Subgenre: erotica, erotic fiction, BDSM, non-con, fetish, postapocalyptic fiction.
Format: e-book galley
From the book's description:
"In the aftermath of a plague which brought civilization to its knees and left most of the world's female population sterile, the few women who remain fertile have become a precious commodity. They live in relative comfort, but upon reaching adulthood they are tasked with bearing children to carry on the species.
Twenty-four-year-old Rowan knows the role she will be expected to play now that she has come of age, but when she dares to resist her fate, the penalty is severe. After a shameful, public chastisement and a thorough medical examination, Rowan is given to a savage from outside the community--a huge brute of a man named Silas.
Against all expectations, Rowan finds herself drawn to her new keeper. Brave, ruggedly handsome and even kind at times, he is everything the men she has known before were not. When the time comes for him to mate with her, despite the circumstances, something deep inside her begs for him to claim her as his. But while she soon finds herself longing to be his forever, Rowan knows that one day those who gave her to him will try to take her back. When that day comes will Silas fight to keep her at his side even if it means risking everything he loves?"
In addition, the publisher does offer a warning note: "Given to the Savage is an erotic novel that includes spankings, sexual scenes, extensive medical play, anal play and more."
The Handmaid's Tale in terms of the status of the breeders in the society of this novel, and in the fact that Knight's work is a piece of dystopian fiction. The similarities end there as this is a dystopian erotic romance. The warning is proper, and this is not a novel for the those with a faint heart or on the prudish side.
The plot is as described above. Much of the more graphic elements of medical play happen at the beginning of the novel when Rowan is being examined before she is given to Silas. She is given to Silas as part of the deal the settlement man made with an official of the colony. Colonies are the "civilized" towns and settlements are anything else outside that. They depend on each other, but relations are tense. As the novel opens, Silas arrives to get Rowan as part of some deal he has made to get supplies and medicines for his village.
As in any good romance, Rowan soon falls for the brutish Silas, who turns out to be harsh but also have a soft side. In addition to the romance, we get a story of resistance as the settlers are planning a rebellion against the colonies. There will be a confrontation, and I leave it to readers to find out if they succeed or not. As I said, this is a good romance, so readers of that genre can probably know where things are headed.
Knight builds a pretty good story in terms of the erotic elements and the dystopian fiction elements. We get both the erotic romance, which can be very graphic and extreme, but she balances that with the softer elements of the couple falling in love. Around that we have the story of the dystopian society led by the Commander where some women are kept as nothing more than breeders. Other people think the breeders have a high place in society and live in comfort. Nothing could be further from the truth as they are often tortured and tormented to keep them in line. The plot moves at a steady pace. Knight drops readers right in the middle of the story from the beginning, and then she reveals details of her world as the narrative moves along. By the time we are a bit into it, we get a sense of how the world is built. Readers will find themselves rooting for the couple and hoping that the Commander and his henchman get what's coming to them.
Readers of the romance genre will likely enjoy this one. However, this is not a light or cozy romance. This is a strong piece of erotica with graphic elements, including some of non-consent. If that works for you as a reader, then this will be enjoyable. I mentioned Margaret Atwood's novel above as I think this book has some appeal elements that go with that novel. Also readers of works like Y:The Last Man and The Children of Men may find this to have similar appeal elements in terms of the sterility angle for humanity. The key difference is this is a work of erotica.
Though I enjoy this type of erotica just fine, I am not a huge fan of the dystopian genre. For me, seeing the similarities to other works sort of made some of it predictable for me. However, I did find myself liking this one. I think readers who like both dystopian fiction and erotic romance with strong BDSM and non-con elements will enjoy this one as well. If this is your genre, I would say to give this author a chance; you may find yourself rating it higher. It was a good read overall, and I would take another chance with this author.
3 out of 5 stars.
This book qualifies for the following 2016 Reading Challenges: