In 10th century France, 18-year old Cherine Cadet only knows one thing: that the life of a peasant isn’t a life at all. Tired of working in utter poverty for an unfeeling Lord, with only her indifferent family and love-struck best friend as company, Cherine dreams of the day she can run away from the future set-up for her, even if she knows there’s no real escape from her destiny.
Then, in one brutal instance, everything changes. A Viking fleet led by the powerful nobleman and warrior, Rolf the Walker and his right-hand man, Erik the Axe, arrive on the shores of the Lord’s estate. In minutes, the entire land is up in flames, Cherine’s family and fellow serfs are killed, and Cherine comes dangerously close to death herself. She is saved only by the fierce Erik – but a new lease on life comes with a cost.
Cherine becomes a slave to the Vikings, a fate she thinks is no better than the one she had before. But as she finds herself being shared between the two men, the savage and darkly handsome Rolf and the mysterious and sensual Erik, Cherine discovers that she too has a fiery warrior heart and that the flames that consumed her old life might burn them all to the ground.
***Rated 18+ for graphic sexual content***
At A Glance
I never read a book about vikings before so I was super excited. It ended up being good but it wasn’t quite what I expected.
I have to admit, vikings are pretty hot. They are capable of so much violence but a few of them in this book were also caring. Mackenzie brings together the gruesome reality of war and battle with the tender and sensual side of fierce men and courageous women.
Cherine’s family has been slaughtered and she has been taken for the pleasure of the concurring men who decimated her village. But the reality is so much more complicated. For she is in the hands of Eirk, a fierce warrior but caring lover and protector. Erik has been assigned to “break in” Cherine for Rolf, the leader of the clan. But Erik’s feelings for Cherine grow every day, and he can’t stand the idea of handing her over to someone like Rolf, someone so rough and animalistic. Cherine is terrified but defiant. But the more Erik shows his gentle side, the more she cares for him. When Rolf comes into the picture, her sanctuary with Eirc crumbles. Cherine is ashamed to admit it, but she is erotically attracted to Rolf’s roughness, his aggression. But as time goes on, all she can think about is running away with Erik and leaving the violence Rolf seems so fond of behind.
Cherine was a fascinating character. She had passion, courage, and more depth than I expected. She is open to her sexual desires but feels bad for caring for the men who slaughtered her people. It was a complicated situation, so I understood her confusion. This was her opportunity to become more than a peasant in a small village. With the vikings, she had the chance to gain a title. But at what price? We soon learn the price might just be too high.
I loved Erik right away. He was once a no-mercy killer, but his days in battle have worn him down. After meeting Cherine, all he wants to do is love her, to raise a family, to spend his last days near his loved ones. The war inside him is constant, because he knows Cherine can never love the man who killed her family. He knows he doesn’t deserve her forgiveness. It was all so heartbreaking. I could feel his pain as he watched Cherine with Rolf.
Rolf surprised me. I wasn’t sure were MacKenzie was going to take him. I can tell you this, I never expected her to make Rolf the character she did. I ended up hating him more than any character in all the books I have read.
I like that MacKenzie kept us on our toes. There was quite a few surprises through Savagery, which kept me glued to the pages. MacKenize held nothing back as she wrote scene after scene of death, debauchery, and degradation. This book was so much more violent and dark than I thought it was going to be. The deceptions are vivid and the emotions behind each word can tear you apart. The plot was also well done; I was enraptured the whole time. Surprisingly, this erotica doesn’t have that much sex in it, the story was the focal point.
I think the biggest let down is that Savagery‘s book blurb offered one thing but the reality was quite different. I decided to review this book on a whim. I thought vikings and erotica: hot combo, right? Ever since erotica became a little more mainstream, I have been trying to broaden my horizons. This book sounded like something I have never read before, and I was right. But I thought this book was going to be about fierce men, hot cravings, and the woman who satisfies both. It was so much darker and depressing. The relationship between these three characters was very messed up. I was often sickened by what was happening. When I read erotica, I want tingles not nausea.
And the kicker for why Savagery only got three stars, was the ending. This is somewhat of a spoiler but the ending was very sad and depressing. Not a good thing for a romance or erotica. I was so depressed the whole day after finishing this book. I DO NOT like sad endings. I will ALWAYS remove stars for books with sad endings, unless they are a part of a series and I know it will be better next time.
Also, though the setting is historic, the language is modern. It made it very easy to read but felt less authentic.
Some of the sex was sizzling hot. MacKenzie didn’t hold much back. I especially liked when Erik and Cherine got together. They had a very special connection and it shined through during the sex. But Rolf and Cherine was a whole other story. That was more about degradation and aggression. I didn’t like their sex scenes.
I left this book heartbroken. I loved a lot about Savagery: the plot, most of the characters, and the detail, but the ending was too depressing for me. I just wish it ended differently. Recommended to those who can stand a sad ending.
He had been a killer, a plunderer. And now he was her lover. He did all of this and yet saved her at the same time. He had taken everything she ever had and in the end he loved her.
Though she tries hard to hide it, Emma MacKenzie got her start in writing by penning cheesy romantic comedy screenplays. Despite having seven published novels under her garter belt, this is her first foray into erotic romance. Considering how big of a pervert she is, it probably won’t be her last.