
Latest book: Elizabeth.
Published July 21, 2012. (4.67 from 3 reviews)
Lia Anderssen
Latest book: Total Abandon.
Published December 9, 2020.

Smashwords book reviews by grumbler

  • 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.
  • The Farmer 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. Highly recommended.
  • Criminally Insane 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.
  • The Flower Girl on June 14, 2020

    One of JJ Argus's best. The story is sexy but believable, the sex scenes build up nicely and are both hot and well-written, and the development of the character is handled very credibly, without requiring her to suddenly become a slut or do silly things. Highly recommended.
  • $old on June 14, 2020

    While reasonably well-written, these books are not believable nor especially sexy. The reader is likely to groan aloud at the absurd plot twist at the end of the first book. The second book mostly takes place before the first book, so I am unsure why they are presented in this order. There are a number of mistakes regarding Syria, Afghanistan, the CIA, and the like, but the reader probably wont be bothered by those. These books are recommended only for those looking to complete their Jaid Black reading list. Get one of her other books, instead.
  • Tara's Guilt Trip on June 15, 2020

    Not, unfortunately, one of JJ Argus's better efforts. My assumption is that it is supposed to be satire mocking the whole PC/White Guilt movement, but satire needs to be subtle. This is as subtle as a sledgehammer. We never really learn anything about the Main Caricature, who remains a cardboard cutout with only a very few lines of thought and no notable characteristics other than her "guilt" over her "privilege." The antagonists in the book, all black, are just as cardboard-cutout-ish, with no apparent motivations other than to harass the main caricature and her friends. The sexy bits are sexy, but they just form a string of images tied together by one of the most absurd plots I've seen. There can be no suspension of disbelief here, so this doesn't work as a sexy drama, and there isn't nearly enough humor to be a sexy comedy. It's just a bad, dull book with a few good moments in it.
  • The Cheat on June 15, 2020

    This book is what I look for in a JJ Argus book: a credible story with sexy scenes that advance the story. It's almost impossible not to see the main antagonist as Tony Soprano, though the actual mob elements are purely in the background. The main character's motivations, uncertainties, and responses all are very plausible, and the sexy scenes are very hot. If you like this author at all, read this book. If you don't like the author, read it anyway.
  • Woman Degraded on July 02, 2020

    My least favorite AZ book. While it has hot moments, the dramatic tension in the story is ruined by the decision of the author to follow the modern trend and tell the story from the standpoint of both the characters in the relationship. Where the story could wring some excitement and intrigue out of the issue of whether the female protagonist can trust the man she is giving power over her, it instead tells the reader that yes, he is trustworthy and there is no threat to her. There's an amusing side story about the male protagonist that revolves entirely around this issue of trust, so it's a pity AZ didn't incorporate that idea in the main story (as she did, for instance, in The Honest Masochist). The idea for this book is sound, but the execution disappoints.
  • Naked Deliverance on July 22, 2020

    i am impressed that this book has finally made it into general availability. it's been one of the "unicorn books" of the adult library. The final result is good, though not great. Well worth getting, but not equal to it's (perhaps unrealizable) reputation.
  • Shame: My Freshman Year on July 22, 2020

    The latest AZ novel is also unique, for three reasons: First, the protagonist is the youngest of any of the AZ books I have read. She is also, then, the most "innocent." She has less experience to draw on when describing how she feels or what happens to her. Second, the protagonist is not, for once, beautiful and in charge of her sex life (or, as in many of the novels, in charge of declining control of her sex life). She is average in looks, and thus less sexy but more relatable. Third, and most astonishingly, this book is told in the first person. I don't think I have read any first-person stories from AZ before. What makes this so astonishing is that it invites the reader to think that the heroine thinks as the author does. The end result is a book that the reader feels a whole lot less comfortable with than AZ's usual books, because the average-appearing protagonist is a lot more relatable than the sex slave of the Slave of the Aristocracy or A Gift of Herself. I am ambivalent about the whole pain-seeking element of this book. Our heroine doesn't enjoy pain so much as she enjoys the anticipation of pain and the post-pain self-congratulations that she could endure pain. That's all alien to me. It seems like the backgammon series x 100 Nevertheless, I am going to give this book five stars just because it dares to embrace the theme. There's nothing here that doesn't do exactly what it advertises it will do. If this is a series, though, I probably won't read the rest of it. I like the protagonist enough to not want to share more adventures in agony.
  • The Naughty Girl on Aug. 03, 2020

