Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Review: CONTAINS POSSIBLE SPOILERS
Thirty people. Two hours. Only the strong will survive.
When Riddle decides to put on a slave hunt, the Subs Club is on board. Tops hunting bottoms in the woods with paintball guns? Yes. Captives strung up on whipping posts, at the mercy of their captors? Hell yes. But on the morning of the hunt, nothing’s going according to plan. Miles and Drix are at odds over Miles’s reluctance to move in together. Dave is determined to show up D, who thinks Dave won’t last two minutes in the woods. Gould finds himself torn between obeying his master’s orders and living out a longtime fantasy. And Kamen inadvertently becomes a double agent when he aligns himself with two different parties.
By the end of the hunt, alliances will be forged and broken, loyalties will be tested, relationships will be strengthened…and someone will barrel roll. Narrated by ten different characters, Slave Hunt tells the story of two hours in the woods that will change everyone forever. Or at least, remind them that love is the greatest victory of all.
In the last two years, I’ve read quite a few stories written to “tie up” the loose ends in a series, and this is by far one of the very best. In fact, it’s so good that I actually rated it higher than most of the other stories in the series. Highly enjoyable and extremely clever in its execution, J.A. Rock wrapped up the series and left me with a memory of the guys of The Subs Club that I’ll treasure for a long time.
After thinking about it for a day or two, I realized what I loved most about the story was the inclusion of the POV of the Doms of the four principal subs. There’s actually ten POV’s in this story, and at first I thought that would be bizarre, but it worked well because we got to see the boys through the eyes of their Doms and their friends. And although we saw some of the Dom’s introspection through interactions with their subs in the other stories, actually getting inside their POV in this one gave me a whole new appreciation of just how perfect each Dom is for his or her sub.
Miles, with his need for pain and his difficulty in sharing his feelings was never a particularly lovable character, and he’s still not in this story, however he does finally open up to a few people. The turmoil now is that, three years after meeting Drix, Miles still can’t vocalize a request for Drix to move in with him. Reflecting on how he should answer his son when the boy asks how many fathers he has, Miles thinks about responding that he has one father and “one charming guardian whom your father loves deeply” but isn’t in your life “because your adoptive father is fear’s own ward.” Even though I loved his recognition of his own weaknesses, it was Drix’s perspective on their coupledom and on his sub’s needs and desires that made me want to go back and reread their story, Pain Slut, once more.
Kamen’s story, Manties in a Twist, was originally one of my favorites, and though I enjoyed him in this book, it was RYAN who took the blue ribbon for best character. The little man wrote each of his POV chapters in CAPS. According to Kamen, “Ryan is the kind of guy, you see him, and you want to hold him with your whole soul…” I pretty much agree with Kamen after this story. It’s hard to recall my favorite scene between the two, but I certainly enjoyed the time spent at the post after Ryan “captured” Kamen and Ryan’s inner dialogue, “no shit, I loved calling this fucking giant my boy.” By the end of the book it was quite evident that these two were made for each other.
Gould and his Master, Kel, and alternate Dom, Greg, had a much more enjoyable dynamic in this book than in their first story, 24/7. That’s really attributable to the time that has passed, and how much Gould has worked on his issues, both with a psychologist and with Kel over the past few years. But he’s so much happier and well-adjusted now that it was easy to see how much he’s changed for the better. As his story ended he was right where he needed to be—content with his two lovers and ready to be made to “beg and mean it”.
Of all the couples in this series, it was really hard to pick the one I liked best, but I have to admit it turned out to be Dave and D, principally because of how well I got to know them during this hunt. If you had asked me before I started the book, I would have definitely said “No way!”
Within their POV’s and through observation in scenes told from the perspective of Drix and Kamen, I learned what really makes these men tick and was taken on a journey to the heart and soul of their relationship. David is a gregarious character, always willing to talk and joke and be sociable, while D is quiet and reserved and has a difficult time expressing his love out loud. One would think they wouldn’t mesh, but they certainly do.
Dave was one of the most well-prepared subs on this hunt. Despite wearing the most skintight camo pants ever invented—“my pants made balloon animals out of my intestines”—he and D had practiced being in the woods, with D showing him how to track and to evade capture. Thinking back about his practice times in the woods before the event, he gave quite a good summary of his and D’s personalities—“I’d killed a squirrel with the slingshot. Mostly by accident. I’d cried for twenty minutes over its body, while D eyed the carcass like he wanted to take it home and cook it. I made him help me hold a funeral instead.” I included that quote here because it really sums up how diverse/opposite their two characters seem to be, but as with many introverted, soft-spoken men, there’s more to D than appears on the surface. And in D’s final reflection, he reveals much of the depth of his love for David as he thinks about being given “the love of a man who gives me all of himself, even when I’m not sure what to do with it.”
If you’ve followed the Subs Club, this is a must read. If you haven’t, definitely pick up the first book. Each sub has a particular kink reflected in the title of their story and because the time frame is spread out over several years, we get to enjoy each sub as he meets his new Dom, or Master and Dom as in Gould’s case, and we also get to revisit the others and appreciate how much they’ve matured. But this finale is the epitome of that. It’s just too terrific for words, and I obviously highly recommend it.
Cover art by Kanaxa is typical of the series. Its simplicity is not only its hallmark but its finest feature.
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ebook, 1st edition, 166 pages
Expected publication: October 17th 2016 by Riptide Publishing
Original Title Slave Hunt
Series The Subs Club