About three weeks ago, I was thinking about the possibility of extending this blog to more than just short stories and opinion posts, and including book reviews as well. Obviously, my first problem was where to begin, and with whom. It was then, out of the blue, I got a request for a review from an author friend on Facebook, Miss Christian Kennedy. Providence had brought her to me, and she graced me with a free copy of her debut novel, “The One Gold Slave” Atlaind: Book 1. As well as some very good-looking prints. So get ready for my first erotic book review!
I should begin by admitting something: As a long time reader of erotica, and having kept an eye on the current flow of books coming out, I wasn’t expecting an amazing story. Most erotica that gets pushed out these days are often catered to a specific audience, and satisfy the needs of those craving a particular fetish. I’m sure you’ve all seen those books on Amazon with sub genres combining alien/lesbian/tentacle/impregnation into one story, or some variation on that.
That was not the case for Miss Kennedy’s work.
“The One Gold Slave” is a step above my expectations, and I was blown away by the world she had created. From the very first page, she had my attention. After the first chapter, I was enthralled by the story. Before I had realized it, I was almost half-way through the book. I believe there may have been a moment when I checked the page I was on, which was 168, and in what felt like minutes, I checked again, and found myself on page 244. There was no way I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sit down, at this moment, and give you all a thorough review. And for those of you who read my posts regularly, you know how thorough I like to be.
Let’s start with the cover art:
As you can see from the featured image, there has been some clear work done into it’s creation. For those who have not yet read the story, Miss Kennedy is also a very talented photographer, and offers prints for sale on her etsy page. For the many other authors who spam their books in Facebook groups, their covers will often be some kind of artistic background, with a couple trimmed jpegs slapped on front, and a title. Having access to photography skills, as well as no shortage of devilishly attractive models(that includes you Mr. Jameson) gives Miss Kennedy a distinct advantage over other indie authors right out of the gate.
While looking through her series’ Facebook page, It’s clear there was much more work involved than simply hiring models, dressing them up, then point-n-click. Miss Kennedy kept supporters updated on the whole process of bringing her characters to life. The amount of work involved in their appearances shows her dedication to showing us exactly what she envisioned for Atlaind. One can’t help but appreciate her bold commitment.
The models themselves also worked very hard to help Miss Kennedy realize her vision. The talented cast included the beautiful Gilly Hathaway, as Mistress Isavyne. The role of Zsash was portrayed by the handsome Josh Jameson. As for the lovely redhead who played the beautiful Khessi, I’m not able to release her name out of respect to her personal preferences, but her ‘blossoming’ dress is certainly one of my favorites. I also found myself quite jealous of Mr. Jameson at times.
Now for the story:
“The One Gold Slave” isn’t your typical erotica novel, as I’ve mentioned already. As I opened it up, I was expecting something a bit more generic, something akin to a longer version of an amateur story littered with sex scenes. Boy, was I so very very wrong! Miss Kennedy has created a world in which society has been divided into the highborn monarchy of Masters, and the slaves who serve them. This isn’t to say the master/slave relationship is violent, or demeaning. It’s more of a translation of the relationship between master and slave in the BDSM lifestyle. Surely, only someone with a strong background in BDSM could have dreamed of such a world.
The slaves have their own set of codes passed on to them by their predecessors, in how best to serve their masters. These codes are usually easy to follow, and slave work is not unlike vocational job training. The slaves portrayed are well-fed, and given proper lodgings. Honestly, I wouldn’t mind living in Miss Kennedy’s world, myself.
At first, I was very concerned with Miss Kennedy’s telling of the story from a first-person perspective, rather than third-person, as I feel it tends to take away from good prose. Fortunately, Miss Kennedy does an amazing job of compensating with great description and dialogue. Her use of description does an excellent job of giving good visualization, without slowing down the story. The overall pace is excellent throughout the book, and if you were to remove every erotic scene, it would actually make a decent high fantasy story.
From the very start, I liked Zsash, who plays our story’s main protagonist. He’s a very determined character with a heart of gold beneath his loud-mouthed exterior. A mouth that gets him into a lot of trouble, on more than one occasion. Mistress Isavyne is, by far, the epitome of her title as ‘mistress’. She’s extremely commanding, dangerous, seductive, but also sensual and caring for those in her employ. But my favorite character, by far, is the innocent redhead known as Khessi. Out of all other characters portrayed in Miss Kennedy’s story, hers is probably the most well fleshed out. As the diplomatic Household Slave, Khessi is charming, funny, decisive, and can be vindictive to those who slight her, when she wants to be.
Lovers of fantasy will delight in the story, and get a kick out of the conflict involving a race of creatures called ‘wyrlings’. These creatures are made by runaway slaves who practice a forbidden type of magic called channeling. Channeling allows a person to take on the traits of an animal, which eventually ends up turning them feral. These half-man, half-animal creatures become a constant threat to our characters, and create some of the most edge-of-your-seat conflict I’ve ever read in a romance story. With danger, suspense, romanticism, and a good amount of humor, “The One Gold Slave” has something that can appeal to almost any reader.
As for the scenes of eroticism themselves, they are kinda sparse, at first, but very satisfying. Miss Kennedy’s skill for description extends right into her intense portrayal of passion between many of the characters. Whether it’s a short interaction, or a long love-making session, she makes it difficult to keep your hand out of your pants, while not being overly vulgar. Although, as some of you know about me, I think a bit of vulgarity is occasionally called for. Overall, the eroticism spans over many styles, and levels of intensity throughout the book. As Miss Kennedy described, it is a delicious ‘kaleidoscope of hedonism’.
“The One Gold Slave” Tales of Atlaind: Book 1, by Christian Kennedy is available for sale now on Amazon. Many of her prints from the book are also available to purchase on her Etsy page.