There are some works that I find difficult to enjoy. What causes me the most difficulty is that sometimes the characters are just unlikeable. It’s a shame really when the story is interesting, but you don’t feel any sort of connection with them. Mix into that moments where the events “feel” wrong in how things happen and there comes a point in which the story really has to have one single thing going for it to keep me involved.
Sometimes, that can be one minor character, who isn’t a succubus or incubus. A character that is a mystery untold and, when the work is done and that still isn’t, then one wonders why it wasn’t.
- Title: Cuffed and Collared
- Author: Kastil Eavenshade
- Length: 50 Pages
- ASIN: B01CPSPNLA
- IBSN: 9781772337631
- Publishing Date: March 7, 2016
- This work at Amazon.com
- This work at Evernight Publishing.com
The story is about:
A creature born in sin and debauchery, Markus Theo is as insatiable as they come. He’s relegated himself to a rather shallow life of sucking souls and committing petty theft—until a sexy half-incubus cop cuffs him to a table for more than just questioning. A prison cell is the least of Markus’s worries when tempting Detective Leo Vincent collars him and ignites a hunger like no other. Something stirs beyond the carnal greed and one kiss brands his damned soul.
Lost in a world of submission and sin, Markus will do anything for his lover—even infiltrate the underbelly of an incubus crime operation. But when a piece of his past surfaces and threatens to destroy everything, he must choose between losing Leo or his anonymity. Never wanting to return to the emptiness that was his life before, Markus prepares to sacrifice his freedom for the one thing he has never known. A man he truly loves.
Markus lives in a world where his existence revolves around his crimes, his passions, and his secrets. But not all secrets can be hidden for always and when his deepest one comes back to haunt him, Markus has little choice. The truth hurts, and the one that hurts him most will bring the most pain and passions.
While the story is written well, the interleaving plots are well thought out, and there are some moments of brilliance, there is a deeply dark tone through this work that is only really broken by a single minor character that I will come back to. Markus, and for that matter, really all of the main characters, is just unlikable from the first moments of the story.
There’s no soul in him, there’s a deeply seated expression of darkness, foreboding, and loss that remains with him throughout the work. His personality is rather grating and as the story unfolds he really doesn’t change very much from being, at least to me, somewhat of a cad in his personality. I hesitate to call him a stereotypical incubus, though he does takes souls, has a rather dim view of humanity, and sees the world around him as being not much more than a chance to take and not give.
The same can be said of the other main character Leo, or the other incubi and succubi that appear. There’s nothing attractive about them to speak of. Their world revolves around sex, dominance, and the occasional evil act they conspire to. This is reflected in the erotica which didn’t do anything for me really because it was brutal at times, certainly dehumanizing and any heat that started to build didn’t have a real chance to burn brightly. The sexual tone of this work is dark, there’s really nothing close to love in it, and when that is suggested, it tends to be brushed off quickly. I wanted to see the slightest glimmer of light in Markus, but every time that came close to happening, his darker nature took that away.
That brings me to the single character in the work that fascinated me, which is Leo’s sister. She’s a lovely ray of light amongst all of the darkness and she intrigued me. She has a secret of course, and when that is revealed I wanted to know more about that. Sadly she only appears fleetingly in this work, her story isn’t explored, and I really wish it was.
The climax of the work tells of Markus’ past, the truth about him and those around him. Some of those truths are brutal in their outcome, almost all of them are very dark. I felt like there was something missing at the end which might have tied up things somehow, but I’m not sure what that is exactly.
The writing is strong, a bit harsh, but overall the tone of the work matches the main characters well. I wish there was more light in the work, that there was something more than the darkness that was around every single character. The ending left me wanting in a lot of ways as well. There are a lot of unanswered questions, some threads are not closed up at the end. Perhaps there’s a need for a happy ever after for someone. I’m just not sure of where that comes out in the end.
Two and a half out of five pitchforks.
Being that I didn’t like Markus, or any of the main characters meant that I just couldn’t find a connection with them. While the story itself is very good, the plots are woven together well and there were moments of brilliance, not caring much about the characters is a problem. Considering that the only character I really cared about and wanted to know more about was Leo’s sister, and nothing really was explained about her except vaguely, there was a little bit of light in an otherwise dark and sad tale that couldn’t come through.