In "Danica", we have the story of a very pretty female wizard that has lived her life to this point in the shadow of her sister's fame. While undertaking a task, she is captured, and turned into an unwilling assistant to an evil wizard. Said wizard isn't above using Danica for both pleasurable tasks and diabolical ones. Read along as Danica works her way through her indentured servitude and gains in power.
The sex in this story comes at you rapidly, with each chapter/chapter part usually having more than 1 sex scene in it. While initially forced, Danica quickly starts to enjoy herself in those encounters she chooses for herself. Those she does not choose are often rough, sadistic, and even violent. Be warned that there are several instances of oral sex during menstruation that occur, something that SOL doesn’t have a code for. Those scenes really threw me off, but otherwise I was fine with most of what happened. The scenes where Danica chooses her partners are usually hot enough to scorch your monitor.
The plot itself is pretty good, but it does get somewhat lost in a haze of sex. Danica’s growth as a wizard often surrounds itself around sex, as she starts to design magical sex toys. If the sex fails to short out your brain for most of the story, there is a pretty decent plot under it all.
Technically, this is extremely well written for the length of the story. I don’t recall a single error jumping out at me in the days it took me to read this from beginning to end.
Overall, this is a great extended stroke piece that has more than enough plot to get you past points you don’t find erotic. The menstrual oral sex bothered me, and I don’t remember reading that the evil wizard did it for a particular reason, but I suspect it was part of some ritual magic he was doing. Maybe I missed it, but that would have made those scenes at least more tolerable than the “damn, where’s the Page Down key?” moments I had.
Unless you will be completely squicked out by the menstrual or sadistic sex that happens a few times in the story, this is really very good.
Firstly, a warning. Danica is easily one of Darkniciad's darkest tales, somewhere around the level of his work on the Ebon Offerings tales. Yet, it goes slower, drawing things out and and making the suffering last longer.
Secondly, a comment on the sex. There is a lot of sex in the story, though I found that Danica's sexuality was sufficiently important to the plot (both as a means of control by Zoraster and as an illustration of her own development) that I did not feel it interfered with the plot. To go a step further, personally I found myself fully in "plot-mode" while reading this story, negating any possibility of viewing this as a stroke story. Your experience may well be different.
Having said all that, I feel I should state that Danica is a truly excellent first story in what is looking to become one of my favorite series on SOL. The story starts out somewhat dark and slowly gets much darker. Excluding Zoraster's actions towards his servants/slaves, most of his more unsavory actions occurred off-screen, at least during the first eight or nine chapters.
Though he is is quite cruel to Danica, the reader is exposed to the true horror of Zoraster's actions only in a short, gradual fashion, much in the same way that Danica does not fully realize how evil his actions really are. Danica often finds herself feeling somewhat resigned to his cruelty towards her, but the same cannot be said about what he inflicts on others.
I found at first that I almost found myself wondering if perhaps Zoraster was not actually evil but merely acted that way to serve the good. I admit that the positive results of his actions were not the result of his own intentions, but at first it almost felt like he was the good guy. One might argue that his history (revealed in Ebon Genesis) supports such unrealistic conclusions. These already questionable thoughts were repeatedly brutally shattered later in the story.
Zoraster's true motivations are not revealed until very late into the story. Much of the earlier chapters are spent consolidating power in ways that, though clearly important to Zoraster's later goals, mostly do little to support them directly beyond offering more random artifacts and influence. From this perspective, the plot on this tale is somewhat simplistic: Gather items of power, gain influence, accomplish nefarious goals.
However, there is a secondary, simultaneous plot. Danica is quickly growing in power and her attitude, as well as the attitude of others, is gradually shifting. A full picture of the motivations and beliefs of the various characters becomes clearer as the story progresses. There is a constant, growing tension throughout the story as Danica struggles with the knowledge that Zoraster is watching her and trying to control her. Though she feels little hope of escape, she is still constantly looking for ways around Zoraster's watch and frequently fearful that he is more aware of her actions than she realizes. While initially her fear of Zoraster is often more based on fear that he will punish her, eventually she is afraid for her life, and that of her family.
Danica is an excellent story. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to the sequel (Sisters of the Mist), which Darkniciad has already started working on.