    This book was clearly originally a series of short stories, stitched together into a novel. The result isn't bad, though it lacks the level of detail AZ usually puts into her novels, and the growth of the character is well-done. Essential reading for those interested in the books about Raleigh Bern, but of less interest on its own.
  • The Tough Guy on Aug. 03, 2020

    This book has a plot as about as complex as AZ gets in a single-volume story, and the results are highly satisfactory. There's a variety of sex scenes, none of them routine, and there's a nice mystery. The best thing about the book, though, is that it shows Raleigh Bern's interior life in more detail than in the other books about her, and it's interesting to see how she reacts to the events of the novel. The only thing missing that I'd like to see would have been Raleigh being blackmailed into spending a night at the mercy of Annabelle. But we got plenty of that kind of thing in the second Raleigh Bern series, so no huge lack. I'd love to see this series finished. It leaves a lot open and Raleigh really shines when she is up against villains, not just her targets.
  • An Ambitious Girl on Aug. 03, 2020

    In some ways this book is a pretty typical D/S novel, written with JJ Argus's usual ability to create sexy scenes, but there's a twist to the story that I enjoyed: the "sub" in this case doesn't want to be a sub, she wants to be a dom. She puts up with the way she is treated because her ambitions to become just like the dom of the story require her to (though she does sort of like it). It makes for a nice change from the usual "resists but then completely surrenders" protagonists of these kind of stories. I didn't read the second book in the series because I feared that the author would burst that bubble. This book is well-worth reading on its own.
  • The Detective on Aug. 03, 2020

    This is one of the JJ Argus books that just didn't work for me. The plot is too contrived, the villain too deus ex machina, and the ending too cruel for me to really enjoy. There are a lot of good JJ Argus books on the site; read one of them, instead.
  • The Studfinder General (For the Manor Bred,1) on Aug. 05, 2020

    I am normally a fan of this author's works, because they are both hot and satisfyingly romantic. This book is an exception. I couldn't even finish it. The main problem with the book is that one of the two main characters (there is no protagonist or antagonist in the book, because it is told from two points of view) is a sociopath. He'd make a fine villain, because he believes in mutilating, torturing, raping, and kidnapping women, so is clearly evil as hell. However, what makes him such a poor POV character is that we as readers have to wade through the sewer of his mind, wherein he believes that his evil acts are perfectly justified, because the women he is abusing secretly like it. He even goes so far as to victimize an intelligent, independent woman because he knows that she will resist being turned into a mindless slave longer than less intelligent and independent women, thus extending the necessarily brutality he will get to engage in in order to break her. He doesn't see anyone but himself as a real person; everyone else, in his view, is merely there to serve his interests in whatever way he desires. That a classic sociopath. The female main character is mostly very likeable, but often extremely dumb. For instance, in one scene, he kidnaps her (when she is carrying a large sum of money) in the middle of a hotel lobby, with numerous people around, including a close friend of hers. She knows that she will be robbed, and likely raped, if he goes with hm, and yet she does nothing to alert the people around her that she is being kidnapped. Sure enough, he robs her. That was the point at which I stopped reading. It was impossible to suspend disbelief after that. I urge readers to find one of the author's other books, like Brute or The Captain's Plaything. They are as hot as this book and far less irritatingly unbelievable.
  • The General's Virgin Slave on Aug. 19, 2020

    A fairly short, light read with some sexy scenes, but not very convincing. Even if you ignore the historical discrepancies (centurions, even senior ones, are not generals), the author's decision to present the story from the point of view of both the centurion and the modern woman works against any real story tension and makes the ending rather absurd. This would be so much better if told strictly from the woman's point of view. The author uses language very well, though, so it's an enjoyable read even if not an excellent one.
  • Caine's World - Volume 1 on Aug. 19, 2020

    This is torture porn, so if you aren't into that, you should stay away. I was expecting more of a B/D novel than the sadism novel this turns out to be - the title character is just into pain, not sex. I'm giving it two stars because it isn't really anything but what it claims to be, but can't give it more because it is just so relentlessly depressing. I really just wanted the main character (Caine) to die horribly, preferably at the hands of the women he was brutalizing. He had no redeeming features whatsoever.
  • A Change of Career on Aug. 19, 2020

    This was a pretty lighthearted but interesting tale of a woman who decides to quit the rat race in favor of a career in sex. It's not about what happens to her as a courtesan so much as it is about why she decides to do it and what she does to prepare herself for her new career. The only real flaw to the book was that it was so dispassionate that you could never really identify with any of the characters. They were just characters in a story.
  • The Red Kick on Aug. 20, 2020

