Cover art for Punishing of Jendri. Looks all right at this size, but it does not scale well. Image source: Punishing of Jendri ebook.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Punishing of Jendri by Susanna Valent, because it's just filled with lesbian slavegirl dominance and submission goodness. The book opens with General Jendrickar Verrian, brilliant young head of the Obdurian armies, leading the fight against the Asperian armies. Democratic Obduria has decided that it's time to teach autocratic Asperia the importance of being democratic and peaceful.
The battle is decisive, a disaster for the Obdurians, and General Verrian is captured on the field of battle. She's brought before K'endarra, Queen of Asperia, naked in chains, and learns that her fate is to remain naked and in chains, the personal slave of Kendarra, and by personal we mean she'll spend much of her time naked with her tongue in Kendarra's pussy.
It will take a lot of torture to break Jendri, but the Queen is down with that, she's willing to punish Jendri as much as it takes, and also to punish Jendri's captured subordinates, and well, anyone else. Fortunately, the punishment consists of whipping and paddling, mostly, no heavy BDSM here. Another reason I liked this book. But it's worth noting that it's not pain that finally breaks Jendri and makes her Kendarra's slave, but pleasure ... ANOTHER reason I liked this book.
The Punishing of Jendri definitely falls on the porny end of the erotic romance spectrum. The characters are strong and well developed, but not subtle. And the sex scenes, which mostly consist of cunnilingus, are explicit and lengthy, and there are a LOT of them.
There is also a lot of tasty slavegirl dominance and submission in the story. Jendri is renamed Riki the slut, and is forced to go naked at all times, including when the queen is holding an audience. Riki the slut is also forced to lick Kendarra's pussy in public while naked, which is a damn good idea. What's worse, she's physically attracted to the queen, and her body often “betrays” her as she gives her queen the lip and tongue service she requires.
Jendri also has to clean and serve as a personal maid to the queen, who has other slaves of course, but being a defeated enemy and all, Jendri gets the brunt of the dominance.
Despite the physical attraction, there's no love between Kendarra and Jendri. Jendri spends all of her time scheming to escape from the queen and lead a rebellion. She does as the queen orders but only out of fear of punishment, a well-founded fear, as the queen punishes her for the least little thing. The story element of the book lies in how Kenderra and Jendri's relationship changes, for the better overall. I won't give away plot points on that but I will say that the change in the relationship is handled well. It's not a John Normanish, “I will never be a slave ... oh, I LOVE being a slave” sort of thing at all. There's a good reason why the relationship changes, and the changes are shown as occurring incrementally, over time.
That said, I wish the book had dwelt more on the breaking of Jendri. She was a freaking GENERAL, I should think it would have humiliated her a lot more to become a naked slavegirl, or at least, it should have been shown more. It would have been a valid excuse for lots of sex and D&S scenes, and would have made Jendri's character more believable.
Still, I enjoyed the book. The fantasy milieu appealed to me. The story is set in a basically medieval Amazon world ... there are men in it, but they are definitely bit players, women hold most of the power and the men are not mentioned much at all.
I liked the porny sex scenes for the strong slavegirl dominance/submission aspects, I just wish it hadn't been mostly cunnilingus. I like cunnilingus, and it works very well for dominance/submission stories, but lesbians do other things than cunnilingus I understand, and some of them can be very, very bondage-y, and also work very well for dominance and submission. Just a thought!
The book was also way short on bondage for my tastes. No gag scenes, and Jendri is tied to tables and posts and so forth when she's whipped and paddled, but that's about it. There is a nice scene when she is forced to spend a day going about her slavey business in the palace with a whip handle jammed up her pussy, but that's more humiliation than bondage.
That said, I'm very comfortable with having spent money on The Punishing of Jendri. I wish it were longer, but it appears to be one of those cases of dividing a long book into four shorter books and selling them for $3.99 each, rather than trying to sell one book for $11.96, much like the Slave Harems of Xhagia series. I don't really mind this actually … it gives me a chance to get a really good feel for the book for a relatively small price, though I think the individual elements should be less expensive. Twelve bucks is a lot for a book that costs $0 to print.
I am thinking hard about buying the next book in the series, just to see how the relationship between Jendri and Queen Kendarra develops, like do they ever move beyond cunnilingus, but I've got a lot of books on my “to read” list right now so probably won't be doing so right away. I'd say if you like slavegirl dominance and submission with lots and lots and lots of cunnilingus, especially in a medieval lesbian fantasy world, get your damn money out now, this book is for you! Even those who, like me, mostly enjoy the slavegirl sex with dominance and submission scenes, will enjoy the book.
It is good to be the queen! The queen's slavegirl ... not so much. And note that that's not cunnilingus those two are doing. Image source: WhippedAss.com.