Thursday, 27 February 2014
Book Review: Bad Slave by Kay Berrisford
by Kay Berrisford
M/M Erotic Romance/Fantasy/BDSM
Amazon | BN | Loose-id
Review Copy from author
When the king commands former war hero Captain Jay Ghair to find him the perfect royal sex slave, Jay’s quiet new life as a librarian is shattered. Jay discovers the boy he’s looking for in Alix, a lowly miner and wannabe court scientist, whom Jay can’t help but secretly adore. However, teaching the rebellious Alix to be a docile slave is difficult. Alix will behave for just one man, and it isn’t the king. It’s Jay.
Standing by while the king’s treatment of Alix becomes cruel is torturous for Jay. He longs to return to his library, yet he can’t bear to leave Alix, or his people, unprotected. To rescue Alix—and save the realm from the increasingly tyrannical king—Jay must confront the demons of his military past and take up the sword again. But his most important battle must be won through returning Alix’s love and learning to master this bad slave who submits only for him
Ten years ago, Captain Jay Ghair lost a lot of friends and his unfaithful lover in a battle that still haunts him to this day. He gives up the sword for a quiet life as a country librarian and thinks his days of serving King and Country are long behind him.
That all changes when the King Lyam commands him to find him a new sex slave - he's bored with all the old ones and sends them to his dungeon. Jay hasn't been to court for over ten years, and is appalled at the things he sees. He has no wish to find someone else to place in the role of the king's sex slave, but knows that if he disobeys he might well end up executed.
He finds the new slave in a young man, Alix, who he saves from a lynching. Alix is eager to live and agrees readily to become one of King Lyam's sex slaves, which disconcerts Jay. How could someone agree to be a sex slave?
Alix is a miner and rather than a life of drudgery mining the karmite stones, he thinks he's in for a new life of luxury and decadence. King Lyam soon disillusions him and Alix becomes nothing more than someone the king hurts and tortures just because he can.
The populace think that Lyam has divine right to rule because of something called the Lunarstone, which everyone believes was bestowed on the royal line by their gods, the Starlords. Anyone who disagrees with Lyam is either executed or left to rot in his dungeons.
I liked this book, there isn't enough Male/Male fantasy out there so I was pleased to get this one for review.
Jay and Alix were wonderful characters, both well-rounded and believable. Lyam however didn't seem to have any redeemable features whatsoever. He was a tyrant and a bully, a spoilt brat who wants everything his own way and ignored his advisers when they warned the unfair taxes and king's luxurious excesses were making the populace want his blood. From what we gleaned of the previous king through Jay's reminisces, I couldn't imagine him spoiling Lyam, but as the book progressed you realise that King Raile had spent most of his time in battle defending his kingdom and so didn't really have a hand in his son's upbringing.
Alix wants to be a scientist and tries to get the king interested in his inventions, but the king doesn't want anything to do with science. He just wants to cause Alix pain in the most excruciating ways possible. Some of the torture scenes with Alix and Lyam were a bit uncomfortable for me to read, but they contrasted well with Jay's loving discipline and you could tell the difference. Jay's scenes were loving and consensual BDSM, Lyam's scenes were torture of an unwilling slave.
Jay and Alix start off a bit in lust with each other but Jay is wary of opening his heart again after his lover's betrayals and death. Getting to know Alix as the book progresses, Jay and Alix both find themselves in love.
Bad Slave is very well written, it almost has a poetic or lyrical feel to it and the style of the language used steeps it in the realm of fantasy rather than the mundane world. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the world of Galataan and its religion, the Starlords. It's only mentioned very briefly and I was eager to learn more. We get brief glimpses of the palace, the city and the mines, but I would have liked more.
It is above all things a love story and you will be rooting for Jay and Alix to get their happy ending, despite the angst to get there.
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