5 and 4.5 Stars for Claimed by the Order by J. Johanis #MM #Mythology @JennaJohanis

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Title: Claimed by the Order (S-Gods #1)
Author Name: J. Johanis
Publication Date & Length: June 10, 2015 – 241 pgs

Synopsis

Young and eager to join the social playground of the gods, Marduk enters his first day of college at the exotic mountain retreat at the Temple of Power. But he swiftly falls into the clutches of a secret order. Confronted by the powerful gods who wish to claim him, Marduk is defenseless. His only way out: to lure another virgin god into the Order.

Marduk finds refuge in the young god Anu-Akad. Delivering Akad to the order would earn Marduk his freedom, but Marduk struggles to keep his love affair hidden from the Order. Will his efforts be in vain? He failed to save himself. Is he strong enough to save his lover?

Advisory: Contains portrayals of m/m sex, violence, non-con, & abuse. Intended for mature readers.

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Review

FiveStars

This book contains graphic scenes of non-consensual sex. They are not used as a romantic plot device.

This was absolutely fantastic; I couldn’t put it down. The writing style is beautiful, and it’s clear Ms. Johanis has an exceptional grasp of mythology and well-constructed fantasy. This is an unusual view of ancient cultures’ gods and goddesses.I rarely read books with non-con because too often, it’s softened, played up for reader sympathy, used as a method to get the main pair to hook up, or handled badly all-around. None of that is to be found in this story. I appreciate how clear the distinction is, both physically and psychologically, between the rape and the genuine intimacy. It’s even clear when pseudo-intimacy is employed. The only part that might loosely be labeled as “dubious consent” between the main romantic leads is mitigated by several factors and is not a decision made lightly by either party. Ultimately, neither one feels shame for the act itself, only for the the events which unfold afterward.

Marduk starts out as a bit of a playboy, a typical cute-and-mostly-knows-it type. And then his whole world is shattered by unbearable violence. What I love about the way it’s written is that he never becomes fragile, not even when he’s reached the limit on what he can handle. Although he believes himself to be a failure, his actions continue to demonstrate his strength and resilience. He remains true to himself and his principles. Throughout, he is convinced there must be a better way to resolve his problems than the easy route.

By contrast, Anu-Akad is, on the surface, mild and timid. He seems just as unlikely a hero as Marduk, and at first, he seems willing to resign himself to whatever he is told must happen. It’s a pleasure to watch him grow into his nobility. The unfolding of his relationship with his father is both gut-wrenching and heartbreaking as they seek to reconcile their difficult history.

This is really not a story for the faint of heart. It carries heavy warnings for a lot of material of a mature, graphic nature. But that’s not the appeal of the tale. It’s in the grappling with underlying emotions that the real story is told. All in all, utterly captivating.

Amy
FourandHalfStars
I’m not normally a Mythology reader, so I sat on the border debating on if I wanted to read this book. Really I did. The synopsis was interesting, the cover was hot as hell…. but it was outside my normal genre. However, I decided to give it a go just to shake things up…… Gotta tell you. I’m SO glad I did.
YES, the book is DARK and there is some seriously twisted things going on… but it was so incredibly captivating and well written that I couldn’t put it down.
I found myself being tugged around emotionally by the author. I’d start to want one thing only to discover that SHRIEK I didn’t want that and run the other way only to find that maybe that wasn’t a great way either… It was just simply fantastic. I loved it. Good, Bad and Everything else that Marduk goes through.
I can say that I can’t attest to anything to do with the mythological side of things, but I do read quite a few dark books so maybe it is me, but I felt like it really could’ve been amped up a bit with some descriptions of what was going on or emotions… sometimes we’d get more of one or the other and I felt a TEEENY bit lacking there, but it is entirely possible that it is a personal thing so I only knocked half a star off.
All in all I will definitely be seeking out more books from this author.
Renee

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AuthorBio

J. Johanis writes dark GLBT and M/M fantasy and enjoys writing plots that are historical or myth-based. Current Projects: Participating in a writing event for the Goodreads BDSM Group and launching Claimed by the Order (M/M Dark Fantasy-Erotica).

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