    A lighthearted romp with very cartoonish characters and plot, by design. The book never really gels as a compelling story, but it has some hot bits and some funny bits, so fulfills its promise.
  • Sky Pirates of the Rio Grande on Aug. 24, 2020

    This book works on all levels: adventure, erotica, scifi steampunk, and pirate story. Don't let the low price fool you into thinking that this book is priced low out of desperation. It's like an ER Burroughs story set in a Verne world, so you have the best of both. There are a few anachronisms like effective electric lighting in 1867 and percussion caps on six-shooters, but most of the mad science is explained away reasonably well. The only real plot loophole is the one the story is supposed to be based on: a single code machine simply isn't useful (you need at least one at the transmitter and one at the receiver). The fights also started to get repetitive in the middle of the story (though the fighting at the climax is good). Still, the complaints are nits and the story more than makes up for them.
  • The Stranger on Sep. 06, 2020

    Great little story with a vivid description of Zoe's inner life, and an exciting outer life that may, in fact, be far more dangerous than Zoe imagines. Lots of variety in the sex, and some of the sexiest parts of the story don't even need to include sex. Highly recommended.
  • Miranda's Desk Job on Sep. 06, 2020

    The book starts out really well but then becomes repetitive. This is really more of a short story padded out into a novel than is usual for JJ Argus. He's got much better books out there.
  • Gamer Girl on Sep. 06, 2020

    A short, fairly light story that hits all the right notes. The story progression and character development move at exactly the right pace, and we get a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended.
  • The Little French Brat on Sep. 06, 2020

    The description of this book is way off: Amie is Canadian, not French, and is anything but bratty. This is a simple little love story with a kinky twist. The characters are likable and the sex used to advance the story, not just fill pages. Recommended.
  • Passed Around Coed on Sep. 06, 2020

    The book has some excellent sex scenes, but the story itself is a bit too absurd to make this a five star book.
  • The Repairman on Sep. 11, 2020

    This fun little story showcases what JJ Argus does best: he makes it sexy to see the inner working of the mind of his protagonist. There's not a whole lot of actual action or sex in this little story, but that's for the best, as it means that most f the story is about what the female protagonist is feeling and thinking. She's a very different person at the end of the story, but it isn't because of what happens so much as it is because of how she decides to react to it. Highly recommended.
  • Emily's Debt on Sep. 11, 2020

    A grim story about a dystopian future that, luckily, isn't very plausible. The story delivers on what it promises, but that turns out to be not very sexy and ultimately just depressing.
  • A Guest of the County on Sep. 11, 2020

    Another pretty straightforward and fun little novelette by JJ Argus. The story pretty much 100% takes place in the mind of the protagonist, and that's JJ Argus's wheelhouse. The kink here is that the prisoner is blindfolded so can only respond to sound and touch. Lighthearted and with a happy ending. Highly recommended.
  • The Billionaire on Sep. 11, 2020

    The second book in the series is not quite as tense as the first, because we have learned more about what the protagonist is trying to do. Lots of sexy vignettes, and a nice character moment when the protagonist stands up for herself.
  • The Accountant on Sep. 11, 2020

    I didn't enjoy this book as much as the others in the series, because it was set up to be less enjoyable to readers with my tastes. Others might enjoy it more. I just found the relentless cruelty and hypocrisy hard to wade through. On the plus side, there is some character development towards the end as the protagonist toughens up and strikes back.
  • The Scientist on Sep. 11, 2020

    This is one of those AZ stories that feature a great twist at the end that makes the reader reconsider everything that's happened in the book. A great finish to the series.
  • Queen of the Sky Frontier on Sep. 11, 2020

    This book has some of the romping fun of the first book, but starts to suffer from the absurdity of the author's "pirate world" where tens of thousands of pirates on hundreds of ships (numbers not seen in the world since Roman days) subsist somehow in the deserts of the American West, and incredibly stupid but rich evil people give insane villains millions of dollars and hope the insane villains can be trusted. Worse, Eden Kane almost unforgivably allows the sociopathic main villainess to repeatedly escape justice, so that at the end of the book the villainess can murder several thousand unsuspecting innocent victims. The whole story falls short of suspension of disbelief. The sex has also become very mechanical by this point in the series: man boffs woman, she cums twice, he then comes after "three strokes" but miraculously does not lose his erection, turns the woman over and takes her doggy style until she cums again and then he cums. That's 70+% of the sex scenes, right there. The reader learns to just skip the sex scenes.
  • The Shadow Princess on Sep. 11, 2020

