Monday, February 2, 2009

The Dark One by Angela Knight

TITLE: The Dark One
AUTHOR: Angela Knight
PUBLISHER: Changeling Press
LENGTH: Short story (roughly 13k)
GENRE: Fantasy BDSM erotic romance
COST: $3.99

Two warriors stumble across each other. One, Kaska of Artane, is the follower of the Dark One, dedicated to war and its spoils. The other, Matia of Ruza, is a Battlemaid with an oath of celibacy. Together, they fight for Prince Britar and his quest for the throne, but their true battles are with their own natures, and their desire for each other…

NOTE: This is a review originally written for Uniquely Pleasurable.

This short story penned by Angela Knight was originally published by Changeling Press by the author under a different name, Victoria Michaels. It was recently placed back into the spotlight by the publisher, which brought it to my attention. I’ve been reading Angela Knight in print for a number of years, and frankly, even though I’m a fan, never thought much about pursuing her e-published offerings. Now I’m beginning to think I’ve been limiting myself too much.

One of the author’s strengths has always been in her commitment to world building. The worlds she creates are always strong and believable, a credit to both her crisp prose and the logic she perpetuates within them. They are not, however, always likeable places. The world created in this short story, for instance, has a faction of warriors that do some seemingly unsavory things upon victory. Followers of the Dark One make sacrifices to their god via anal sex with bound and beaten women, then often claim the woman as their own slave. Though the events portrayed within the story are depicted in such a way that the woman wants it to happen, it’s made more than evident that’s not always the case. Forced seductions such as these are not to everyone’s taste, and if readers are in any way sensitive to this type of thing, they need to stay far, far away from it. However, for those who enjoy rougher erotic scenes with BDSM-style violence and submissive females, the author more than delivers.

Kaska and Matia are alpha to the extreme. Kaska is large, powerful, a warrior to the end, and refuses to bow to anyone except the Dark One and the leaders in the war he’s determined to fight. Matia is a warrior as well, and just as capable and intelligent as Kaska. That the two end up first friends, and then lovers, is hardly a surprise, since they are well matched and ideal for each other. It becomes interesting, then, when Kaska decides to finally claim Matia. For the sake of her honor – and self – they battle it out first. She takes to the submissive role with a great deal of strength, and ends up becoming this fascinating amalgam, a powerful woman who chooses to sexually submit to one particular man. It would seem to be antithetical to her personality, but the author makes it work.

It’s a little odd for me because I honestly got sucked up into the eroticism of the story, even though there were things that should push my buttons. The complete set-up is a little absurd. The Dark One has two penises, for instance. The explanation for why it’s always anal sex is another. Some of the terminology is far from sexy, like the constant use of “anus,” and the non-consensual sex is borderline offensive. Yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this. It’s escapist and fantastical, but I liked the characters, I believed the world they were in, and for rougher BDSM erotica, it’s extremely hot. It’s not a story for everyone, but for those who won’t mind the elements I’ve mentioned, it might be well worth looking into.


8/10 – Sharp world-building, crisp language


6/10 – Alpha all the way


6/10 – An interesting amalgam of submissive and warrior

Entertainment value

8/10 – Because it completely works as BDSM erotica

World building

8/10 – Even with such a short story, the author’s commitment to what she’s created makes it easy to believe.



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