Friday, November 9, 2007

Savage by Lila Dubois

Book 2 of the Zinah
by Lila Dubois

Savage, the second story in the Zinah series, is the story of Anleeh, the ex-Zinah called "Lord Justice." Anleeh is tasked by the King and Queen to facilitate agreements between the people of his homeland, the Den, and the new monarchy. His companion for this venture, Siara, is the Headmistress of the Temple College who longs for adventure. But adventure is not the only reason Siara is eager for the journey - the chance to explore her great attraction and long-denied feelings for the former Zinah is an opportunity she can't pass up.

The Den are brutal and raw in their passions. The mixture of submission and wildness is highly prized (and expected) in the women and at first Anleeh is reluctant to subject a female, any female, let alone a sheltered, plain pigeon like Siara to such conditions. He also harbors a secret fear that returning to his homeland will trigger his "beast", the one that made him the pride of the Den but which he has learned to control during his years of service as a Zinah.

As they journey through the lands and Anleeh begins Siara's training in the ways of Den culture and sexuality, he soon learns that Siara, though not of the Den, has her own "beast" and it is a powerful match for his. But can she accept and love him once she sees the reality of his beast in all its brutal glory in action?

I loved Savage even more than Forbidden (book 1) – which was a major emotional rollercoaster that I think we (as readers) and the characters had to experience before we could get to this point and move on in the series. I was completely absorbed in Savage by page 10 and couldn’t tear myself away from it long enough to even put the laundry in the dryer. I HAD to know what happened next!

Both Anleeh and Siara are well-rounded and realistic characters (for a paranormal-type book). They both have their own insecurities and flaws - they are not perfect cookie-cutter characters but rather a mixture of vulnerability and strength. Anleeh is alpha and a dominant male although not in a “me say, you do” sort of way – not even during the ‘training’ sessions but he is vulnerable to his need for control of his beast and his desire for acceptance of that same beast. Siara is highly intelligent, which often causes her to examine the world around her in a methodical, analytical way, but she also a woman who longs to explore her passions but only with the warrior she secretly fell in love with at first site so many years ago. The fact that she is not the average ‘perfect-body hottie heroine’ makes her even more interesting to me – although Anleeh (and the other warriors of the Den) think she’s pretty damn sexy!

The story was well-paced and moves forward in both the action and the emotion at a steady pace to the climax of the storyline. Most of the story takes place on the journey and revolves around the budding emotions of the two and Anleeh preparing Siara for Den life. In that part, I actually felt most connected to Anleeh but the most emotional scenes (IMO) come once they reach the land of the Den and then I felt more connected to Siara because of her experiences and emotions related to the cultural differences, specifically the violence and public expression of sexuality and because of her new awareness of self and power that she gained from being ‘trained’ on the trip there.

Overall, I rate Savage as a KEEPER. Not only is it highly erotic, it’s emotionally engrossing and actually rather intellectually stimulating – I see the author’s anthropological background shining through Siara in some parts of the story.

Learn more about the author, Lila Dubois.

Buy Savage, now available from Liquid Silver Books.

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