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1) The world-building in this story is phenomenal, and the fact that it’s inspired by historical events is even more exciting. Seeing as the story takes place over a number of years, plenty of attention is paid to the changes the Eternal Dungeon goes through, from the technology to the influence of outside cultures. Historical details about surrounding nations are provided naturally, differences such as language barriers come into play, and even the use of cocoa and stuffed animals become important touchstones in this world. The use of setting to help showcase character details and moods is also a strong component of this piece, even if it occasionally dips into the fantastical. Small details in the main relationship’s room shift over time and showcase their feelings towards another, while a character who resists change in the dungeon has the newly-installed electric lights flicker and explode around him with alarming frequency, and these details build up both the world and its inhabitants in natural yet evocative ways. Thanks to the use of different protagonists and timelines throughout the piece, each character is given a multifaceted development and characterization that evolves over the course of the book. While most of the characters begin the novel under some kind of duress, each one reaches their own kind of happy ending—interestingly, each of these resolutions is dependent on relating to others with understanding and compassion. No one is able to achieve their goals without realizing and accepting the love they have for others, be it the bonds of comradery or romance. This comes off as a natural result of the plot instead of how potentially confusing and bloated it could have been, though a couple side-plots did seem to end a bit early in order to give others their limelight. There are enough complex characters that I cannot take time to touch upon them all, so I will instead touch upon three notable PoV characters. Layle Smith was by all means antagonistic in the first section of the book, but once his internal contradictions and his force of will come to light, he became quite an intriguing character. To paraphrase another character, Layle might not be likeable, but he is worthy of respect. This was particularly struck home by his interactions with Zemas, who even in his own PoV sections remains a mystery to readers until a pivotal scene with Layle ensues. I found that my favorite PoV character was Elsdon Taylor, whose political and social maneuvering are fascinating to watch, especially when contrasted by his own emotions.
2) I feel like the author did a spectacular job at giving the reader little pieces of each character that made me want to keep reading. I appreciate character development that happens over time with “Easter eggs” dropped to introduce new possibilities about various characters and their backstories. I do feel like some of the backstory was unnecessary or verbose at times. I don’t feel like as much time was needed for Gurth/Or as was given.

Dusk Peterson Sweet Blood (The Eternal Dungeon #5)
Bisexual - Alternative Universe/Reality
File Size: 3222 KB
Print Length: 503 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publication Date: August 31, 2017
Amazon: Dusk Peterson Sweet Blood (The Eternal Dungeon #5)

"Oh, Mercy and Hell. He would gladly allow himself to be flayed for eternity if he could thereby escape the responsibility of disciplining his love-mate for any future violations of the Code."

The Eternal Dungeon has been split by a civil war, with the division clearly marked by a quarrel between two Seekers (torturers) whose faithfulness to each other has already become legendary. Into this explosive situation arrives a new Seeker, one who is determined to see that past evils do not continue in the dungeon. But can he keep control of himself when assigned a prisoner who falls in love with him?

This tale of friendship, romance, and suspense can be read on its own or as the fifth volume in The Eternal Dungeon, an award-winning alternate history series set in a nineteenth-century prison where the psychologists wield whips.

The Eternal Dungeon series is part of Turn-of-the-Century Toughs, a cycle of diverse alternate history series (The Eternal Dungeon, Dungeon Guards, Michael's House, Life Prison, Commando, Waterman, Young Toughs, and Dark Light) about adults and youths on the margins of society, and the people who love them. Set in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the novels and stories take place in an alternative version of America that was settled by inhabitants of the Old World in ancient times. As a result, the New World retains certain classical and medieval customs.

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