And here's my updated review after re-reading:
- How kinky?
Extremely. This is a book heavy in many different kinds of kink - You've got your BDSM, your pet/animal play, dubious consent, edge play, sexual torture, slavery, orgies, furniture play, and a heavy emphasis on mind control through animal training and voice control. And when I use the word play ... that's only because that's what we call it. In this book's "fiction universe", it's definitely not play. It's real, it's serious, and it's intense.
- How sexy?
Very. As I've said before, the sexiness of a scene is pretty subjective, so if I were to say "It doesn't turn me on", that wouldn't be fair to you since we don't necessarily kink the same way. But if I were to measure sexiness by the level of immersion in the piece, the amount of detail given, and the flow of the prose, then yes, this is an extremely sexy book. All of these recieve a high score from me!
- How inspiring?
Very. There are many scenes in here that have, and will continue to, inspire my own scenes and fantasies. The detail is such that you can really flesh out the scenes in real life if you want. The costumes, the toys, the dialogue - awesome. Loved it.
- How engaging?
Very. Not just because of the explicit scenes. You really get to know the characters, and you want to know what happens next. I found myself wishing there was even more detail - it's a fascinating universe and if I were advisor to Ms Jacob, I'd suggest a series!
- How well executed?
Wonderfully written. As mentioned, the detail and flow are fantastic, meaning you can really get into it. It's a fantasy genre novel, but my "suspension of disbelief" was fairly strong the whole time. The universe is well rounded, the characters developed, and the backstories well thought out. Brilliant.
- Overall reaction
My only issue with this book was fairly personal; one of the themes of the novel was the philosophy of submission. Is sexual torture still okay if the subject has had their ability to consent curtailed? Is sexual arousal really an indicator of consent? Does arousal justify torture? Is it even really torture at all if a trained animal player is physically aroused and unable to communicate otherwise? It's all very thought-provoking. It is important to remember that this is all just fiction. In a fiction universe, SSC doesn't have to apply - as long as we always remember that in real life, it's essential.