Tuesday 12 August 2014

Bloodraven by P.L. Nunn

Genres: Adult, High Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: August 21st 2007
POV: Alternating - Third-person, Past tense
Smut-O-Meter: 10 out of 10
My Rating: 4 out of 5

A son of a forest dwelling people, Yhalen knows little of the world outside the ancestral forest, until he is captured by a band of ogres on a slave-taking mission. Only grim tales of the barbaric giants had reached the forest, but Yhalen soon learns that even the darkest fireside story only hinted at the brutality of these Northern warriors. He discovers the meaning of true fear at their hands, and only the awakening of ancient magic saves him from destruction.

Surviving ogre viciousness, he finds himself given to Bloodraven, the half ogre, half human war leader as a slave. Yhalen, refusing to bend, soon pays the price for offending prickly ogre pride.

But Bloodraven is no mindless, violent ogrish beast. Bloodraven has an agenda and Yhalen finds himself drawn in the wake into human and ogre politics, into bloodshed and cruelty and into the forbidden magic that is damnation in the eyes of his own people, but which might mean the difference between death and salvation.


This was my second attempt at M/M and in some ways it was better, and in others it was worse. I really enjoyed the story and world building in this one a lot more. The worlds of both Ydregi and Ogres was laid out smoothly and I had no trouble adapting to the new setting of the book and the new people. I would like to visit the world again.

I really enjoyed Bloodraven's character and have always been fascinated by 'love my captor' stories. And this one had a double twist to it, being both high fantasy and M/M, so it was an exciting new experience for me. I have only ever read contemporary M/F 'love my captor' stories before. I enjoy the moral ambiguity that inevitably comes with loving someone who has kidnapped or enslaved you, but that is what usually happens. And I did love Bloodraven. I loved that odd balance he had between treating Yhalen like a slave, and completely cherishing him. I wouldn't have thought it possible, but somehow he did it. He could refer to Yhalen as "my little human" and it feels like her is saying both "I own you," and "You own my heart". 

But it never quite came to that, and that is my biggest complaint about this book. There were never any declarations of love. Not even close. Yhalen and Bloodraven never discussed their feelings, not even in their own thoughts, and it is never clear what they really wanted from each other besides sex. The strongest words either of them ever used was when Yhalen admits only to himself that he has "affection" for Bloodraven. Affection. Damned Elinor Dashwood! And that was practically at the end!

I definitely feel that Yhalen and Bloodraven made a great pair, and it is clear that all that Bloodraven went through and sacrificed for Yhalen is not just due to pride for his possessions. But the serious lack of any sentiment in this book was definitely felt by me. My only other complaint is what happened between Yhalen and Elvardo. I really did not like that at all. It was pretty dubious consent, but I still feel like Yhalen betrayed Bloodraven and I hold it against him a bit. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed Yhalen and Bloodraven, not only their unique relationship, but their chemistry. This was my first M/M erotica and it was pretty steamy. Although I wouldn't call it BDSM. Sex usually hurt for Yhalen, but it was not intentional. I wish I could live in this story a little longer.

"He wondered dismally when his heart had been so thoroughly lost to an enemy."

Note: I have heard a lot of people say that the cover for this initially turned them off from reading it, but they are glad that they eventually gave it a chance anyway. Its also not the first time I have heard this, as a lot of people complain about the covers by Jet Mykles as well. Call me crazy, but I find that I actually like the cover.

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