Author: Sherri Hayes
Publication Date: July 28, 2011
Summary (from Goodreads):
Stephan has lived the lifestyle of a Dominant for five years. After several rebellious teenage years, it gave him the stability and control he had been seeking after his parent’s death.
As president of a not-for-profit foundation, he knows what his future holds and what he wants out of life. All that changes when a simple lunch with his college friend and Mentor, Darren, leads him to buying a slave.
Thrust into a situation he never thought he’d be in, Stephan can’t walk away. He is compelled to help this girl in the only way he knows how.
Brianna knows only one thing, she is a slave. She has nothing. She is nothing.
Can Stephan help Brianna realize that she is much more than just a Slave?
I picked up Slave because of all the rave reviews everyone was giving it. Yes, again I was tempted by other people’s opinions. I really have to stop picking up BDSM books because of the reviews. Why? Because (again) I was slightly disappointed. It was an okay read, very quick which I liked since it did its job and distracted me for the couple of hours it took for me to read. But I was just left…wanting.
We’re introduced to Stephan, a Dom in the BDSM world. He’s told by a friend that there’s a young girl in need of rescuing. A slave to a very cruel and abusing Dom. Stephan is not about buying his Subs but once he meets the young Brianna he knows he has to help her and get her away from Ian. Thus, he purchases his first human being. Brianna is scared and scarred and sees all men as the enemy. The enemy that will beat, starve and basically rape her. Can she find the good in Stephan and become the Sub, not the slave, he desperately wants her to be?
We don’t know because the story just all of a sudden ends. And that’s when I find out it’s only one of three books (I believe) in the Finding Anna series.
The writing wasn’t bad. Hayes has a way of pulling you in even when you feel like the book isn’t really all that captivating. It’s labeled Erotica but, while there is mention of Brianna’s past horrible experiences, there is no erotica in the story. There’s no sex of any kind, erotic or not. Now, while I’m glad Stephan kept it in his pants and didn’t damage the poor girl any more than she already was, when I pick up an erotic book, I want an erotic book. I guess the kinky stuff is coming later on, but who knows?
There was no back story to the characters and I guess that’s where I felt disappointed. I like knowing who the characters are that I’m reading about. I like to get into their heads and their lives and know what makes them tick. We find out nothing about Stephan and Brianna, and I found that very frustrating. I want to know how Stephan got involved in the BDSM world, I want to uncover Brianna’s past and find out exactly how she came to land in Ian’s hands when she appears to come from a very normal background – the one and only thing we did learn about her.
I get that Hayes wants to keep us guessing and wondering so we’ll be inclined to read the next book in the series, but I believe that she could have given us some insight to the characters and still kept the mystery for the next books.
I’m conflicted on the ending too. It felt like a chapter ending, not a book ending. I liked it, but at the same time I said out loud, “That’s it?”
Child trafficking isn’t something that’s wrote a whole lot about. I think the whole thing is still very taboo in books. I haven’t come across very many fictional books anyway, so I did find it interesting that Hayes mixed slavery with BDSM. It’s a unique take on things, but that’s the take that bothered me. BDSM is supposed to be about people wanting to be in that world. Brianna was sold and forced to be a slave, and even when Stephan bought her in the purpose of saving her he still messed up. Instead of collaring her and trying to turn her into a sub he should have been alerting the authorities and getting this girl the right kind of help, not the kind of help he felt she should have.
I think Hayes wrote the BDSM world in a very misleading way. There still could have been a story if Stephan had done the right thing. Brianna could have been given help, set straight and sorted out the mess she went through and Hayes could have sent her back to Stephan whole and in full control of what she wanted.
Because really, we’re supposed to believe Stephan is a good guy, and while I do see good qualities in him, isn’t he just as wrong as her previous owner to buy a human and keep her against her will?