Henry Blackwell is 16 years old and it is the time that wealthy and privileged young men like himself get their first slave. The companion slave is an important part of a young gentlemen’s life. He is chosen at age 16 as well, and the two young men will grow up together. The companion slave serves as a valet and helps with school work when the men are younger, and as they grow, will become a secretary and help Henry manages his business and run his household.
Of course, what Henry is thinking about the most is that the companion slave also becomes a young man’s first sexual partner. At a time when they are not ready to court young ladies, a boy is encouraged to get out his sexual needs with his slave. Henry is most definitely interested in sex, but he knows his needs are not normal. Henry doesn’t just want to have sex with his slave to release his sexual urges; Henry is attracted to men and wants all kinds of things he knows that a young gentleman must never do, such as touching or pleasing his slave.
When Henry chooses Martin from the slave auction, Martin is everything Henry could ever want. Beautiful, kind, caring, and thoughtful, he is the perfect partner for Henry. But though Martin asks every night if Henry needs anything else from him, Henry is unwilling to take that step of having sex with Martin, even though every part of him craves it desperately. Henry fears if he takes that first step, he will never be able to hide his unnatural feelings and urges toward men. He also doesn’t want to be with Martin if Martin doesn’t want him back. He knows he shouldn’t care, but Henry can’t help but want his feelings returned. At a time when the other boys are all enjoying exploring sex with their slaves, Henry is holding back in fear. If only he could take a chance to share with Martin how he really feels and the deep desires he keeps hidden, Henry might find he can have everything he ever wanted with his new companion.
Oh, this story is so good and Darrah Glass has created just an amazing world here! The story is set in the 1900s in an alternate New York City. It is an usual time period for historicals and I really enjoyed experiencing the time where horses still filled Central Park, but phones and indoor plumbing were also available. The book really highlights the time period nicely, while at the same time giving us this alternative world where slavery is commonplace and young men of privilege take on slave ownership at 16. I love a good master/slave story and I found this one particularly interesting as it is set outside the typical fantasy world setting. We are in New York in a world we recognize, just a modified version. So I found the set up fascinating here and it makes for a really engaging story.
Henry is a really interesting character and I really enjoyed being in his POV here. He grew up with slaves as a major part of his life and thinks nothing of the practice of buying and owning people. All young men of his station have a companion slave and he is thrilled to finally be old enough to own his own slave. But at the same time he is terrified, because he knows the things he wants are not acceptable for a young man. Using a slave to release your sexual urges is fine. But wanting to please another man, to suck his cock or make him come, definitely is not. Henry is torn between desperately wanting Martin and terrified to act on his feelings, worried he will let out things he knows he must keep hidden. The sexual tension here is great, and let me tell you, when these guys finally act on it, things are explosive. The pretty much fuck like bunnies for the last 80% of the story, and I loved seeing their joy and happiness as they discover each other and that their desires match. Henry is totally inexperienced, so we really feel his sheer pleasure at not only having sex, but also acting on all his secret desires with Martin. I will say, however, despite how much I loved the anticipation and ultimate connection between these guys, I do think things were drawn out a little too long. We get a lot of repeats of Martin asking Henry if he wants sex, and Henry saying no, and it goes on for a quite a while without a lot of new ground covered. So I think the balance could have been better here.
One thing I particularly enjoyed was seeing Henry’s growth throughout the book. Henry is a sweet and kind boy and really a good person. But he has also grown up entitled and rich and never really seeing much of the other side of the world. Slaves are background to him, and we get little scenes where it is clear how little attention he has paid to them as people in the past. As he spends more time with Martin, Henry begins to take notice of the slaves in his life, to think of them differently and to really see them in ways he never has before. I loved this little detail, how we can see Henry’s flaws, but at the same time, watch him mature throughout the story. I also like how Glass shows Henry and Martin as boys. As much as they are on the cusp of adulthood and mostly act quite mature, we see little petty jealousies and other issues that make it clear they are still teenagers as well. It is a really nice balance and done quite well.
