A Guest Review by StaceyR
In a battle between kingdoms good intentions go horribly wrong and a man has to find the strength and peace of mind to mend his shattered spirit and fractured dignity so he can fulfill his destiny; to control a demon and discover a love worthy of the fight…with the enemy.
The echoes of a war four years’ past still resounds in the minds of those who endured it. Jaden longs to search for his sister, though he is bound in the fetters of slavery. When he is given to the very man who conquered his country, he is caught up in his own hatred, yet fascinated by the mystery of his new master, the Emperor of Tranaden, who all say is demonic, without mercy. Trapped in the snare of his master’s beauty, Jaden begins to realize that there is much more beneath the surface…
Dersai is Emperor to his fingertips, he is used to command and being obeyed. He will sacrifice anything to see his country safe. Beneath, he is well read, highly intelligent and far sighted in how he views others. Yet, Dersai has an inner demon, a demon that kept his kingdom free and safe from conquerors; only in his dreams can he imagine one strong enough to love him. Now his slave may be the only one who can set him free.
I loved this book. Told entirely in Jaden’s point of view, the reader is as much on edge about the Emperor’s intentions as Jaden. The story unfolds at a nice clip, the transformation and healing of Jaden’s character a subtle and constant evolution, and yet the change is so vast that when I finished The Emperor’s Wolf, I did something I rarely ever do—I read it again…well, all except for the first chapter.
As much as I loved the book, I hated the first chapter. HATED it. An ex-soldier for his kingdom, Jaden was captured during the war and sold into slavery. Black, as he’s called by his mistress, has long since learned his place as a palace pleasure pet after years of training and torture. In these early pages we get a close-up view of his duties–those who also enjoy het books likely won’t be as bothered by this chapter. Black no longer fights his mistress, and yet struggles to hold onto his inner self. He still holds hope of escaping one day and rescuing his little sister. He also knows his life could have been much worse, he still has nightmares about the demon-possessed enemy emperor he faced on the battlefield, the monster who killed without remorse and sent him and sister into slavery. I was leery to keep going after this chapter, but was really glad I did, because in chapter two Jaden’s world is abruptly shifted when his mistress takes her pet along as she seeks counsel with an Emperor. When he recognizes the Emperor’s voice, he breaks form and looks up, meeting the eyes of his most hated enemy—eyes that recognize him instantly. When the Emperor demands the return of his stolen property all hell breaks loose.
Vowing to never lose his wolf again, the Emperor wastes no time in staking his claim on Jaden, an experience that would seem brutal if Jaden didn’t feel so drawn to his new captor and overwhelmed by sensations that have nothing to do with pain. Now chained in the Emperor’s private chambers, Jaden’s fractured mind struggles to keep up with the changes, new expectations and the memory that his new owner is the man he’s hated for four years, the demon-possessed destroyer who sent him away to be tortured and broken. But Dersai is nothing like he expects, and his treatment of Jaden is constantly at odds with the submission training Jaden endured during his slavery. He learns new truths about a kingdom he’s been raised to view as the enemy, but how can he trust the man who so thoroughly shattered his life? Slowly, Jaden starts to realize that becoming the Emperor’s Wolf, finding a balance between his submission and his own will could be the answer to his salvation. Dersai offers another hope he can’t refuse, a chance to find his sister.
I really hate to give too much away, because one of the real pleasures of the book is getting to know Dersai as Jaden does, and never being quite sure of the Emperor’s intent or his connection with the demon that resides inside him. Dersai is a fascinating character, and in some ways he’s far more broken than Jaden. He has suffered his own internal torture, one that will surely kill him if Jaden cannot accept his fate.
Really, this is a story of healing and hope, and finding the inner strength to face impossible odds, all of which lead to a sigh-worthy HEA. Definitely a recommended read.