I’d previously read Wrath James White's collaboration with Edward Lee, Teratologist, and was horrified by the depravity their two minds concocted. That book left me slightly traumatized and unable to scrub the images from my brain. So, of course, when I saw that Wrath’s newest title was classified as “dark erotica” I had to read it.
400 Days of Oppression is very much dark erotica but it never went too far. I was prepared for something truly soul destroying and disgusting but there was nothing here that I couldn’t handle. In fact there were really only two scenes that take place on/after “the farm” that were gruesome to me (one hilarious, the other just horrific but well deserved). In all honesty, I was a little disappointed by the lack of gore and body fluids but there’s probably something wrong with me. This book isn’t being marketing as “erotic horror” for a reason.
With all that said, I’ll try to tell you a little bit about the story without giving it all away. Kenyatta is a black man who, as a young teen, fell in love with a white girl and had his heart stomped on. Kenyatta did not take this well. This vignette was so innocent and sweet and heart-wrenching that when the story flashes forward to a grown up Kenyatta it was a bit jarring. He has never forgotten that experience and when he grew up, he discovered a love and talent for the BDSM scene. He meets Natasha. Natasha is pretty, white and very insecure. She is longing for love and will do whatever it takes to win the eternal love and devotion of Kenyatta.
Kenyatta uses a book based on slavery called “400 Days of Oppression” as a guide to torment and preach at Natasha. If she can endure everything the blacks endured during their enslavement he will marry her. All the girls before her have failed but Natasha is quite damaged when they meet and knows how to endure. The story is fueled by sex and pain and I have to admit that it left me feeling very sad. Sad for humanity and the pain people inflict on each other, sad for Kenyatta who felt the need to do this, and sad for Natasha for needing a man so badly that she allowed it all to happen.
This is a difficult book to rate. It is a very grueling read with little to no relief from all of the suffering. I enjoyed the implied ending but I wish it hadn’t been quite so abrupt. I like dark stories, I like erotica, and I usually enjoy extreme love stories but this one? I don’t know, it didn’t entirely work for me on any of those levels. It has a load of darker edged sex including whippings, dub-con, f/f, attempted rape and all that stuff and though most of it was erotic and well written, it left me feeling drained and upset at both Natasha and Kenyatta.
*The FTC makes me say that I received this copy from Publsher. Naturally I reviewed it like I would any other book with honesty, sarcasm (if the mood strikes) and all personal biases firmly intact.