This is the text of the book review from episode 006, which you can listen to by clicking:.
The Slave is the second book in The Marketplace series. I reviewed the first book in episode 001, which you can listen to here:.
Since I had previously reviewed a book in the series I was excited to be able to do that ‘Previously, on the Marketplace,’ thing they do in television shows, but there’s not a great deal you need to know from one book to the next. You could start with this one if you wanted to and I think you’d be fine. We do learn a little more about the enigmatic Chris Parker in this one and rather a bit more about how the Marketplace works.
Plot. You gots to have a plot. Well, usually. Unless you’re doing the literary fiction thing.
This time we have Robin—someone who does not have prior service like either of the good slaves in the first Marketplace novel, but is also ready to learn and doesn’t think it’s going to be an easy ride because she’s gorgeous like the two difficult slaves. Because she isn’t gorgeous—she’s just sorta plain. It’s a nice change from what you get in many erotica fantasy novels.
At the start of the novel Chris Parker has opted to use his vacation time to go into Manhattan to do some scouting and, based on a tip from a spotter named Ken Mandarin, picks up Robin and tests her. The biggest auction of the year is coming up and Chris has to decide if he can prepare her (and she has what it takes) for that auction. The title is The Slave so I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say he chooses to take her on and train her.
The book tells the story of Robin’s present life in the Marketplace, whether it’s her training or her placement and her past life—how she got to the point of knowing she was a slave in the first place. It starts when she’s quite young and takes the reader through the ‘fun’ that must have been being a feminist lesbian and also kinky during the … 1980s? I’m never quite sure about time frame in these books.
Either way, our protagonist is at University during the era of kink party lines—when people would pay to call (on a land line) a number where several people could share their fantasies.
She gets into (and out of relationships) with various levels of power exchange and BDSM, but of course, there’s never enough—partners simply don’t take it seriously. Well, there wouldn’t be for someone who was suited for The Marketplace, would there?
She meets Ken Mandarin who puts her in touch with Chris Parker and then she goes up on the block and is placed and she couldn’t have imagined what she’d be in for.
I saw some reviews where people said this wasn’t their favorite book in the series but I really enjoyed it. It showed how prospective slaves were allowed to handle real world (or soft world, as they call it) lives when preparing to enter the Marketplace. We also get to see the alliances and hierarchies between slaves established at houses. It’s an adult version of Upstairs/Downstairs.
Also Robin had a similar position to what I would have enjoyed so maybe I was a little prejudiced. I don’t want to say what sort of slave she was due to spoilers, but Chris Parker—he seems like the sort of person who you’d always say his full name, right?–explains a certain type of slave certain owners want early on in the book and then that’s the type she turns out to be brought on for. I thought I was a Claudia, but it turned out I was a Robin.
We do learn what became of the slaves from the first book, in case you’re curious about them—I know I was, though I was a little disappointed not to see Miss Selador because elegant Dominant women are my thing, but I’ll pull a Gloria Gaynor and survive.
Ms Antoniou is rather dry—the novel has her trademark wit. Robin hails from the East Coast, as does the author. She is relocated to L.A. by her new owners and, after some time there, she’s asked about her adjustment to this by a visiting slave.
‘So tell me what it’s like in California. How the hell do you know when the seasons change?’
‘I haven’t quite figured that out,’ she said out loud. ‘I think it has something to do with the arrival of the Neiman Marcus catalog.’
I’m from the East Coast. I would die, people. Seasons are supposed to change. That’s normal.
I give this a 5 of 5. It was sexy and interesting to see the evolution of the way kinksters met, even if the politics were boring as hell at times.