I also enjoyed that in addition to all the sex, we are seeing the first steps of these two young men as real partners. Even without the romantic relationship, a man and his companion slave have an incredibly close connection. They two will grow up together from young men, and be among the most important people in one another’s lives. Of course with Martin and Henry, there is this emotional dynamic emerging as well. We see the tension for Henry as he fights to hide his feelings for Martin in public, to act reserved and aloof when sometimes all he wants to do is reach out and touch Martin. We can see that each man is beginning to feel an emotional claim on one another, but again neither can act on it. Martin, of course, is not entitled to anything like that as a slave, and Henry has his own rules of decorum he must follow. But despite that, we can see that these feelings are developing between them and I look forward to seeing them explored as the series continues.
My only real issue here with this story is that it runs quite long and, at times, feels a little repetitive. I mentioned earlier that things are drawn out emotionally and sexually between the men, but there are other areas as well. We get lots of scenes of dinner, then the family in the parlor, then Henry going to bed (or going to have sex with Martin in the later sections). I am not sure that so much repetition of daily life really illuminated much in the story or the larger world, and I think this book could have been a lot tighter. Truly, I loved it so much and I found it so innovative that this didn’t bother me too much, but I do think that it got a bit rambling at times.
This story is book one in the Ganymede Quartet, each installment continuing Martin and Henry’s story. As you will see below, there is also a free prequel, A Superior Slave, that recounts Martin’s purchase by Henry and his family at the slave auction. That story is told from Martin’s POV and gives us a really great background on his life and training as a companion slave and his sale to Henry. I read that one first, and so it obviously affected my reading and review of this book as I had background that isn’t all given here. Most particularly, we learn how much Martin wants Henry and how eager he is to serve him. So even though Henry doesn’t always know Martin’s feelings early on here, we know how much Martin wants to be with him sexually and emotionally. I would definitely recommend reading that story first, as it really helped set the stage for me for this first book. A Superior Slave was a fabulous, extended novella-length story that is offered for free, so it is definitely worth reading before this book.
So overall I was just thrilled with this story and love the world Glass has created. I adored Henry and Martin together. They are sweet and adorable and also manage to be super sexy together. I loved the 1900s setting and the alternate world Glass has created. I am already dying to start the second book and see what comes next for these two. So A Most Personal Property is really excellent and highly recommended.
A Superior Slave
Martin has been trained since he was a child by House Ganymede to become a companion slave. Now he is 16 and ready to go to auction for a new master. Being a companion means serving as a valet, secretary, assistant, and even sexual partner for his 16-year-old master. The two will grow up together and Martin’s master will be the focus of his life going forward.
Martin is both excited and nervous for auction day. He dreams about what his master will be like, and hopes it will be someone handsome and kind and who will be interested in a real sexual relationship with Martin. He knows it is foolish to have these fantasies as they are unlikely to ever come true, but he can’t help himself. As excited as Martin is to begin the life he has been training for, it is also bittersweet. The group of fellow slaves-in-training have been his closest friends for years. His cohort group has a bond that is so strong, yet once they are sold to their masters, it is unlikely they will ever see each other again.
Now that auction day has arrived, Martin faces the most important moment of his life. He meets many potential masters, but is totally captivated by one young man. Henry seems like the perfect match for Martin, but there are many potential bidders and Martin has no control over his destiny. Now that the moment has come, Martin must hope that he is chosen by the perfect master.
A Superior Slave is a prequel to A Most Personal Property and takes place the day before and the day of the slave auction. It really wonderfully sets up this amazing world Glass has created, giving us a window into the life of the companion slaves. We learn about House Ganymede, what their lives and training is like, and the relationships that have developed between them. This story is told from Martin’s POV, which gives us a chance to see how he feels about his role as a slave, what he looks for in his master, and what kind of person he really is. It is particularly helpful in illuminating aspects of A Most Personal Property, since Henry spends much of that book uncertain about Martin’s feelings. Having read this story first, we have the window into Martin’s real feelings, which really adds a lot to the main storyline. I found this one so good and just fascinating and it is wonderful set up to the larger series.
A Superior Slave is offered for free from Amazon so I would definitely recommend trying it if you are even considering reading the larger series. It is a long, almost novel length story and a great introduction to the world Glass has created here. I adore Martin and just loved seeing this look into his world.