Sentries 1: Marked Yours

Title: Sentries 1: Marked Yours
Author: Elizabeth Noble
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy Link Marked Yours (Sentries)
Genre: Paranormal, BDSM, Fantasy
Length: Novel (220 pages)
Rating: 4 stars out of 5

A Guest Review by Larissa

Review Summary: A thrilling supernatural story with an alternate take on slavery and two strong characters.

Blurb

Sentries: Book One

Three hundred years ago, natural disaster reformed the face of North America, and the people who lived in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains would never be the same.

Now, the master/slave bond in New Colorado has become a sacred rite of service, protection, and, sometimes, for the lucky, love. Nick and his intended Master, Todd Ruger, a sentry of the territories, have grown up knowing that they were pledged to this bond. They’re looking forward to the ritual with both excitement and trepidation—it’s something they’ve prepared for their entire lives. But New Colorado’s institution of slavery has made dangerous enemies on a frontier fraught with trouble, and they are unprepared for the trials their new relationship will face. Their bond needs to grow very strong, very fast if it’s going to survive the collision of old superstition, new beliefs, and the ever-present danger of the natural and supernatural frontier.

Review

The first book in the Sentries series introduces us to a futuristic, alternated earth. The eruption of a super volcano in Wyoming reshaped the face of North America and the rest of the earth at large. Not only changing the earth itself, but society as well. Slavery was reinstituted, but different. A woman of child bearing age could volunteer a child to later be bound as slave.

Nick is such a child. One with special abilities as well. As a child he is bound to the sentry Todd Ruger. Sentries or hunters are those who live on the edge of society guarding the world against the creepy crawlies who came along with the new world.

The story starts when Nick has completed his training and is about to be bound to his new Master. He’s never met Todd before though they did write. Marked Yours is a character driven story. It focuses on both Nick and Todd and their growing relationship/friendship and their new roles. There is a subplot, but again that mostly supports the characters rather than the story itself. Not that this is a bad thing, because Todd and Nick have their own story to tell.

Going into this story I expected the ‘standard’ master/slave relationship with choices taken away and humiliation and degradation, despite the supernatural element of the story. Nothing could be further from the truth. Slavery has become a thing of the New Colorado society. As the reader comes to understand, not all new countries and states etc. reinstituted society or condone it.

Todd might be a master, but he loathes slavery and it’s both interesting and funny to see how he and Nick work with their boundaries as owner and slave.

Todd is all the rough, tough, headstrong hunter on the outside, but he has a tender and caring side that especially comes out in everything concerning Nick. The master/slave bond was not his initial choice, but that of his mentor Jimmy Cantor. His reticence in treating Nick as society deems a slave should be treated shows every time they are out in public.

Nevertheless, they develop a dominant/submissive relationship in bed, a sweet one at that. Todd and Nick have a BDSM-light thing going on in bed that makes this story very hot. Funnily enough, despite Todd not liking slavery and Nick not knowing any different, they very much act the part in bed and it suits their characters.

Nick is a very strong character. He’s survived his childhood as a slave in training and without any care and loving. Despite that, he has his weaknesses. He comes to care deeply for Todd and fears any form of abandonment. He’s his own man, despite being a slave, but reading the story I had my moments wondering how Nick would fare on his own or with a harsher master. At the same time Nick is smart and flourishes under Todd and Jimmy’s care.

While I loved this story on a personal level, the story would have benefited from a stronger world-building. The reader is given a prologue as to what happened to the world and the reinstitution of slavery and there are (historic) hints throughout the story, but only weak ones. Because of the lack of information on slavery, especially the why of it, and how the world at large now works, it gives the reader the idea that slavery was there just for the setting of Todd and Nick’s story. It would have been better if there was more background info.

There is a subplot later in the story when Todd and Nick are captured in a state that has outlawed slavery and shoots owners on the spot, no questions asked. While the subplot is an adventure in itself and serves to strengthen the relationship between Todd and Nick, it was also an overly big hint that not all slavery is bad and to almost justify the characters’ relationship.

Overall the first installment of the Sentries series is a good, strong one. It builds on the relationship between Todd and Nick while giving hints of further adventures.

Reggie
Reggie
3 years 10 months ago
Mmmmm… I read this story, back when it came out. I remember it, the plot and the characters. I can’t remember how I rated it, but I do remember the book. Which is remarkable. This book is not for everyone. It is ScyFy/Fantasy and there is some almost dub/con, but is obviously has slave fic overtones. I found her theme intriguing and I was impressed that the author brought in the contrarian views into the plot itself. This is probably why I remember this book fondly. I also ended up liking the MC’s and liked the way the author handled… Read more »
asherlev1
asherlev1
3 years 10 months ago
So I started reading this book because of the glowing review you gave it. And. I can certainly appreciate that the story is well-written, but the premise makes me highly uncomfortable. It just seems so convenient that Todd is able to win Nick over in the blink of an eye because he’s the only one who’s ever shown him any affection. I would have liked to have known more about Nick’s life before Todd took him; and I agree with you, I could also have done with more explanation of why slavery was re-instituted. So while I think the book… Read more »
Lou Sylvre
3 years 10 months ago

Larissa, I’m glad to see this review. I enjoyed Marked Yours, and each of Ms. Noble’s books that I’ve read, all of which are imaginative yet, within the context of the worlds she creates, quite credible. I’m looking forward to the remaining installments in Todd and Nick’s story.

Laverne Brown
Laverne Brown
3 years 10 months ago
I have read Ms. Noble’s books and I have enjoyed them all, including this one. I am amazed at the details of the world she created, and I was really surprised at the loving relationship between the two main male characters. Not your typical master/slave relationship. It’s not weird or brutal, but playful and very loving. I have also noticed that the first poster, Catana, always leaves negative comments of a bitch crit nature wherever she sees a good review of any of those books. I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. Seems like there’s something personal going on… Read more »
Catana
3 years 10 months ago
Are you serious? I don’t know Ms. Noble or anything about her. I’ve only read the one book by her and my review was very specific about what I found wrong. If you choose to see a pattern here, then I might just as well not bother to express my admiration for any of the books I’ve read, which I have done. I assumed that readers are allowed to express their own opinions here. Maybe I was wrong. At least Ms. Noble hasn’t stooped to attacking me for my opinion, as far as I’m aware, and I can respect her… Read more »
elizabeth noble
3 years 10 months ago

Thank you, Larissa for you kind words and taking the time to review my book. Very much appreciated.

Elizabeth Noble

Catana
3 years 10 months ago
This is one of those times when you wonder if you read the same book. It’s one of a very few that I’ve ever given a one star rating along with my GoodReads review. There are so many failures in the development of the plot that I couldn’t even list them all. And others who read it agreed. Weak writing, plot points brought up and abandoned, scenes that didn’t make any sense, very late introduction of what was apparently supposed to be a major theme. It just went on and on like that. I hope, for the sake of anyone… Read more »
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