Kinky gay Pygmalion in a dark future Memphis...
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||214 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
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A Bucketful of BlahReader advisory: Contains very vividly described m/F sex. Also a tiny spoonful of puppy play if that squicks you out.I didn't enjoy the book because a) it was too wishy-washy and b) I was thinking all the way through about how much it would annoy Isa K.The premise itself is very interesting and scarily believable: in a not-so-distant future the US has split up into four separate countries. Nick lives in the Confederacy, which interprets the Christian bible literally (the Song of Songs is of course expurgated from the version given to single girls). It is illegal for women to go to school and homosexuality is punishable by death. Nick is a small-time hoodlum, and, like the blub says, James Ligatos decides to turn him into a deadly weapon. This involves endenturing Nick and having his assistants (3 x m, 1 x f) train him in languages, maths, literature, cooking, martial arts, weaponry, and sex (these last two are the same thing). So far, so good.My problem is that none of the promise of the setup is carried through. When Nick first arrives at James's apartment he sees the bed is set up for bondage. James says "I only chain those to my bed who wish to be there.” So, duh, Checkov's pistol, I thought maybe later we'd get Nick chained to the bed, but this never happens. Nick does get (view spoiler)[strapped to the bed for two corporal discipline sessions (hide spoiler)]. Nick is in fact lusting after James the first night he's moved in, and begging to suck him off the second (he means it too, its not dissembling). James is a switch and tender and sexually considerate with Nick a lot of the time, so if you're into the whole uber-Dom sexual servitude then this will be very disappointing. The blurb says "the little killer-turned-file-clerk is much more than Ligatos and his staff bargained for" but this is clearly not true: James knows every step of the way what Nick is going to do, anticipates him and plans for it.Nick is being trained to use sex as a weapon, but this means there is no possibility of developing a real emotional relationship between the MCs. There's no intensity. It ends up like a nifty story. Nick loves everyone and loves having sex with everyone. And it is pretty much everyone. The pairings go;M1 + m1m1 + m2M1 + m2m1 + m2 + M1m1 + F1M1 + M2 + F1m1 + F1m2 + M2M3 + m1M2 + F1plus assorted random secondary characters.It would have been better if Nick, who falls in love with James, felt revulsion at having to sexually service every other person he encounters, but he feels only happiness and lust. Or have Nick hate and resent James, fall in love with Val, and then be heartbroken when he realises Val is just using a willing and available hole.Another big problem is that Sparrow tends to gloss over important episodes. James gives Nick to a Domme to spend a week as a puppy and learn to enjoy sexual pain. We get one long cunnilingus scene, and the statement:"[James] watched [on the security tapes] her bring [Nick] to tears with nothing but her hands and their sharp nails. He especially enjoyed watching the three days when Nick’s face was clear of tears only during his lessons with David and Val". That's just not good enough. You can't just say that and then have the Domme bring Nick back to James, loop his lead over a hook and say "There, he's all done."Similarly, at one point James sends Nick to prison for punishment. He visits Nick, who is in a bloodstained uniform, and asks:"how many have had you, boy?" “I lost count, sir. More than thirty the first night. More since.”And that's the end of that. I mean, if you're gonna make it dark, make it dark! If you're gonna make it psychological, make it psychological! If you're gonna make it Machiavellian, then make it Machiavellian! Have Nick not realise he is nothing but a tool until the very end. Have him think his Sir wants him for his very own, and then feel betrayed when that's not true, but do what James wants because that will please him. Or not! Have him disobey. At the same time, if you wanted a nice little tender mild slavery story where everyone is a happy little slave, you will probably be horrified by the end of the book, when sex-weapon Nick is unleashed upon an unsuspecting victim. I thought this was the one redeeming feature of the book, but if you like sweet you will truly HATE this.This story can't decide which way to go. I think it's trying to be all shocking with its rimming and menages and feeding from the hand, but it just isn't. It's blah.
