Publication Date: 04/01/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Books
Genre: Erotic Paranormal
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Books)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Angela Knight on the WEB: website, blog, twitter, facebook, goodreads
Books in the series:
0.5. Wicked Games
1. Seductions Gift (Hot Blooded Anthology)
2. Master of the Night
3. Galahad (Bite Anthology)
4. Master of the Moon
5. Master of Wolves
6. Moon Dance (Over the Moon Anthology)
7. Master of Swords
8. Master of Dragons
8.5. Vampire's Ball (Hot for the Holidays Anthology)
9. Master of Fire
10. Master of Smoke
11. Master of Shadows
12. Master of Darkness
Coverart: Click the Image for a larger, clearer view of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from, Wicked Games, courtesy of the authors website.
Angela Knight's reimagining of the Arthurian legend in her Mageverse novels has been praised as "inventive, lively, and sexy as hell" (Heroes and Heartbreakers). Now, in Wicked Games, she delivers in an all-new novella, and a sensual new kick, to her Mageverse world. In a revealing prequel that draws together Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere in an explosive triangle, she sets the stage for the Mageverse magic, for the masterful men, and for the beautiful women who live to serve, outwit, and bewitch them.
Plus Angela Knight at her provocative best in two bonus novellas that have previously appeared in a different form...
In Bondage, Beauty and Beast, lovely Brianne is sold as a bondslave to Lord Ardolf Greycastle. Ardolf needs Brianne to break the spell that turned him into a beast, but to do that he must win her love even as he dominates her without mercy.
when female Confederate spy Rose Carson seduces a handsome Union officer in A Question of Pleasure, it is only to gather secrets. She never expected to fall in love, or to submit to his extreme demands when he discovers her duplicity.
There is a lot going on in Angela Knight's new Wicked Games anthology. Readers are treated to a prequel from Knight's highly acclaimed Mageverse series, two short stories from Knight's early career and a look into Knight's next anthology featuring Morgana's story, "Oath of Service". Fans of the Mageverse will revel in finally getting Knight's take on the beginning of Arthur and Gwen's story. How they became immortals and even the tale behind Lancelot's betrayal. This is Arthur like you've never seen him before. Territorial, controlling and one fiercest warriors to have ever lived. Readers will also enjoy seeing what's to come with Mageverse series and some of Knight's classic BDSM writing. This book isn't for everyone, but for those love a wicked ride... this is it!
What I liked:
I'm not quite sure how I have missed this series, up until now. Being a major history buff, the legend of Arthur and the Knights of the Round table sates my need for magic as well as legend. Arthur as an immortal vampire? Bring it on! It is my understanding that the series is near it's conclusion and starting with the prequel in this anthology, I can read it all straight through. That makes me happy. But knowing I've missed out this long... eke gads!
Wicked Games is not a book for the faint of heart and it isn't going to suit every taste, even in the erotic realm of reading. Each of the three stories in this anthology has it's own theme and ideas and they are all very different. There are some issues with consensual sex and fidelity and there are a few things that many readers might find shocking. But I often think that is part of why readers choose to read erotica, they want that shock factor, that bit of taboo that gets their heart and blood pumping. Angela Knight certainly took that into account here. This one is smoking hot, in just about every way.
The headliner for this anthology is a the prequel to the Mageverse series, called "The Once and Future Lover". This is the story that begins it all. Having not read any of the other Mageverse books, I was very open minded going into this one. I knew that Knight's take on Camelot featured vampires and witches and I was fine with that. A little poetic license is expected when in comes to the paranormal. Combine that with erotica and I was expecting one hot story and I wasn't disappointed. I have always been a big fan of Arthur's and probably didn't have as much respect or understanding for Guinevere, given her betrayal. But Knight turned my understanding of this classic tale on it's ear with this story. It was intense and fierce and extremely sexual. Arthur is a fierce warrior and an even fiercer man. He isn't a benevolent leader, but his vision for his people is strong and worthy. His treatment of those around him isn't always stellar and I think that really worked with the kind of personality that he needed to make his character work. Knight does a spectacular job of showing the moral question he faces and the sacrifices he makes. To say he is also as very passionate lover is an understatement.
One of the things that I found that I really liked here, was Knight's portrayal of Gwen. Most of the time I don't care much for her in the stories of old. She comes across as simpering and self-serving. Here she is quite the opposite. Her love for Arthur is evident and her need to protect him is strong. I liked her in Knight's universe. She had passion and drive and she isn't afraid of her own sexuality. Though that may have contributed to her downfall in the original stories, it serves her in different ways here.
This was a fantastic story. As I said before the graphic language, issues with consent, fidelity and overall crassness, might not suit everyone's fancy. It will definitely tread on the sensibilities of some, but if you can look over that, the writing is well done, very creative and hotter than a firecracker.
The two short stories in the book are from Knight's early career and that shows a bit in the writing. I can see with the new Mageverse story that her abilities have really improved. That's not to say there was anything wrong with either story. I could just see the growth and the maturity she had gained and I liked that. It gave me a bit of a reference for her work. I read a lot of different kinds of books including different kinds of erotica. Some I like, some I tolerate and some that I just can't wrap my head around. There was some of each of those feelings in the short stories we have in Wicked Games.
"Bondage, Beauty and the Beast" is of course a riff on the fairy tale. The hero of the story has been cursed and he needs a woman to fall in love with him to break it. That's where the similarities end. I liked the premise, loved the enchanted sex toys, ooooh myyyy! But I had a few issues with how the hero went about acquiring the woman's love. He truly was a beast. He violates her boundaries in every way. I know she's a slave, didn't like that either, but understood it. But she was still a person and deserved that respect. Consent isn't negotiable. Overall a real eye-opener. Definitely, not for the faint of heart.
Loved the overall concept of "A Question of Pleasure." Civil War era romance between a Union soldier and a Confederate Spy. It had a lot of potential. But the BDSM content is used as a punishment more than as pleasure. It was a good story. I just prefer the more sensual and pleasurable parts of the BDSM relationship than the domination and control aspects.
The snippet from Knight's new Mageverse story, "Oath of Service" was again, extremely well written. The two stories from this series, made we want to read them all. Sooner rather than later. I want to immerse myself in this series and not come up for air until after the next one comes out.
What I didn't like:
There were good and bad points to all of the stories in this anthology. There were some lines crossed with fidelity and consent that are hard to uncross once you go there. It will not sit well with some readers, others will enjoy that taboo aspect of the stories. It's just one of those books that requires a tougher erotic skin than some possess. I loved parts of, others not so much.
This is why it's difficult for me to review anthologies. I ramble on so. I loved the Mageverse stories. I plan to go back and read the entire series. I liked certain parts of the other stories, but disliked others. Overall it was very good. Very well written. But it isn't for everyone. Take that with a grain of salt. Pick up and see what I mean.
Wicked Games is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Angela Knight is a New York Times bestselling author and former newspaper journalist. She lives with her family in South Carolina.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Wicked Games by Angela Knight.
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