Oh my ducklings, this is DARK. This is disturbing. This is intense, and if you don’t like those things, then Saphyre is definitely not the book for you. Which is definitely not anything to be upset about, we all like what we like. And you’re in good company, Amazon doesn’t like it either. In fact, Amazon banned this book, not just once, but twice. Once under this name, and then after Scarlett and Loxley reworked and renamed it, it was banned under that name too. It had reached bestseller status too, both times. But, do not despair, oh my darlings, the buy link I posted is good, and you can get it there, at least as a mobi file. And once you have it, you definitely have it forever.
Scarlett and Loxley are both new authors to me. I saw the cover in passing in Sara Fields’ group and thought that it sounded like a good book, but then my brain sabotaged me, as it does. Then Katie Douglas and I were talking about other things, and she asked me if I knew anything about it, since she couldn’t find it anywhere. So, I went and looked and asked, and found out that yup, it had been banned. Loxley told me that they were trying to find other options, and then they came out with Ember, and by the time I had a second to read it, it was banned again. So, the very second I found the new buy link, I jumped on it. We all know that I buy banned books anyway, and a banned book that I want to read? Yupper.
So here’s the way that the story goes. It’s post-apocalyptic and dystopian AF. There are two very, very, very distinct castes. You have the Emperians and the Tenebrians. Emperia is made up of 4 floating islands, three of which have a separate kingdom on it. This book, we’re concerned with the kingdom of the manticore shifters. Manticores, by the way, are a beastie out of Persian mythology. It has the head of a man, the body of a lion, and can either have a scorpion tail or a long tail with spines all over it. The pix you see of manticores tend to have a humanish face with a mane. And oh yeah, lest I forget, they also have wings. The Emperian manticores have 3 tails, one which kills you when you are stung, one which gives you incredible pain, and one which is an aphrodisiac. Anyway, the Emperians are all that, a bag of chips, and the extra large soda too. They are the creme de la creme, the rulers, the tyrants, so on and so forth. Then you have the Tenebrians. Tenebris is the lands which lay far beneath the floating isles. They are the slums, filled with the peasants, the poor, the people who are trying to scratch out a living. There are better areas than others, but even the better areas of Tenebris aren’t all that great. The Emperians will come down to get themselves a little bit of trade, but generally, the only thing that Emperians value coming out of Tenebris are the breeders.
Saphyre and her sisters are part of the resistance that their mother set up. They have very good reasons to be, including the fact that they have what is called the Golden Curse. They are what is called Aurelian Breeders. They have a special birthmark on the crown of their heads, with a golden streak of hair coming from the mark. That golden streak of hair and the birthmark singles them out as something special, unique, desirable, and very, very valuable.
As one of the heads of the resistance, Saphyre takes her responsibilities very, very seriously. So, since they need some money to get food, she’s off to do what she can to get some. She’s going to dress all super sexy and visit one of the clubs that the Emperians hang out at, and she’s going to rob one of them. And hopefully kill them too. Each Emperian has a special emblem that they wear, and the more valuable the metal, the higher their rank is. So when Saphyre sees a guy with the most expensive emblem ever, she knows that she has to get him. But of course, nothing ever turns out that way. Instead, she gets caught and harvested by King Leonidas to be his Breeder to bear his royal heir. But first, he’s going to give her to his two friends and advisors to break her in and train her. His friends are Raphael and oh yeah, General Ryker, the man she stole from and tried to kill. Oh fuck.
I love Saphyre. She is fierce, loyal, and smart. She isn’t going to give in to the manticores who are trying to be her masters, at least not all the way. I think that there is always going to be that core of steel right down in the center of her that Leonidas, Raphael, and Ryker won’t be able to see, let alone touch. I think that they should definitely question themselves anytime she seems to give in easily, and maybe just not get all that complacent. I think that she’s always, always, always going to have more than one reason to do whatever she’s doing at any one time. She might not even acknowledge those reasons to herself, because acknowledging them means that someone else might figure them out. I think that she will be a force to be reckoned with, and I will definitely want to stay out of her way.
Oh, I hated Leonidas, Ryker, and Raphael in the beginning. And I’m not talking hate to love them or love to hate them kind of hate. I mean complete and utter loathing. They could’ve died by fire and spent the eternities boiling in a sea of lava and hellfire and I probably would’ve thought they were getting off lightly. But, they started to grow on me as the book went on. Of the three of them, I think Raphael is my favorite. Ryker is my least favorite most of the time, and Leonidas flows around there somewhere back and forth. They are occasionally brutal when it comes to how they treat Saphyre. I mean, the nipple clamps? Or the first interactions between Leonidas and Saphyre? Holeeeeee fuck.
Scarlett and Loxley have promised that there are more books in this world coming, and seriously, I may have to go find them, drag them to my “spare room” and lock them in until they can write them, because I really don’t want to wait. (Just kidding on the dragging them to my spare room part. That’s reserved for Addison Cain.)
OK, I’m not going to say anything much down here, other than karma is a bitch.
Go check it out, and happy reading?!?