    A fun little adventure that is full of hot scenes, cases of mistaken identity, betrayal, and bawdiness. It probably went on a bit too long, but reached a very satisfying conclusion. A definite read.
  • Young Pirates of Distinction on Sep. 11, 2020

    The best of the Paul Batteiger stories feature strong character development, and this book has strong character development times five! Yes, there's lots of sexy bits, and yes, there's lots of adventure bits, but the best parts of the story are when each of the characters finds out what they are destined to be. The villains are a bit too deus ex machina (they show up unrealistically at just the right time and place to make for a challenge to the heroines), but that doesn't stop me from giving the book five stars. The strengths are just too strong to be pulled down by some minor weaknesses. Highly recommended, especially if you liked his Sky Pirates series.
  • Digital Slave on Sep. 15, 2020

    This book is very well-written, but I am not sure how much I could recommend it. It is, frankly, brutal at times, and the reader will encounter the most passive-aggressive character I have ever encountered, in fiction or out of it. This makes for some very uncomfortable reading at times. I even ended up having to skip about half of the last 20% of the book (the sensory-deprivation part) because it was so uncomfortable. Having said that, the author is very disciplined in keeping the story squarely from the viewpoint of the protagonist, who becomes a less and less reliable narrator as time goes on, and that's an admirable skill in an author. This certainly is not a book the reader will soon forget. The story is so very realistic in the near-future sense that it almost counts as horror. I can't say "if the author had only done X, it would have been a better book" because this is clearly the story the author wanted to tell, and nothing here is done in any way sloppily or out of line with what the story needed. I can't even complain that it has an unhappy ending, because I don't know how much of the protagonist's happiness at the end was feigned. All I can say is that the book delivers what it promises, whether I really wanted that or not. So, I just can't give it five stars, but you might.
  • Into The Past on Sep. 15, 2020

    Very fun, sexy little read, that does what JJ Argus does best - put us in the mid of someone in an extraordinary situation. The sexy bits happen where the story needs them, and they are very well-described. The fantasy element actually makes the story more credible than other books where things happen for more "realistic" but sillier-sounding reasons. Highly recommended.
  • Nigger's Girl on Sep. 15, 2020

    An unfortunate title for a sexy book that strays just a bit too far in the direction of absurdity to maintain suspension of disbelief. The sexy bits are sexy, and seldom contrived, but the main character's motivations just don't add up. Still recommended.
  • The Mirror Box on Sep. 21, 2020

    This first 60% of this book is interesting, with the attempts to mind-break the prisoners and that description of the exact moment when the prisoners' resistance was first cracked, the further exploitation of those cracks, etc. The last 40% of the book, when we found out why this is all being done, is laughably absurd. The facility here represents the work of thousands of people to design it, build it, operate it, and maintain it, and not one of these thousands of FBI people apparently have any qualms about the kidnapping, torture, and imprisonment of a fellow FBI agent! Plus, the mission is the type of mission for which you don't need to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars on a super-high-tech involuntary training facility. It would have been a 3/5 stars had it kept up the story it started with, but 1/5 for the complete destruction of the readers' suspension of disbelief in the last half of the book. Average is 2/5. Definitely not recommended, even if you liked this author's other books.
  • Submit to the Supernatural on Oct. 18, 2020

    A fun little romp that pushes all the right buttons. The story is mostly the inner life of the main character, which is where Powerone's writing is strongest.
  • Bound and Helpless on Nov. 03, 2020

    Not one of the author's better books, because he bounces around the POV so much that the reader ends up identifying with none of them. Some hot moments, but mostly this is just descriptions of sex acts. Been there, done that. The author is better when he uses a single POV.
  • Prisoners of Lust on Nov. 08, 2020

    Some interesting scenes, without too much explicit torture. The conditioning happens too quickly to be credible, but the short timespan of the story requires that. Recommended.
  • Throne of the Depths on Dec. 16, 2020

    I found this book disappointing after reading the Eden Kane books. The author doesn't even try to be realistic with his physics (and yes, it is a fantasy, but authors should refrain fom simply inventing impossible things for the sake of inventing possible things) and is at times silly (why use ultraviolet lights underwater? Regular lights work just fine, and the human eye can't see ultraviolet light!). The characters in this one were pretty flat where they weren't cliches. The story is weaker than his other books I have read, though not dreadful. I'd only recommend this to someone who has read all of the author's other books and wants to complete their scorecard.
  • The Graveyard of Empires on Dec. 16, 2020

