Dominus by J.P. Kenwood ~ Review by Lirtle Grafton

A very tongue-in-cheek approach to a raunchy, rollicking story that includes some heavier subjects snuck in underneath the togas and sandal straps.

dominus cover1 (227x300)Title: Dominus

Author: J.P. Kenwood

Publisher: JPK Publishing – J.P. Kenwood

My Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

In AD 107, after a grueling campaign against Rome’s fierce enemy, the kingdom of Dacia, Gaius Fabius returns home in triumph. With the bloody battles over, the commander of the Lucky IV Legion now craves life’s simple pleasures: leisurely soaks in fragrant baths, over-flowing cups of wine, and a long holiday at his seaside villa to savor his pleasure slaves. On a whim, he purchases a spirited young Dacian captive and unwittingly sparks a fresh outbreak of the Dacian war; an intimate struggle between two sworn enemies with love and honor at stake.

Allerix survived the wars against Rome, but now he is a slave rather than a victor. Worse, the handsome general who led the destruction of his people now commands his body. When escape appears impossible, Alle struggles to find a way to preserve his dignity and exact vengeance upon the savage Romans. Revenge will be his, that is, if he doesn’t lose his heart to his lusty Roman master.

Dominus is a plot-packed erotic fantasy that transports readers back to ancient Rome during the reign of the Emperor Trajan. This is the first book in an alternate history series—a tumultuous journey filled with forbidden love, humor, sex, friendship, political intrigue, deception and murder.

My View

This story is set in A.D. 107, Rome, with ultra-high society the arena in which all of the characters are doing their best (and worst) to make their way. However, this isn’t an historical book in the traditional sense, not when you take into account the language and tone. Favorite examples? “Hissy fit”, “twit” and “bloody brilliant”, to name a few. Know what this means? When you read this, take the language as seriously as a birthday balloon and just enjoy the ride. 🙂

There are some POV changes early on and this made it confusing sometimes and difficult to determine who is thinking or saying what. I crinkled my brow here and there, thinking, “now, who said that?” Once I figured out the rhythm of the less obvious changes, I did start to enjoy the various voices of these characters.

Also? There be some funny shit in this here story. Yeah, I could get all fancy schmancy but it would all just lead back to humorous, which this is. True humor isn’t easy and it’s pretty well done here.

Oh, also? Plenty of swearing going on here to satisfy anyone’s love and appreciation of such bawdy talk. That’s me. 😀

Daft. Bugger. Shagging. Oops! Excuse me, I was having a flashback. 😉

These characters range in age from around 21 up to nearly 40 and everywhere in between. This did help greatly in aiding the “buy-in” for this story, the motivations for characters (some very obvious, some not so much at all) and some of the more serious events throughout. Most of all, the many different relationships were given weight due to some of their ages and how long they’ve known and (loved, hated, cared, tolerated) dealt with each other.

I think we can add one more thing to the up and down nature of this read: the sex. Some is hot and will cause the heart to race, while some is not really at all. I couldn’t ever decide if that was the sex as described itself or partly due to the circumstances of some of the scenes. I almost have to say it was the former because some of those settings were meant to raise one’s temperature and didn’t quite get there.

Along these same lines, it took me awhile but I finally realized a thread running through much of this that just didn’t quite site well. It also surprised me because, when it works, it doesn’t bother me at all. I guess it comes down to the fact that you can’t just say someone is “mine”, there needs to be backup, history, something to make that believable and have the intended impact. Everyone seemed to “belong” to someone else, physically and emotionally. I know we’re talking about things like slaves, rules, partially freed staff, Dominus, Domina, etc., but it all felt heavy handed. It sometimes dampened the humor and the heat for me. This also means that the featured pairings, old and new, sometimes suffered from a feeling of being forced, not organically grown.

On the flip side, there is some unexpectedly strong emotion in this story. It comes from two characters that feel like they are the real stars here, despite their smaller font size on the front of the marquee. Really damned good and is a perfect example of the opposite of what I was just describing up there. History and tenderness and loyalty and pain and caring and love. All of these are demonstrated in both small gestures and those of a more grand nature. This was a relationship that deserved more exploration.

There may not some huge story here (except for some of the political happenings, but even those are more window dressing), but the characters are front and center and they do highlight well the skill this writer possesses when it comes to people and their secrets, desires, fears and hope. It’s not easy to juggle so many characters and yet make them all feel relevant, complex and worthy of spending some time with, and I got a good dose of that here.

I think it’s safe to say this was an uneven read: a gentle roll downward with the modern language, then on the upswing with the funny, then down again with the unclear changes in point of view, only to head back up towards the summit with some of these characters.

Buy Links:

Amazon US
Amazon UK

I would like to thank J.P. Kenwood for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

Brandilyn
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