Reviewed by Katinka C.

five-stars120205

SERIES: House of Silence (Vol. 1 & Vol. 2)
AUTHOR: J. A. Jaken
PUBLISHER: Fantastic Fiction Publishing
BLURB: The House of Silence is an elite male bordello catering to the obscenely rich. No matter how extreme or mundane the fantasy, the House of Silence is rumored to serve. Master Charon employs a group of versatile, beautiful young men–some lewd, some innocent, many with tragic pasts and hidden secrets of their own–who depend on him for safety. This volatile mix erupts when danger threatens.

REVIEW:

Wow! Can we say that The House of Silence books were the surprise of the year for me?

Considering the covers and the setting, a male bordello, I shamefacedly admit that I just assumed these books would be mostly smutty. In reality, the author takes you on a fantastically written journey to an alternate reality of old-worldly grandeur, in which an opulent brothel with secret passageways is home to beautiful young men and their charismatic, but mysterious master, Charon Marque. The latter has an unnerving knack for matching his extremely wealthy clients with the perfect companion for the night and runs the place smoothly. Until one of his rent boys is threatened, the governments of two countries get involved and even the majestic House no longer offers protection…

You will get lured into the story expertly, when Ander Delacroix, a Lord still mourning the death of his wife, casts his eyes upon the House for the first time. Ander is astonished when he receives an invitation to the exclusive bordello. Although he is not the man to indulge himself in senseless pleasures, the invitation haunts him. And when finally he hesitantly enters the House, with sweaty hands and a pounding heart, you, too, will get sucked into the seductive world inside the House and the lives of its occupants.

“So tell me, Lord Delacroix.” Marque sat down in the chair across from him and leaned back comfortably, taking a sip from his own drink. “What is it The House of Silence can do for you this evening”? Ander swirled the drink in his hand absently, listening to the way the ice clinked against the sides of the glass. “I…” The heat that rose in his face at the question was profoundly annoying. “I’m not sure.” Marque observed him carefully for a moment, as if taking a measure of him. (…) “Let me explain to you what we do here.” Marque’s gaze was intent. “We are in the business of fulfilling fantasies, of answering the deepest wishes of a man’s soul — even,” he said with a small smile, “those that our guests might not be aware of themselves.”

One of the issues I had with another book by this author, Pathfinder, was that Jaken has a way of creating intriguing characters. That hardly qualifies as a flaw, I know! But when most of those characters are simply meant to stay on the periphery, while you’re dying to get to know them, it can be somewhat frustrating. Therefore, the set up of The House of Silence works beautifully. The story alternates between several rent boys and their clients. Since the number one house rule is to never talk about someone’s past, head-hopping is the perfect way to learn more about the tragedies and ambitions hidden behind the pretty faces of the boys that choose to sell themselves and the men who long for them. Starting with Ander, who introduces us to the vulnerable Danny in a surprisingly tender love scene. Via Danny we meet the other rent boys: Tam (rumor has it he is the estranged son of a filthy rich Lord), spitfire Reiji, who struggles with an unrequited love, and the brooding gypsy Vincent, whose eye-patch is lasting proof of a terrible past he refuses to talk about. And then there’s my personal favorite: the sadistic client Aburon. Who may or may not be who he pretends to be…

The beating continued until Vincent staggered under one of the blows with a broken sob, clinging hard to the bedposts to steady himself as he pitched forward. “That’s enough, I think,” Aburon said thoughtfully. It wasn’t enough, damn it. It never was. (…) When a few moments passed and nothing happened, he raised his gaze reluctantly to see the other man staring down at him with a probing expression. “Why do you need this so much?” Aburon said. Vincent pressed his lips together and looked away. Providing answers to those kinds of questions wasn’t a part of what he was getting paid to do this evening. Aburon smiled slightly. “Keep your secrets, then.” His thumb traced the edge of Vincent’s cheekbone, wiping away the tears that dampened the skin there. “We all have them, don’t we?”

Now I’m someone who believes that too much sex can be a bad thing. It tends to get repetitive and in the way of the actual plot. So it’s only a testament to Jaken’s excellent writing and imagination that, however The House of Silence has sex scenes in abundance, I was never bored! If I would have to point out something that I wish had been different, I’d mention the voices of the characters. They could have been more distinct, their personalities more unique.

Anyway, let’s move on to a few practical details. Book one and two should actually be considered one book. The second book is far more plot-driven: the occupants of the House are dragged into a suspenseful and angsty journey to keep a loved one alive. The first book mostly focuses on creating the sensual, slightly goth atmosphere and introducing the characters via erotic and downright dark ‘n dirty scenes. The plot doesn’t kick-start until the last third of the book and ends on a cliffhanger.

Please note the content warnings: there’s a scene in one of the first chapters that readers who are not familiar with dub/non con might find hard to handle. Without going into too much detail, it involves an inexperienced rent boy and overly enthusiastic, sadistic clients. Despite it being a bit unnerving, this scene serves a purpose: it will remind you of the dangers of the profession these boys are in. Something that will become awfully clear later on… Other than that, you will encounter a scene that includes a bit of sounding (I keep yelling this is a personal ‘hard limit’ for me, but hey, I lived to tell!) and a few deliciously intense BDSM scenes. Uhu!

Gah! It’s downright ridiculous that these fun, suspenseful and erotic House of Silence books aren’t more popular. Y’all are missing out, ha! I’m forever grateful to the Goodreads friends that pressured me into reading these books. Jaken is definitely on my hot-list from now on. And guess what? She’s currently working on the third book in this series. Hell yeah baby!

BUY LINK: Volume 1  ::  Volume 2

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Katinka C. is one of the official reviewers on The Blog of Sid Love.

To read all her reviews, click the link: KATINKA’S REVIEWS
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Comments
  1. elizabetta says:

    Excellent review Katinka! You captured the essence of the books so well! Let’s hope they get a lot more readers – they deserve it!

  2. shelleylovesbooks says:

    Fantastic review Katinka! You’ve sold me..

  3. Heather C says:

    Ooh. I’ve never heard of these but I want to read them!

  4. Katinka says:

    Thanks a bunch guys!:D It puzzles me that Jaken isn’t more popular. She can write! If Elizabetta hadn’t given me that final push…*grateful* Hope you’ll like it as much as I did.

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