Some time in the future, (maybe) not so far away, there are two rival visions for the galaxy…or universe…it’s hard to say how big these two groups are. There’s the Confederacy, who seem to be a somewhat uptight–they have more rules, they don’t have slavery, and while shady things happen, the people living there are more subtle about it. Then there’s the New Roman Republic–think ancient Rome with death battles, slavery, harams.
This is the world author Diesel Jester has created for readers in his sci-fi erotica series, starting with the book Fallen Stars.
Let’s just get a few things out of the way up front–if kidnapping, sex, swearing, slavery/human trafficking are triggering for you, there’s a good chance that you will not be a fan of this book. If, however, you’re into raunchier tales, read on for my thoughts–well, I’m gonna keep it clean, but just know that there’s a lot of sex in this book, definitely rated X.
(ooh, and here’s my vlog link)
Sam Winston and Sara Chase are humans who have been in love with each other for pretty much forever. They were high school sweethearts, but then an intergalactic war between the Confederacy and the Republic tore them apart. Sometimes they saw each other; they promised to be “together…forever,” but war is tough and when you’re a hot naval captain or a rising star in the modeling industry, people want you… so they have an open relationship.
The story starts out right as they finally get married, after twelve years–I gotta say, it was a cute little scene, they’re married, they do the whole wedding-night-sex-then-fall-asleep-in-each-others-arms thing, and then their ship gets pirated. Apparently they crossed the border into the Republic and some space-pirates (or privateers?) kill those who resist and take the rest into slavery. Being a military dude, Sam definitely resists, but the Garadoian commander in charge respects his war record and instead puts him along with the rest soon-to-be-slaves.
Sam has one instruction for a terrified Sara: Stay alive, no matter what.
The rest of the first act is semi-graphic detail of Sara being a sex slave and then Sam literally fighting for his life in the new Olympics. Act two is their escape.
Here’s what I liked about it–I’m not into sci-fi normally, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I actually found that I really enjoyed the setting. I thought the multitude of characters/races were fascinating and I’m so so glad that Jester included a little index at the front so I could keep them all straight. I mean, werewolves, minotaurs, space-elves, space-orcs, and more… that’s a lot of beings in this universe. The book was obviously thought out and the pacing was, for the most part, extremely well done and engaging. The first few chapters where Sam/Sara are getting their bearings were a little slow at times, but at the page 50ish mark (so maybe like chapter 8?) things started to pick up.
On the note of length, the chapters, and the book itself, are fairly short. It’s a little over 100ish pages over all with the chapters being around 5-12 pages long. But Diesel’s descriptions were vivid, so it made the chapters seem to fly by.
I did also like most of the characters, Sam was snarky and smart and I loved that, although, I did think it was slightly cliche that he was just so smart and tactically minded that he was basically able to take out ten people by himself in some of the games. Like… is anyone that good? Despite that minor critique, Sam was definitely up there in terms of my favorite characters. As for Sara… I didn’t love her–she’s smart too, but she just seemed a little flat to me. Of course, since she’s a sex slave and not some amazing warrior who’s kicking but at the new/bloody Olympics who’s essentially irreplaceable, she can’t sass as much as Sam can. But even so, she just seemed very damsel-in-distress/human sex-doll to me. She does quip with Sam when they reunite, but I just don’t know if that was quite enough to make up for chapters of her being super submissive.
Another submissive character was Jemma, who’s another sex-slave, and basically Sam’s girlfriend while he’s a slave himself. But while she’s submissive because of her “profession,” she just had more attitude and personality, which I enjoyed. I was also surprised by how much I liked Bagilorf, who kidnapped Sam and Sara in the first place. He has a bit of character growth that contributes to a minor plot twist, but I don’t want to give too much away.
So the things that I didn’t love… I mean, some of the sex scenes were a little graphic, like I didn’t need all those details. In fact, I was a little surprised that I liked the fighting/competition scenes (mostly… because even those have sex) more than the intimate ones. I guess I just feel like, with the exception of Jemma, the male characters were more developed than the female ones. This especially came to light at the end when Sam and Sara are reunited–she’s like “you’re my husband and my master; I’m your wife and your slave.” I just feel like after a year of being a sex slave, I thought Sara would be over that, and I was slightly put off that Sam liked that…? I mean, yes, he definitely took advantage of Jemma (and she liked that?) and when he had to in those twisted “Olympics,” but with some of the other women in the games (the players often had to defend their own women/prizes), he protected and seemed to respect them.
So, bottom line–I was happy to have stepped out of my comfort zone and I would recommend the book with the caution that there is a lot of sex/violence/swearing, so people who do not like those aspects of books might want to avoid it. Other than that, the story was well thought out, descriptive, and I liked a lot of the banter throughout the story–I love a character with snark.
That’s all I’ve got for now! Be sure to look out for next week’s book, the sequel to the Marchetti series, by Kristifer Ann.
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