Draconian Measures is the third book in the Gaven series (I assume the last too) but is actually a prequel to the other two books. It can be read easily as a stand alone or in any combination with the two Gavin books. It tells the story of Vlar’s parents –really Vlar’s father and his partner- and their oft mentioned difficult courtship. It’s a cute book with a lot of humor but ultimately the book feels too introspective and repetitive to totally satisfy. It’s a nice easy read though and a welcome change from the usual dark overtones this author usually offers. Continue reading
The echoes of a war four years’ past still resounds in the minds of those who endured it. Jaden longs to search for his sister, though he is bound in the fetters of slavery. When he is given to the very man who conquered his country, he is caught up in his own hatred, yet fascinated by the mystery of his new master, the Emperor of Tranaden, who all say is demonic, without mercy. Trapped in the snare of his master’s beauty, Jaden begins to realize that there is much more beneath the surface…
Dersai is Emperor to his fingertips, he is used to command and being obeyed. He will sacrifice anything to see his country safe. Beneath, he is well read, highly intelligent and far sighted in how he views others. Yet, Dersai has an inner demon, a demon that kept his kingdom free and safe from conquerors; only in his dreams can he imagine one strong enough to love him. Now his slave may be the only one who can set him free.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Gaven learns that being Vlar’s pupil in all things is a mixture of pain and pleasure. He hates his Finnarian teacher…doesn’t he? Yet his body betrays him time and again, especially when he experiences the sexual ecstasy of a Finnarian bite and the giving of his own blood.
There seems to be so much more in their relationship than either of them can understand, so Vlar calls in his father, a Finnarian prince. What he tells them shakes Gaven to his core and he fears he cannot possibly live up to what Vlar wishes of him. Then when they seem to be on the edge of truly discovering each other, a shadow from Gaven’s past comes to shatter it all to pieces.
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
J. C. Owens’s Wings
Anyar, a black-winged young guard, could only be accused of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He captures the attention of a commanding, beautiful white-winged prince of the enemy, Vanyae, and is swept away into the conflict between their peoples.
Vanyae takes the incredible, black-winged beauty from his home and all he knows to a place of submission, of slavery. And though Anyar vows never to give in and despairs of his freedom, Vanyae finds pleasure in his body and his spirit.
Even while the battle rages, Vanyae starts to realize that his black-winged bird is much more than a slave to him…
Gaven by JC Owens
When the Masarians attack Gaven’s people, they are defeated and Gaven himself is taken captive. By a man claiming to be his father. It turns out his entire life has been a lie, and now his ‘father’ will give him into the hands of another man to indoctrinate and train him. Gaven vows he will never shame his people by giving into the Masarians’ way of loving other men.
But Vlar, the legendary warrior to whom he has been given, has other plans. The blood-drinker is determined to have Gaven and to make him yield.
[It’s a naked chest, but I do love this cover.]
This beautifully written paranormal story focuses on the emotional journey of a young man coming of age during a violent and turbulent time. While the tale has tremendous potential, the story ultimately failed to deliver on the world building and romance aspects. It does deliver in the characterization of the main narrator, Gaven, and does so wonderfully with a depth of emotion rarely found. Perhaps the author is setting this novella to be one of a series as the ending is barely a happy for now. However, this story is incredibly rich and enjoyable to read for the journey Gaven takes.
Gaven wakes to find his people slaughtered around him and taken prisoner by the violent Masarians. However, once back at their camp he is told that his life was a lie and the leader of the invading army is his real father. Disturbed and confused, Gaven is plunged into an emotional whirlwind as he is told that he will not only train with the Masarian army but he is to participate in their practice of sex between soldiers. To train and facilitate his education, both military and sexually, is a legendary warrior said to drink blood for strength.
Told in first person from Gaven’s perspective, his emotional journey is the main focus of the story. Gaven struggles with the abrupt change in his life and the overwhelming new information being given to him almost constantly. His way of life is completely changed as each new revelation shows his previous life to be full of lies. Often confused and lost, Gaven doesn’t know what to believe and seeks the only solace he can find in his anger and rage. Everything he knew is now gone and he is expected to immediately comply and accept his new fate. When he strikes out and attempts to escape, dire consequences occur and Gaven is forced to reevaluate his choices, reconciling his past with his present.
Gaven is a strong narrator, a 17 year old boy coming of age as he deals with his sexuality and the new life he has been given. Unfortunately beyond Gaven’s distinctive and sympathetic voice, the story is rather empty of any other weight. The supporting characters are only thinly developed and often kept mysterious and even tempered. None of the cast outside of Gaven show any range of emotion and behave very predictably. The pseudo romance of Gaven and Vlar is weak as Vlar is simply a teacher, participating in a ritual known to the Masarians and requires no further emotional connection. There is no evidence that Vlar and Gaven will have a relationship beyond the sexual training Gaven will be subjected to as Vlar has trained numerous other men.
Aside from the weak characterization of everyone other than Gaven, the world building is incomplete. There are very few details and setting offered, leaving the atmosphere to resemble an ancient army from mythology rather than a new and exciting fantasy setting. The concept of warriors bonding amongst themselves also seems lifted from historical and mythological themes and thus the book lacks that original spark and ingenuity. That’s not to say the story isn’t entertaining and enjoyable to read, it is. The violence, rigid conditions, and above all human emotions of Gaven drive the story and give a fast paced, engaging tale of a young man’s difficult journey.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the story but felt it didn’t live up to the premise. The strength of the story is in the evocative and beautiful language, wonderful writing, and strong lead character. Perhaps this will turn into a series where each new story adds more depth and interest. I’d love to hear Vlar’s story and how his vampire-esque people define him and his past. There is so much potential within the story that it is disappointing to have been relegated to a truncated novella but I’ll definitely pick up the author again. The oft-ignored journey of a 17 year old in a violent world is unique and riveting, even with its faults. I easily recommend the book.
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