If you look at most of the authors I’ve written about, you will see that I
stalk follow them on FB, Twitter, Amazon, Bookbub, their blogs, and just about everywhere else I can. Sophie Kisker is no different. She is a dark romance writer, whose books generally have BDSM and at least some power exchange. I’ve currently read everything that she’s written, and am eagerly waiting for her newest book, which comes out very soon. Since the new book is part of the Midrosian Chronicles, I thought this would be a good time to talk about the series, which currently consists of Memories of Surrender and Longings of Surrender. Book three, Tears of Surrender, comes out the 12th of this month.
Some background on the series. Midros is a planet that is rolling in the dough. Before a special mineral was found on their planet, interstellar shipping and travel was incredibly expensive. In order to make it through the atmosphere on re-entry, the outer hulls of the ships had to be very strong. Strong generally means heavy. A heavy hull makes it hard to take off and leave the atmosphere. Anything that lightens up that weight becomes immediately precious and in high demand. If it is only on one planet, well, that planet can pretty much do anything it wants to do. That’s the case when it comes to Midros and paeolate.
In the case of Midros, that means keeping half of its population as slaves. Women were literally nothing but property. Girls are ripped away from their mothers’ arms when they turn 5 and are educated at a special “girls’ school” until they turn 18. Their education is severely limited. Females aren’t allowed to learn how to read the language that is currently used by men, Br’ini.
When the girl turns 18, she is sold to her new master. She could end up working as some kind of service person, like an assistant at a store. Or, more likely, she’ll end up in someone’s household as their sex slave. Many men have a first slave, who might otherwise be called a wife, she’s the mother of their child/ren. As part of each slave’s duties, she will have to spend one week per year (roughly) as a service companion slave, available to rent. Most women don’t look forward to these weeks, because generally, bad things happen to them during this week.
So, with some basic background, I know, you’re thinking this was basic?, it’s on to the books.
Note, while you could read these books as a stand-alone book, if you really wanted to, they do build on each other, and you will bet a much better experience if you read them in order. I’m going to give a brief overview of each book up here, and then after the break, I’m going to go more in depth. There will, inevitably, be spoilers, but I’ll make sure that no one goes past where they are willing to go.
Memories of Surrender
So, in Memories, we meet James, Lydia, and Raym. Raym is Midrosian, the head of a pharma company, and a friend to James. James is a scientist, on Midros to help figure out why Oblivita, a medicine that is used to obliterate bad memories, doesn’t work on people unless they are on Midros. Lydia, is a slave. She has taught herself to read the illegal language. I mean, it’s so illegal for her to even know how to read this language, she can be (and is) punished for simply holding a book written in it. In fact, that’s where we open up.
Lydia is just going about her house, doing her duties, which includes cleaning where there are books. She grabs one about ocean creatures, and gets caught by her master looking at it. He told her that he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but she was still going to have to submit her name to Punishment Day, where she is whipped with a whip that leaves marks that look like burn marks.
James and Raym are talking about their research while Punishment Day is going on. James is a Dom, and is turned on by the idea of having a woman collared and punished, but the whole non-consent part bothers him.
A matter of days after her punishment, it’s time of Lydia’s service companion week. She’s dreading it, because with the marks of her severe punishment, there are going to people who want to rent her because of the marks. And in fact, when James come in, under Raym’s urging, there is a man who is bound and determined to really hurt her. Then James decides to rent her.
So, here he is with his lovely rental slave, and he doesn’t know what to with her. Well, I mean he knows what to do, I mean, he’s a boy, she’s a girl, he’s a Dom, she’s a sub, but this isn’t a situation that he ever would have thought to have found himself in. So, he takes her to the Archives and works on his research. Along the way, James, with Lydia’s help, finds out a huge secret which could blow Midros apart.
Longings of a Slave
This story is about Enna, a run away slave, and her search for her daughter, Miria, and the man who helps her, Matias Acoff. (Who happens to be Lydia’s brother, see why I strongly recommend you read them in order?)
