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
Emperor’s Wolf is a pretty typical JC Owens book. Like Gaven, Gaven 2, and Wings, this story takes place in a fantasy world that resembles ancient civilizations. Similar to ancient Greece or Rome mixed with some modern technology, the fantasy world revolves around fighting and a healthy dose of BDSM. The slave is not so much submissive as an intelligent, articulate, active man placed in slavery due to circumstance. Emperor’s Wolf doesn’t deviate from this format much but the story is still enjoyable to read.
The story follows Jaden, a soldier that’s been sold into slavery after his country was defeated in battle. Four years in sexual servitude to a sadistic woman has left Jaden a very angry, scared young man. His will to live and find his younger sister is what keeps him going despite the treatment and desolation. When he encounters the emperor of the country that had defeated his years ago, Jaden is convinced the man is a monster. Yet the emperor’s actions speak of fairness tempered with kindness and Jaden can’t help falling in love with the strong, gruff leader.
As I’ve said the plot isn’t terribly original. It’s very similar to the other books written by this author and fans of those will likely be pleased with this new couple and their antics. The sex scenes are as hot as always and the edge of rough, D/s adds a good spice to two very strong personalities. There are moments of tenderness and the love blooms slowly but surely between the two. The story definitely wants the reader to like Dersai, the emperor. Jaden constantly questions his preconceived notions with endless rhetorical questions in his mind so the reader is meant to like Dersai as well. That’s fine, if obvious, and is a theme that’s very familiar with Owens’ writing.
Both men are nicely developed and richly complex. Dersai shines as a strong, compassionate man who bears a heavy price for leadership. His treatment of Jaden is of course always caring and considerate while Jaden slowly comes to trust and desire Dersai. Their connection is immediate and the story plays this up with a good pace so their relationship makes sense while the reader understands why Jaden falls in love. The story follows their relationship the most with only a few outside influences and issues so there is low level conflict and tension. There is always the difference in their positions and the opposing alliances – Dersai to his country while Jaden struggles with alliance to his – but overall there’s no doubt these two will work things out.
The final tension is kind of obvious but still decently done. There are a few stumbles that didn’t make much sense, such as why the mystery and then the location of Jaden’s missing sister (sold back to their own country to live as a slave? That doesn’t make sense). But these are just details since the main focus is on the emotional and dramatic resolution and happy ending. I could suspend disbelief enough to go with the story easily.
The writing is pretty clean with an ease that makes these stories fun and fast to read. The descriptive quality is good, even if the world isn’t totally defined. It has a classic feel of mythology stories and I’m starting to recognize familiar elements and qualities of this author from novel to novel. I still like Gaven and Gaven 2 better but this is a very hot, entertaining story that I’d read again.