Reviewed by Irene
SERIES: Golden Collar, book 1
AUTHOR: Grace R. Duncan
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
LENGTH: 380 Pages
BLURB: Born and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire—until one night they’re caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday.
Bathasar doesn’t want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now—despite the abuse he may suffer.
The peace doesn’t last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim’s new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he’ll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?
I don’t even know what to say about this… Well, I guess if you’re really, REALLY into heavy erotica, this is the book for you. I mean hardcore, very detailed, unending smut with very little plotline (and whatever plotline DOES exist, is described in a clichéd, uninteresting, and very generic way) erotica. And it is such a shame, because the premise for this book was actually very good!
I mean – you have an outlaw gypsy who gets caught and has a choice between going to the dungeons or becoming a pleasure slave. You have the evil ruler (somewhat cliché, I admit) and the fair and handsome prince (who, yes cliché, becomes more than ordinarily interested in this new love-toy. You have escape plans, friendships, ‘brainwashing’ – which is actually more ‘body washing’, if you know what I mean. Or maybe you don’t, but that’s ok. If you’re into this kind of book, you’ll love it. I didn’t.
The author doesn’t write badly. She accomplished to get a decent flow, very few contradictions, a few surprises, good dialogue and good grammar. She just makes the mistake of telling instead of showing. There’s mention of an escape plan a couple of times, but then it’s forgotten – no details, no inner monologue, no nothing. She tells us what the characters feel, but she doesn’t show it. And that’s a shame, because I have the feeling that she has the skills to do so, if she’d just lay off the never ending sex scenes.
I mean, I am no prude. I love erotica as much as the next person – and when it’s mixed with romance and historical fiction, it’s right up my alley. Sadly, this book just doesn’t live up to the potential it has. Out of the 380 pages, my estimate is that roughly 200 of them is pure, detailed sex in one form or another. And that’s great, if you’re looking for a quick smut story – but this is not QUICK!
This is detailed to the n’th degree and with orgasm denial in EVERY sex scene. Some hardcore, but mostly softcore BDSM.Some life threatening situations, where the Mary Sue-ness of the characters really show. A predictable plot line that had me sighing in relief when it was finally, FINALLY over.
To illustrate (if you haven’t given up on this review already); it usually takes me about two days to get through approx. 600 pages, when I have my day job to go to. In this case? It took me a week and a half, people. It dragged. I didn’t look forward to picking it up. It didn’t capture me at all. I did it for you, peeps! To spare you the disappointment, if you’re anything like me. And if it sounds like the book for you – well, then I have succeeded in selling sand in the sahara.