In Bran’s Story
, author Maculategiraffe transports readers to Tenarus, a contemporary dystopian society where slavery – both domestic and sexual – is a legal and thriving practice. Though many slaves enjoy mutually satisfying relationships with their upper-class masters, others are not quite so lucky. Some slaves are faced with harsh conditions, horrific abuse, or even abject neglect at the hands of their owners. And there is no recourse for these slaves; they can only endure.
It is within the context of this parallel universe that readers are introduced to Bran, a beautiful young pleasure slave who has displeased his owners for the last time. After a second failed escape attempt, Bran is sold by his master to the infamous “slave breakers” – a middle-aged couple notorious for their ability to correct the behavior of an unruly slave. It is rumoured that Holden and Alix’s training methods are unmerciful and that those slaves whose behavior can’t be fixed are never heard from again…
As a lead character, Bran was one of the most shy, sweet, loving characters that I have come across in the romance genre. I just wanted to gather him close and give him a snuggle. Made to feel unworthy by his previous owners, he is heartbreakingly eager to please Holden and be loved by him. But as sweet and fragile as Bran is, every now and then you would get a glimmer of his inner strength which allowed you to respect him as well as like him.
As much as I loved Bran’s character, Holden had my heart fluttering from the moment he bent down to pick Bran up and whisk him away from his cruel master. A sexy older man (I was picturing a Dominant George Clooney-type), Holden was only made sexier by his displays of kindness, compassion, and honesty. Ultimately, his character was driven by his need to protect and care for those around him (even if his actions went against their wishes and his own desires). Holden’s continual refusal to lie to Bran about his feelings provided for more than one gut-wrenching scene that caused a lump in my throat.
From the first sentence to the last, I thought that this story was fantastic! The book’s concept was wonderfully original, the parallel universe was richly imagined, the writing style was clear and descriptive, and every character had distinct voices, personalities, and motivations.
One word of caution: As the first in a series, Bran’s Story
doesn’t provide any real closure for the reader. If you’re looking for a book that ties up the romance with a big red bow at the end and gives everyone their happily ever after, this is not the book for you. Instead, this story’s ambiguous ending drives home the fact that sometimes life is messy and that you need to settle for Happily For Now while you work
for your Happily Ever After.
Verdict: A concept that could have easily gone dark and cringe-worthy, Bran’s Story
was an incredibly moving tale with a lot of heart. It’s available FREE on Goodreads, so get yourself over to Maculategiraffe’s author page and get yourself a copy… now!