3.5 stars. Review to come.
Blood Red (BR) is a fantasy and shape-shifter story that I’ve mentally divided into three parts: 1) The Coliseum, 2) The Beastmen Village and 3) The Capture. Aidan is a whoreslave and closeted sorcerer who uses his magic to heal wounds obtained from his “occupation,” a survival instinct required when sorcerers are persecuted out of fear. Aedan eventually meets a beastman (another term for shapeshifter) who is held captive as a gladiator - his name is Demitrios.
The first and third parts of the story were the most interesting. In the beginning, we see a lot of rape, though not very graphic in detail. If anything, everything is described in a distant and apathetic sort of way, which makes sense since the story is told from Aedan’s POV, and he’s been doing this most of his life. Aedan is an interesting person to understand from many perspectives: as a sorcerer, as a whoreslave, and as a “lover.” When the concept of freedom was laid at his feet, we see the gears turning in his head. While he may have ulterior motives for his actions, we at least understand WHY he has them. When he does make mistakes, he’s not afraid to own up to them. For that reason, I can tolerate his cringe-worthy moments.
During the second part of the story, the plot becomes very static. There’s a lot of sex, a lot of explanation, and a lot of self-exploring. It was kind of boring, but had some entertaining moments. But the story finally picks up during the third part.
So overall: lots of sex, quite a bit of magic, add some shape-shifters, a village with a lot of nakedness, and an average plot (nothing ground-breaking). It’s definitely worth a shot!