The Emperor's Wolf by J.C. Owens

         Something about ancient times always fascinates me, as does the idea of submission. And this seemed to combine the two, or I thought it did when I put it on my to-read list. But once I started reading it it was halfway between the two... kind of...
          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.
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         For some reason I got the impression that this book would be about ancient Rome, or something similar. And it kind of was, but it also kind of wasn't... at all. There are giant machines and curses and crazy legends in this one. And as far as submission goes, you could say that there is a kind of submission going on here, but not in the way people normally would think of it.

         Jaden is an interesting character, because he is presented to us as a tough dangerous man that many, in the harem he resides in, fear. But he has been horribly abused until he submits to this terrible lady, who in my opinion (and Jaden's as well) is totally disgusting. And she has some sort of strange obsession with him that I didn't understand, but it made me want to punch her in the throat. We go from there until he meets up with Dersai... at this point Jaden seems to have a total role reversal and becomes a very fragile and submissive man. I was confused about how I was supposed to view Jaden, because people kept referring to him as a wolf but we are shown a timid broken man. That being said, it doesn't mean I didn't like his character. I thought his vulnerability was really well done, I just thought it needed to be shown that he wasn't a wolf yet.

         Dersai scared me. When he was himself it was fine and I thought he was a real stand up guy, but when the demon took over he was horrible. Ugh, and when he killed those soldiers and started licking up their blood, that creeped me out more than anything. What I really liked about him was that while he was the more dominant partner in the relationship, he often times seemed more deeply vulnerable than Jaden did. Maybe it was because he knew how perilously he was holding on to his sanity, or maybe he was just more invested in the relationship from the start.

         They big fight at the end confused me. I don't understand why they both were keeping secret from each other like that, but at the same time I see why it happened, to show them both the strength of their relationship, but it just seemed like a tiny misunderstanding blown way out of proportion.

I liked it a lot! I wish there had been more plot thought. I give it 3 stars!

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