Desert Isle Keeper
The Beast of Blackmoor
The Beast of Blackmoor was first published as part of the Night Shift anthology, and it was far and away my favorite part of that collection. This review is an adaptation of the original review I wrote for the whole anthology, because Milla Vane has reissued her story. It’s a prequel to her A Gathering of Dragons series, which is landing DIKs left and right here. Trust me, the prequel is just as good.
This is a dark and highly erotic fantasy story, a spin on the ‘sword and sorcery’ adventure fantasy genre. Kavik’s land – and his person – were ravaged by the conquering Lord Barin, and the angry boy incurred the wrath of a goddess by disrespecting her temple (okay, he peed on the offering plate). When the same goddess’s champion Mala comes to fulfill her quest to “tame” the beast, Kavik has to show her he’d rather die than endure this final punishment of returning to life as a sexually abused prisoner. Mala, however, is convinced her mission must mean something else, because she can’t believe her goddess would ask such a thing of either of them. As a gesture of trust, she offers Kavik sexual control over her. (Yes, this book is hot).
But Kavik and Mala aren’t just chemistry. They become a team as they fight demons and monsters and work to free Kavik’s homeland. I liked Mala as a heroine, for her faith, her discipline, and her warrior’s spirit. Kavik is literally a tortured hero, but with a core of honor that his suffering hasn’t destroyed. They’re a great pair.
The entire A Gathering of Dragons series is terrific, and this introductory novella is no exception. You can read it first without being confused, or you can read it after the others to see a different corner of this world. Just make sure you read it!