Enna’s master, who never really liked her all that much, and only won her in a card game, has had Miria taken away from her mother before she even turned 5. He knew it would be hard when she turned five, so thus, the sneak attack. Enna did everything she could to fight, and eventually tricks the other slave, and she runs.
After some time, Matias is out with his group, doing what they came to Midros to do. Enna is the only slave he hasn’t been able to find as of yet. But, it’s time for him to take a week’s break.
While he is out morning, he sees a woman come to the back of a medical clinic to speak to another slave. When the woman leaves, and the slave’s master comes, she gets dragged away by the authorities. Matias comes back when the slave told the woman to come back, and saves Enna from being taken by those same authorities.
She eventually gets away from him, but that’s OK, he put a tracker in her shoe, and he follows her to where a bunch of escaped slaves were hiding, which works out just about as well as you might think it would.
Matias is attracted to Enna, and wants to help her, and her fellow run away slaves. He figures out a way to get Miria back. However, nothing ever goes smoothly, and so of course, things happen. Some very not good things.
The Midrosian Chronicles is a good series to read. Sophie writes some really strong female characters, which I really like. A lot of people think that submissive=weak, but it doesn’t, and it shows. Her women go on a journey to figure out who they are in regards to themselves and to what they want. Yes, I recommend them.
Spoilers go on from here, so you have been warned.
So, back to Memories.
James finds out that Lydia can read, which is good, because he needs the help translating, and Raym isn’t always available to help. While they are in the archives, Lydia goes exploring and finds a women’s libary. It’s full of books that are written by women and have been hidden. One book she finds is a diary that talks about the eroding rights that women on Midros are dealing with. Another entry talks about where are all the women are coming from. Which is a darn good question. A lot of masters and slaves decide to not have girls because, well, you can guess why. But, there are always more than enough girls to go around, so they have to come from somewhere.
Meanwhile, Lydia and James are falling in love. Except, Lydia’s master comes to take her back early. She’s due to be punished. He has her re-imprinted. It’s supposed to turn her mind to him so that she can again be happy in his service and can think of no one else. It didn’t work as well as it could’ve, and she ends up imprinted on James.
Through more research, they find out where all the extra girls are coming from. Midrosian squads go to war-torn planets and still little girls, use the medicine on them, and then trains them to be slaves. Turns out that Lydia was one of those girls.
That leads into Longings. That’s why Matias was on Midros. He and his military are testing all the women on Midros. If they aren’t from Midros originally, then they can go back to their planet of origin. If they are Midrosian, they have to stay where they are, and still be slaves. Although, Matias does manage to bend that law every now and again.
When he is at the slave camp with Enna, he talks to her about letting the women know about this, because none of them know. She points out a very valid arguement, IMO. Even if a woman is from another planet, if her daughter was born on Midros, then she’s Midrosian and has to stay there, same with sons, of course, but what woman is going to want to leave her young daughter to a fate she knows only too well? So Enna smashes the scanner.
Matias, wanting to make sure that the enclave is as safe as possible, talks to James and Lydia, and their friend Raym, and gets all kinds of help for the escaped slaves so that they can hide safely. What he doesn’t know, is that there is someone working against him, one of his own men. Enna’s sadistic and evil master has a big bounty out on her, and the guy decides to cash in on it and hand over Enna.
There is a truly horrifying scene of punishment for Enna and some of the other women. Castration with a rusty spoon is too good for her master, as well as some of the others. I’m pretty sure that I could come up with something very, very evil for them, but Sophie beat me to it.
Anyway, do read these books. Make sure to check out the new one, Tears of Surrender, on the 12th. Trust me, you’ll be glad. Also, check out other books by Sophie Kisker. There aren’t a whole lot, yet, but they are all worth reading. So far, she hasn’t written a book I don’t like. One of Sophie’s other books, Fear and Desire, is on my Top 10 darkest most fucked up book list. I came up with a new term when talking to Sophie about that, informed non-consent, which fits that really well. Her heroines do tend to go through a whole lot of terrible stuff, but they come out the other side and are able to find themselves and find love.