    This book isn't as good as the first in the series, but miles better than the second. The basic plot doesn't always make sense, and there's a lot of deus ex machina involved, but there's a lot of great moments and the author pulls it together at the end (which doesn't surprise the careful reader). The story uses Eden Kane's abilities well, and the villains all have satisfactory exit scenes. The book sets up a promising scenario for sequels while being complete on its own. Bring on the sequels!
  • Marius' Mules: The Invasion of Gaul on Dec. 27, 2020

    A pretty good job of mixing accuracy and story in the first book of the series. I'd quibble with some of his historical choices (he refers to centurions as "officers" though the Romans considered them to be more like NCOs, as they came from the lower orders in society) and some stylistic choices (he makes Caesar out to be more capricious and lucky than seems warranted), but those are nits. There's a compelling story here, but the main attraction of the book is interesting characters doing things that the reader enjoys learning about. Recommended.
  • The Dark Passage on Dec. 27, 2020

    This is a pleasant read with an interesting main character and a hot situation. The book would be better if the boyfriend wasn't just present to fulfill the standard porn book tropes. He has no character and seems indifferent to the main character other than what he can get in the way of sex. All the sexy stuff takes place in her mind.
  • Journey into Slavery on Dec. 27, 2020

    I really wanted to like this book, but it was just too banal to make me care. The main character is mysteriously (as in, why could someone just kidnap a woman from home in broad daylight?) taken as a slave, and she just goes along with it. There are some hot training bits, and then a series of owners who slip from the reader's memory as soon as they are off the pages. The descriptive elements are decent but can't save the book from mediocrity.
  • Carnival Girl on Dec. 27, 2020

    This is one of JJ Argus's more lighthearted books, well worth getting if you like those. The main character gets the freedom from her home life that she wanted but at the price of having to have more sex than she originally planned. It's all consensual, though, and she can walk any time she wants. As is usual in these stories, she doesn't want to walk away. Recommended.
  • In Darkest Africa on Jan. 03, 2021

    The book starts out great - the classical conditioning parts with the first tribe are sexy, unique, and somewhat believable. The parts after her sale are pretty bog-standard slave-girl-in-Africa stuff that I've seen dozens of times. A good book that could have been great. Still recommended, if only for the first half.
  • Training Sarah on Jan. 03, 2021

    This is a pretty dark book with a protagonist that is so shallow it's hard to root for her. Her lover is just an obvious scumbag that uses her ignorance and gullibility to exploit her. The ending is one of the sadder ones in a JJ Argus book. I don't recommend this one except to those wanting to read everything by the author.
  • Purging Her Privilege on Jan. 07, 2021

    This is mostly torture pron, with a bit of "sexy" mixed in. The main character just gets tortured (including some extreme torture, scat, etc) while the assistant just gets BDSM. It's well-written but definitely not for all tastes. The "bad guys" are not at all relatable. They are just insane sadists.
  • The Slave Game on Feb. 11, 2021

    This book is pretty much a potboiler; not bad, but not introducing anything we haven't seen from this author before. It's well-written, but the story path is well-trodden and nothing surprises the reader except maybe the incest elements. I'd recommend you find one of the author's better books.
  • Hour of the Gryphon on Feb. 21, 2021

    This one left a rather sour taste in my mouth. The main characters are the unaware-at-the-start masochistic main character, a sadist, and a rapist. The story involves the rapist revealing that the MC is woman when he tries to rape her, and the sadist taking control of her and physically and mentally torturing her until she admits to herself that she is a masochist. This is a very dark story with unlikable or barely-likable characters. Not my cup of tea. I'll give it three stars rather than two because it isn't anything other than what it advertises, and I'd give it two anyway because it is well-written. The only complaint I have about the writing is that it focuses too much, IMO, on the mechanics of the sex. Sexy sex takes place between the ears of the participants, and the long, blow-by-blow descriptions of the sex acts distract from how the MC is feeling about it. The author's The Fox's Tale is much, much better, being both more lighthearted and featuring much more likeable characters. Read that, instead.
  • Pirate Property on March 01, 2021

    This book is reasonably well-written and has some good scenes in it, but is marred by being a very incomplete first part of a book published in three volumes, and by the fact that it has so many POV characters that we don't get to know any of them very well, so it's hard to care what happens to them. The author just doesn't have the skill to draw us into the characters and story in such a short novel fragment. The author would have been better-served by publishing the whole novel at once. It is also priced at a real premium, given that this isn't a well-known writer and the whole book isn't very long. It would be cheaper to buy all five copies of the Slave of the Aristocracy series (with longer and better-written books) than the three parts of this book. So, the book is not at all bad, but doesn't quite make it to the grade of good. I'd recommend it only to the real aficionados of the genre. I won't be buying any more parts of this book.