This provocative story is about an adolescent who was initiated into a clandestine sexual society. He was spirited to the Middle East, from his UK boarding school. He attended the Bahriji School in the United Arab Emirates in preparation for serving in harems for the wealthy and elite.
It is also a love story between the young man and his "Valet" who served as his chaperone and mentor during the boy's harem service.
What would have made Initiation (A Harem Boy's Saga Book 1) better?
What do you think your next listen will be?
The girl with all the gifts.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Disappointment and annoyance. I just thought it would be different. Not what I expected.
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Would you try another book from Young and/or Philip Kramer?
Has Initiation (A Harem Boy's Saga Book 1) turned you off from other books in this genre?
What didn’t you like about Philip Kramer’s performance?
The narrator voice was encumbered by recording in a room with a lot of noise bounce making the sound unpleasant and annoying. One had to turn the sound volume down to counteract the reverberation.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
If this is a ream memoir, then if the spin helps the author to be at peace with his past then it may have been therapeutic. Other than that I see none.
Any additional comments?
The book is written in a memoir format as if it were an actual life experience; like an autobiography. Whether the writing is true or only an imagined past is not for me to say. What one can say is there is a geological impossibility in the text of book that calls into question the claim of an actual memoir, as opposed to a fanciful remembrance seen through the lens of maturity. It may be more fiction or imagination then fact. The err is half way through the book; the author states while in the Sahara desert, in Douz Tunisia he claims to have witnessed with his Valet (aka instructor in erotic love and lover) Andy sunrise over Mount Sinai. If one looks at a map, Mount Sinai is located on the Egyptian peninsula of Sinai approximately 1,800 miles from Douz Tunisia. One would think one of his editors would have picked up this incongruity.
The attitudes exhibited by the protagonist (Yoong aka Young) represent those of a psychological mature man (the author) superimposed onto a 12 to 14 year old self. The attitudes are inappropriate for that age in the developmental process. Most people will find the wildness and abandon at such an age will make their skin crawl. Mentally one had to add 5 years to the protagonist stated age in order to read it without feelings of abhorrence over the loss of innocence and abuse of power by older characters that are pictured as mentoring and guiding this youthful protagonist. In the jurisdiction of the United States and the United Kingdom 12 to 14 year olds cannot give legal consent for the activities depicted in this book. The fact that it is wrapped in a vail of wealth and privilege does not make the actions written about any the less illegal or morally less reprehensible. Putting the beautiful gloss of a mature remembrance on it does not make it any the less wrong. One cannot simply sweep it under the rug by trying to supplant the cultural morals of 4 century BCE Greece to make it right in the modern era.
This book would have been fine had the protagonist NOT been depicted as a young minor in his early teens and his paramours as either young legal adults or mature men.