Saturday, June 22, 2013
Blood Slave by Travis Luedke
Her mother named her Esperanza Salvación - Hope for Salvation. But when a girl works as an escort for Colombian cartel in the ghettos of Spanish Harlem, there wasn’t much hope, or salvation.
Hope’s telepathic ability keeps her a step ahead of ruin, but her unusual gift attracts the attention of a psychotic vampire bitch. Trapped in a Manhattan penthouse with the psycho, she thought she was dead meat.
Her survival lies in the hands of Vampire Master Enrique. He seems to respect her, perhaps even care. As a measure of protection, he makes her his personal Bloodslave. Helplessly addicted to his bite, Enrique rules her every moment. As always, Hope must adapt to survive.
Swept into the decadent nightlife of Manhattan's elite, she falls in love with Enrique and prays someday he may grow to love her, too. But is it simply a relationship of convenience? Is she nothing more than a concubine desperate to satisfy his nightly demands for blood and sex?
And forever in the background is the fear that one day the cartel boss she abandoned will hunt her down to collect on old debts.
Where to Buy
I enjoyed this book a lot more than I'd anticipated. I'd been expecting a erotic work full of dark and twisted sexual situations and practices, and while it does contain that, it is also an emotional tale of how a woman who has been a prostitute for most of her young life learns to care for the vampire who has become her master and her lover. She also finds herself along the way, learning to respect herself and to demand to be treated with respect, not just accept whatever treatment she receives from others. She also learns that when pushed to it she's capable of doing far more than she ever thought she would be.
The story is told exclusively from Hope's point of view, which helps the reader to build empathy for her and to care about what happens to her. We learn almost immediately that she is far more intelligent than one might think given her background, and even though she's never really had much formal education, she's managed to educate herself fairly well. Her talent for telepathy makes her valued first by the Columbian men who feel they own her even though they never know exactly how she detects lies like she can, and later by Enrique who truly puts her talent to use knowing full well what it is. If not for this talent, it's arguable that the relationship between her and Enrique might have turned out differently, though it's hard to say.
Since we never get to see into his head, it's hard for the reader to really get a fix on Enrique for a long time. He seems to be a good and compassionate man, and seems to be sincere when he tells Hope that he doesn't just regard her as a sex toy or as a pet, but it's difficult to tell if he truly means it for there is always enough reasonable doubt about whether or not he's telling her the truth. Thus we are left guessing right up until the end how he truly feels, and this helps to hold the reader's interest, wondering how it will turn out between them.
The vampires in this book will likely appeal to both those who like their vampires to be the monsters that traditional legends say they are and those who prefer their vampires to be more genteel, sexy and loveable for they embody both of these concepts. On one level, they are or at least can be very human and rational in their thinking and behavior, and are capable of caring and kindness, but it's always made clear that beneath the civilized veneer lies the heart of a monster. Enrique, for example, is mostly seen to be a very civilized and caring man who'd more given to kindness than cruelty, and yet he does not hesitate to respond in a manner that is both vicious and cruel when the situation warrants it, nor does he truly regret his actions when pushed to such extremes. Others, like Lia, maintain only a thin mask of civility and don't really bother to hide or suppress their more violent instincts.
Potential readers should be aware that this book does contain a good deal of sex, much of it violent to varying extents, and some of it non-consentual. There is also a fair bit of violence of other sorts depicted, including torture and grisly murders. Some may have issues with the exploitation of women in this book, though such is never shown in anything but a negative light. If you don't have a problem with all of the above though, and especially if you like your PNR or erotica to be on the dark side, you'll mostly likely enjoy this book. A solid 4 star rating from me.