Pocket, $1.99, ISBN 978-1-4767-7578-4
Historical Erotica, 2014
Barbarian’s Concubine is a direct sequel to Slave Girl, and both are part of an erotic serial called 1,001 Erotic Nights. We are talking about an actual serial here, with each story ending on a cliffhanger, to be continued in the next installment. This one, naturally, is best read after having read Slave Girl.
So, after everything that happened in the previous story, our heroine Nimia is now on the run with her companion Terix. Now that her former owner has posted a bounty on their heads, she can’t really trust anyone. Her only solution left seems to be to run to Clovis, the very man who set her up and betrayed her, and hope that he’d take them in. He does, because it seems like Nimia seems to have the power to predict the future. Aside from using her to slake his lust, he could also use her ability to help him conquer her former master’s holdings. And… that’s basically the story for this particular installment.
Well, it looks like this series is starting to become something Bertrice Small used to write back in the old days: it’s heroine-centric, focusing more on her great adventure with men and the rest of the world instead of just being a tale of two people in love. While Nimia is bewilderingly fixated on the idea that Clovis is the man she loves, I seriously have my doubts that he views her as anything more than a tool and a convenient sex doll. He may change his mind later on, but she’s not trying very hard to change his mind by letting him do whatever he wants to her – even if what he wants is not good for her at all – without much of a fight.
This is where the story seems torn between being an erotica and a historical tale of intrigue and such. Typically, in erotica, it’s common to have the main female character being a complete slave to her lust. She can’t contain her passions, so she basically pants after every man she sees because she needs it all the time. Nimia shows the same traits here – she can’t seem to exercise any self-restraint at all, which makes it very easy for men to control her using sex. Clovis basically uses her and ditches her to come what may, the second time he basically treats her like a soiled toilet paper, and she still is fixated on him. If the excerpt of the next story is anything to go by. he’d ramp up the “let’s see how far we can all dance on Nimia’s back and still have her trotting after us like a loyal puppy” fun and she’d be even more powerless and even dependent on him. And all of this goes back to the first installment, when idiot dearest stupidly slept with him even if this meant that she could lose her life.
It’s hard to feel sorry for her. As it is, I get some kind of sick vicarious glee in seeing how much Clovis can use and degrade her while she still wears blinkers and goes all out to do everything for him because she thinks she loves him. I wish I know house maids like her. She’d probably help me clean out the fridge every day without pay just because I ask her to.
There are some hot scenes here, which is nice, but I have to warn you folks: most of these scenes are basically Clovis using sex to get Nimia to see things or do things his way. She’s fast approaching dumb twit territory after all the work the author put into the last installment into making this silly girl likable, and I hope the author would soon either get Nimia to show some spine or completely break her and humiliate her until she cries while I laugh in hysterical glee. Something has to happen soon, because anything more than two consecutive installments of Nimia letting her randy honey pot take hold of her senses can get monotonous and predictable quickly.
At the end of the day, Barbarian’s Concubine is a pretty enjoyable read, but not as a romance novel, though. I find myself intrigued by Clovis, who is such an evil bastard for his age that I must admit that I kind of find that sexy. Oh, hush. The things that happen here take interesting twists and turns, although the big twist is one I see coming from a mile away, and I find myself reading this short installment in a single sitting.
Barbarian’s Concubine is a bit of a let down in that the relationship between Nimia and Clovis is so one-sided that it’s not even funny – the story, as a result, lacks a strong emotional core. Also, while Clovis is a pretty impressive bastard, he still pales compared to Sygarius. I mean, sure, he’s a manipulative son of a bitch… but is it really much of an achievement when Nimia is so willing to be used by him again and again? Getting her to risk her life for him again, even after his treatment of the her the last time, isn’t exactly a great feat when she’s such a hilariously easy pushover. However, there is a campy and enjoyable charm to this story that has me turning the pages just to see what crazy fun stuff the author would put that idiot girl through next. There is a lurid entertaining quality to the whole melodrama that is hard to resist.