Dark, Erotica, Horror, Reviews

Review: 24690 – A.A. Dark

2469024690 by A.A. Dark
Series: 24690 #1
Genre: pitch black erotic horror
Themes: forced slavery, kidnapping

Buried deep below the everyday life of our society lives an underground world of nightmares—of violence and murder no one dares speak about. Contracts and laws weave the web of our culture together. Our Masters walk amongst us. They can be our friends, or the ones to make us disappear forever.

Where I once had found peace within my existence, it all ended with the death of my cruel, yet caring owner. My world shattered and I was taken back to the one place I had hoped to never see again—the cells of Whitlock—a subterranean fortress for slaves who await their new placement.

Now I have no rights. I have no say. My feelings and wellbeing are meaningless. Escape is impossible, but I have nothing left to lose.

To stand any chance of survival, I must give my life as collateral to the highest bidder: Soul for Sale.

slave 24690

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Heat: ★★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: I’m a huge fan of dark erotica but even I felt a little ill at some stages here. Do not read this if you’re not drawn in by the dark.

Crikey. Where do I start? This is basically torture porn, a vast blood bath that just gets more and more extreme as the story progresses. And it’s pretty brilliant. It took me longer than usual to read as the plot was somewhat complex, with quite a few characters and potentialities to keep track of. In fact, it was, by and large, absolutely chaotic.

“You’d use me as your whore when you know it’s your love and my freedom that I want.”

I didn’t like any of the characters. But I also secretly adored them all. 24690 was strong, if not absolutely psychotic, as were West and Bram. The sex scenes pushed my limits to the extreme, involving brutal rape, impact play, blood and strangulation – and yet I somehow still found it strangely (and ashamedly) erotic, something A.A. Dark has been very, very clever with.

Bram once said I’d been hidden from the horrors of Whitlock for too long. I knew he had been telling the truth, but never once did I see myself turning into one of them. And wasn’t I? I craved to spill their blood. To massacre their bodies and end their lives for what they’d done to me.

I do, however, have a few criticisms. The editing was not up to scratch. This could do with a thorough proof read to get rid of the many spelling and grammatical errors. It really, really frustrated me because I would keep getting drawn into the plot and then there would be a flurry of mistakes and it would break the spell.

Otherwise, some of this felt like brutality with the sole purpose to shock. It succeeded. But there were some occasions where I just felt it went a little too far. I wouldn’t have minded had it been relevant to the plot, but some of it just wasn’t.

I wanted my slave’s love, but the true me wanted to hurt her for knowing she’d never give it.

An interesting journey into morality and depravity, this is not a book for the faint hearted. And yet, the world was so well-constructed and detailed that I loved it as well as being disgusted by it. My own reactions made me uncomfortable reading this, and believe me when I say it is rare that that happens. I’m looking forward to the sequel. And that ending…brutally satisfying.

Dark, Erotica, Reviews, Romance, Suspense

REVIEW: Seduced in the Dark – C.J. Roberts

Seduced in the DarkSeduced in the Dark – C.J. Roberts
Series: The Dark Duet #2
Genre: dark erotica, romance, suspense
Themes: kidnapping, slavery
Archetype: anti-hero
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The exciting, titillating, and action-filled conclusion to Captive in the Dark.

What is the price of redemption?

Rescued from sexual slavery by a mysterious Pakistani officer, Caleb carries the weight of a debt that must be paid in blood.

The road has been long and fraught with uncertainty, but for Caleb and Livvie, it’s all coming to an end.

Can he surrender the woman he loves for the sake of vengeance?

Or will he make the ultimate sacrifice?

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Heat: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
Rating: ★★★★★

Every breath I take should come from his lungs.

The first thing I noticed when I started this book was that I had no clue what was going on. I read the prequel, Captive in the Dark, a while ago, so was worried I’d just forgotten what had happened – having skimmed the final chapter to work out where I was, I realised that it was totally fine and supposed to be like that. Phew.

So, structurally, this is one of the most interesting and well-crafted novels within the romance/erotica genre I’ve had the chance to come across. It begins, not where the prequel left off, but a little down the timelines, and the events within that timeframe are recounted by Livvie. Two new complex characters – Reed and Sloan – are also introduced, and we have a few POV chapters from Reed to add to the mix. There was a danger here that this would detract from the story I actually wanted to read, but in actual fact, it worked well. Reed’s chapters and the bracketed chapters in the present day were slight respites from the abject darkness of Livvie and Caleb’s story. And yes, Roberts does not shy away from the dark.

The main effect of this narrative/structural element was to provide a sense of inevitability. Similar to a Shakespearean tragedy, the plot is hurtling towards what feels likeimpending doom and heartbreak. It creates a momentum that is all-engrossing, and try as we might to remove ourselves from it, we are also slaves to its will. The echoes of Livvie’s situation here are startling. I know I’ve basically written an essay about narrative and structure, but when an author in the romance/erotica genre crafts something this clever and effective, it needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

“That’s why you think you love me! Because I’ve broken you down and built you back up to believe it.”

Above all, this is a story about conflict. There is no better example of this than Caleb’s characterisation. He will forever remain one of the most intriguing romantic heroes to me, though not necessarily what I would consider a “book-boyfriend”. He has periods of softness, alongside periods of disgusting and appalling behaviour – and interestingly, the crueler he is (particularly during the final half of the novel), the more I become obsessed by him. And he does some damn cruel things here; I could physically feel the pain in my heart and stomach from some of the ways he hurt Livvie, despite understanding his motives. He is flawed, complex, cruel.

Yet another example of the theme of conflict can be found within the sexual scenes. There are some which are disgusting and appalling, and some which are disgusting and erotic. Roberts manages to create that conflict in the reader, who, if they are anything like myself, may well find themselves enjoying some of the sexual acts and humiliations found within these pages, whilst feeling a little unsettled about the fact that they enjoy it. Again, this echoes Livvie’s own experiences and conflicts about her situation, something allowing us further into her own mind and emotions.

“I don’t want revenge, Caleb. I don’t want to end up like you, letting some fucking vendetta run my life. I just want my freedom.”

Overall, a fittingly dark, gritty end to a wonderfully dark, gritty duet. Now on to the epilogue.