Thursday, August 12, 2010

Owned And Owner by Anneke Jacob

 

Owned And Owner is a fantasy story of total slavery, and is a journey from human mindset to animal.

It's almost a hetero version of What Worse Place Can I Beg In Your Love?, without the twist at the end. However, Owned and Owner actually goes a good bit farther with the whole Pet thing. Still, the key points are there - caged when your owner doesn't have time for you, no understanding of the language being spoken around you, used as a sexual object, never treated as a person. One of the biggest points in both books is that, because it's a different planet and different life form, the "pet" is not just treated as an animal, but is actually seen as an animal... a lesser life form.

Enough of the comparisons. It sounds wrong to say I enjoyed Owned And Owner, but I did. Sure, there were parts that didn't work for me, but not that many, actually. It wasn't as hard for me to deal with as the other book I've read by Anneke Jacob, As She's Told. The main reason for that is that Owned And Owner is pure fantasy, it takes place on another planet.

Owned And Owner is not romance. Not one single bit of romance. That's okay, not every man who buys a woman as a pet has to fall romantically in love with said woman. There is an attachment there, something you could define as love... maybe. But more like the way I love my dog, nothing like the way I love my husband. If you need romantic attachment in order for the BDSM to work for you then beware that there is none.  As the title says, it's a straight up Owned and Owner relationship.

I appreciated that we saw some of the other slaves on Henth, saw that each Owner had a completely different way they treated their slaves, completely different set of rules.

Before I get much farther, here's the blurb:

BDSM Fantasy Erotica. A story of unconditional slavery, told from inside a woman's bound and naked skin.

Far in the future exists a world of men, a planet where the only women are rare and exotic pets. These few women, convicted of crimes, have chosen their punishment: slavery on Henth. The few men who buy them know what they are getting: eager submissives, willing to accept the status of animals in order to be owned by men. Etrin is a young woman who makes this choice; Garid is the man who buys her. Their story is one of dominance and submission taken as far as the imagination can go.

Long prior to the time of the book, Henth's colonizers split along gender lines, and the women removed themselves to a separate planet. The two societies have almost lost sight and memory of each other, except for the rare occasions when a woman chooses slavery on Henth over the alternative punishment on her home planet. Driven by a deep need for submission, Etrin pushes her misbehaviour year after year, knowing that she ll eventually be sent to Henth.

When finally convicted and sentenced for her crimes, the bound Etrin is overwhelmed by her first contact with the men on the planet Henth. Soon transferred to the care of animal handlers, she is caged for transport along with the other exotic pets, and prepared for the auction that will determine her new owner. Once Garid purchases his new pet, Etrin goes through stages of acceptance and the relinquishment of self as she faces the strict demands required of her. Meanwhile, Garid, driven and possessive, establishes a sense of ownership strong enough that he is finally able to share her. Readers learn of Etrin's struggles in the form of first-person introspection, and Garid's as he talks with his friend Therin, another dominant.

This beautifully crafted novel delves deeply into the psychology and emotions associated with dominance and submission. Graphic sexual content.

The thing that sets Garid apart from the other "owners" is that he isn't happy with mere physical submission, he wants his slave's emotional and mental submission. He wants her to lose language, to just be an animal who responds to a few simple one-word commands.

The slave/pet had a choice of punishments for her crimes, she is the one who chose slavery on Henth. In fact, she kept getting in trouble until that became one of her options. When she learned of the option she became obsessed with the idea. Once she's on Henth though, there is no choice anymore, no turning back.

There are many similarities between Owned And Owner and As She's Told: pony play, around the clock 24/7 bondage, and most importantly, extreme orgasm denial while being almost constantly aroused. As I said in my review of As She's Told, my body would have found another way, so after a certain point the chastity belt thing didn't work for me. It worked a little better for me here, where there was still severe punishment for orgasms... but my brain wanted to argue with the book as I read that there were dildos in both holes as well as attention paid to breasts, but because the clitoris got no attention then an orgasm was impossible.

One sort of humorous part of the book -- Henth is a planet of men, with no women other than the few slaves sold there as pets (they use artificial wombs, not sure how it works, but supposedly it does). Anyway, homosexuality is the norm on Henth, so when the Owners have to admit to their families that they are *gasp* heterosexual, explain it's just the way they are wired, something they can't help, and there are worries about their jobs and such, it's kind of funny. 

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline:Taken as far as it can be taken. 3 of 3
  • Dominance and Submission: Probably taken farther than it should be taken, but it's fantasy and it worked for me. 3 of 3
  • Sadism and Masochism: Again, taken pretty far, though with some of the more extreme stuff we're just told what happens and not given a blow by blow description. Still, it gets a 3 of 3
  • Extra Point: Yes, the BDSM is an intrinsic part of the story.
As for the writing elements, the plot was obviously crafted around where the author wanted to take the fantasy, but it worked well so that's okay. The pacing had issues from about 70% of the way through all the way to the end. Prose and dialogue were good, and character development worked well within the story. It's not often I talk about world-building in a BDSM book review, but there was world-building here and it was also well done.

I'm wavering back and forth between a 9 of 10 and a 10 of 10. The pacing issues were a problem for me, as was the believability with the orgasm denial where a woman can be stimulated for hours every day and yet go more than six or eight months without being allowed a single orgasm. But more than that... Owned and Owner is really just the fantasy version of As She's Told.  But, this isn't a series, so shouldn't I rate each book separately? Both books are an exploration of the psychology behind what it takes for a person to lose their autonomy, to become an object not just physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. And they both do a very good job of exploring this issue. They are both good books, both exploring the same subject matter from a slightly different angle.

And I had more conflict in my head with some of the events of As She's Told, where there were opportunities to stop things once they got started. But with Owned and Owner, once the decision is made to be sold on Henth, there is no going back, no way to change her mind about being a slave. It was fantasy, and thus it was easier for me to enjoy some of the subjugation when framed in the "fantasy" bubble.

So, yeah, I guess it gets a 10 of 10. It is a very well written book, after all.

Book Rating: Owned and Owner: 10 of 10
Heat Level:  5 of 5
Intensity Level:  10 of 10

You should only read Owned And Owner if you enjoy serious BDSM that includes all aspects (B&D, D/s, S&M), including heavy pain and way more control over someone than most people can come up with in their wildest imagination. If it made sense to give a higher heat level and intensity level, just to get across how intense, and how hot, things get, then I would. But the math geek in me just can't give a 7 of 5 or a 12 of 10.

I enjoyed Owned and Owner. As always, your mileage may vary.
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