I really struggled with how to rate and review SACRIFICE. I love fantasy romance and I am pretty willing to step out and try new worlds but I have to reluctantly admit that Pearce traumatized me with this one. I didn't go into this story with any particular expectations; however there was no way to be truly prepared for what I experienced in this very quick read. After I finished this one I went back and read some other reviews and no one else seemed to have be as negatively affected as I was. That leads me to believe that I am simply not tough enough to have enjoyed this one.
I found the 'training' traumatizing. It was in no way erotically titillating or arousing for me. When it is revealed what the trainees are being prepared for and their actual presentation-it was just too much for me. Even a little Jack & Coke and a session of Netflix didn't stave off the nightmare of a writhing mass of aliens. I've freely admitted that I'm a chicken and finishing this story right at bedtime wreaked havoc with my delicate sensibilities!
I have decided on a three out of five start rating. The story is not in any way poorly written. It's descriptive and Pearce did give a story that impacted me as a reader. It was just traumatic instead of pleasurable. I really didn't get a sense of real love from the characters. It just felt like the characters were doing whatever necessary to survive and cope with the horror of their reality. All this meant was that trainers that survived the degradation and abuse now have to put new trainees through their same hellish existence.
I have review copies for books two and three so I am hoping that the series will be less traumatic as I work my way through them! Surprisingly enough I would like to read more from Pearce, she has a good sized backlist. I think that I simply picked the wrong series to start with. They are all erotic but do not seem to all be this dark.
**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.**
Awaiting execution on a foreign planet, Anna Lee has nothing left to lose—until Commander Rehz Akran offers her a chance to escape her fate. Anything is better than death, but when her training for Akran’s mysterious mission begins, the brutality is hard to take . . . especially since Anna has no idea what the workouts, beatings, and endless sexual demands are preparing her for.
Rehz Akran doesn’t deal with failure. He’s determined that his last trainee will survive her immersion in an unimaginably alien world and return alive—even if it means she’ll hate him forever. He needs to stay detached, but his new recruit makes that impossible. Soon he’s willing to defy his own training for a chance to forge a true connection with Anna.
It’s Rehz’s job to teach Anna to survive as a Tribute. And if she does, it’s his task to help her overcome the trauma of the experience. But this time he isn’t doing it to save his planet. This time he’s doing it for love.
Reader discretion advised. This title contains the following sensitive themes: Dubious Consent, Non-Consent, Explicit Violence, Heavy Kink