Why I bought the book: My mate Kris recommended it.Plot: Set in a futuristic world where the USA has been carved into separate states, this story follows Nick, the ex-leader of a gang of children who comes to attention of shadowy figure James Ligatos. After being set-up, Nick is beholden to James in more ways than one as he has to pass a series of tests before he can join James' elite group.The futuristic setting was quite fascinating. The state of Memphis where the story takes place is part of the confederation which is a theocracy. It rather reminded me of Gilead from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood, where woman are treated as second class citizens and minority groups even worse. Into this comes James who is some sort of politician and yet also so much more than that. The laws of the land do not apply to him, although he keeps up the pretence whilst in public, and he uses his team to manipulate events to his satisfaction. The politics acts as a backdrop to the more personal events which take place with Nick, James and the rest of his team, and involve some sort of border dispute with Kentucky. Whilst this was interesting within itself, it really only served to create an opportunity for Nick's final test.The main part of the plot centres on Nick, his tests and the relationship he develops with James and the other Team members. This takes on a BDSM theme as the dynamics of slavery are explored and also different aspects of D/s style relationships. There's a lot of sex, but it was all varied and there for a reason. It was also very well written as it was used to show the development of Nick's feelings for the team and James through their various sexual encounters. Those of you who aren't keen on multiple partners will not find this book to your taste.Characters: Be warned, these characters are all totally amoral. Non of them would be considered to particularly be the 'good guy' and some of the things that they do, especially towards the end of the book, filled me with dismay. I can't even claim that some of the things that happen were for the 'greater good' because I honestly don't think that was the case. These were flawed men and women and not easy to like. Having said that, I was drawn into the story, especially Nick's. He's a victim as well as victor and some really dreadful things happen to him in the story, engineered by James. I read his development from quick-witted but uneducated street rat to the smooth and confident man he becomes by the end with interest, and I was on his side for pretty much most of the book. The narrative is mostly from Nick's point of view, but every so often we get into the head of one of the team. I thought this an effective way of showing the different views, but it may annoy some readers. It was an odd experience for my essentially 'good girl' nature to get involved in a bunch of characters who would normally be deemed the bad guys but I have to admit I really enjoyed reading things from their twisted point of view. James is a complete enigma, and remains pretty much like that throughout the book. He wields a tremendous amount of power, but his origins are only hinted at and I wonder whether this is given more space to explore in the sequel. He's a bit of a 'Henry Higgins' in the way he selects raw talent and then moulds it to his own needs and as such has a dangerous benevolence which is enticing and well as slightly off-putting. The close bond he has with his team is evident throughout the book, as is the special relationship he has with one of the team David and I liked the way that tensions arose with David and Nick over James' attentions. That was another thread left hanging a little by the end, which may get picked up in the next book.Overall: Let me say this again: This is not a nice book and these are not nice characters. Some of things that happen include rape, torture, beatings, degradation and cold-blooded murder. If that intrigues you then I would recommend this book. My emotions fluctuated a bit between sympathy and a liking for Nick to almost hating him for his callous behaviour and it shows the skill of the author that he remains mainly a sympathetic character in my eyes. No matter how you may see things, this was not a dull book! I found it compulsive reading and I'm looking forward to the next in the series where I hope some of the loose threads will be tidied away. One final note is to say that there is a short scene of m/m/f sex and another couple of short scenes of m/f sex in this book. I didn't mind this because the scenes were short. You could easily skip over them if it's not your thing.I have to admit, grading this book has not been easy. On one hand the characterisation of Nick as a amoral character, willing to do anything for James sent a shiver of repulsion through me, but on the other hand I was heavily invested in him, his training and his relationship with James. The writing, setting and characterisation are flawless but the themes will not be to everyone's taste. In the end I'm going for four stars but with a note of caution that these themes will not appeal to all readers.
What to expect from NIKOLAI :Chronology-- set in the FUTURE Romance pairing (s) MM, MF secondarySupernatural content-- NOKink levels -- Very high. The future Confederate States of America condones debt slavery, and in the secret circles of the planetary ruling councils, BDSM relationships go hand in hand with leadership skills. the shattered map of North America contains many realms with vastly different ethics and morals. Suspense levels -- High. In the shifting maps of power, life is cheap and the gap between rich and poor can mean actual starvation or profligate extravagance. Angelia Sparrow's hero is an amoral gang leader who catches the eye of one of CSA's most powerful men. Can he be tamed or trained to his greatest potential by love?
In a post apocaliptic world, the United States of America don't exist no more and turmoils and revolutions are common between the secessionists states. A wealthy man, James Ligatos, leads a group of men who move among the laws and whose methods not always are legal. He traines these men picking them among the most skilled young delinquents. His last "victim" is Nicholas, also known as Nikolai, a thief.To Nikolai is proposed a contract: he will submit to Ligatos for everything, even for sex, and in exchange, he will have a tuition and a chance to be a man of power in seven years. All seems perfect: Nicholas has plenty of food, new clothes, lessons of math and english and italian (how I like that the foreign language he learns is Italian) and also pleasent sex. But with all of this arrives also a form of discipline he hates, and he plans revenge against Ligatos. Not a good choice.Nikolai is a very strong and crude tale, for sure not for tender hearts. It's not a love story, even if Nicholas arrives to depend in body and soul to his Sir. It's more a need to have someone to rely, to finally have a home and a family, as strange it can be. James can have a soft spot for Nicholas, but as I have read him, faces to the choice to sacrifice the boy for the "mission", I think he will kill him, or order to someone else to do it. Both Nicholas than James are not cruel men, they know they are doing horrible things, but still they will do it again and again, they are trained to do that, and the training is so deep that neither their consciosness could break it.Part of the training is also the sex. But the sex you will read in this novel is not the arousing genre. It is a way to learn something, a way to pet a puppy for doing a right thing, a way to gain something, a way to stress out. Sex in this novel is like a safe blanket, like a teddy bear for a child: it is a way to give comfort and to believe you are still alive.Nikolai is not a simple book. Even now, when I write about it, I still have to think a lot to find a way to describe the feelings it left in me. Probably, I should have to hate James. But also Nikolai is not a saint, and he made things, before, during and after his training, that decipt him like a very difficult character to love. Still I feel not hate nor for James or for Nicholas. It seems like all what they are doing has a meaning, and all their actions are righ. Angelia Sparrow decipts them in a way that makes you feel for them, but still my consciousness say "how can you do that? it is not right, you know that what they are doing is not right".Nikolai is not a novel for people who search for good feelings and romance. It is not a novel for those who sees the world in black and white. But if you are able to see the shades of life between, that there is not always stark right and wrong, but half-truths between them, you should read Nikolai, and give me your own opinion.http://elisa-rolle.livejournal.com/22...
I'm not really sure how to rate or review this book. At certain points it is definitely brutal and harsh but never really to an uncomfortable extreme. At other points it has an almost sweet undertone and you can see beautiful relationships developing. The characters are not nice people - they are brutal and vicious and show no morals nor remorse - but somehow I couldn't help warming to them. Above all, I enjoyed the story and kept wanting to turn the pages so this is what I rated the book on. I am so intrigued I am moving straight on to the second book which is something I rarely do.As a side note for my mm loving friends, this book does have mf and mmf sex scenes but they are incredibly short and infrequent.
This was really an incredible ride. Harsh and brutal but with affection (I think) as well. I'd really like to read book 2 if I could only find it! :)
I downloaded this novel thinking I was going to get a M/M fantasy (must have been the name of the series, "The Eight Thrones Cycle") but what landed in my Kindle was something entirely different.Set in a not too far future, where Earth has fallen victim of all the problems it currently sports -wars, economic breakdowns, religious fanaticism, corruption, etc.- it is the story of how James Ligatos, a mysterious, powerful figure, rescues a young petty criminal from the street to make him his pupil.Beware though, there is nothing comforting in this story.In what I believe to be the first episode of a series, circumstances are not entirely clear, but Ligatos, handsome and charming as he is, is ruthless. He does not take Nick from the street out of goodness but to make him a trained member of his shadowy organization after having framed him. His intent is to break the boy to make a tool out of him and we are not allowed to think he does that for a superiour good.An orgy of punishments and sexual abuses, described in both psychological and physical detail, is unleashed on the unsuspecting reader, woven in the plot.On the other hand we are not allowed to root for Nick as he is far from spotless: he is actually a thief and a cold-blooded killer and he was that before meeting Ligatos.This is possibly the worst: there is no good guy in this novel, all characters are tainted if not outright evil. Manipulation is rampant and despicable. It is not possible to identify with any of them. This, together with the explicit BDSM and graphic sex makes this read unfit for any sensitive reader.What kept me reading is the sheer quality of the book. I usually do not care for BDSM and I need to identify with at least one character but plot was tight and consistent, writing very good (strangely enough there are a couple of exceptions, as if the editor had missed some paragraphs), characterization sharp as a blade. My only doubt is about Nick being said to be 21 when his maturity is more that of a teenager.On a side note, as an Italian man who loves his own language, I was amused to see that the author chose my language as part of Nick's instruction as if in her fictional world it were useful for diplomats to speak it.This is a heart-chilling read for a mature audience.
I liked it enough that I looked into the next book. This seems to be a series which isn't going anywhere I want to be. For that reason, I'm done.