Dark Harvest is a lust filled romance/fantasy tale. The second in a series of books about McLeod’s Onic Empire, the world-building and customs of the world are well constructed. I haven’t read the first book, but still found enough explanations and detail to understand the goings on of this society. Both highly advanced (in technology) and in some ways primitive (especially in regards to the social order and roles of men and women), the Onic Empire felt like a place that could or did exist at some point in history.The story revolves around Kasmiri, next in line to become Empress. At her Harvest, when she is initiated as a woman and a full citizen, she is chosen by a man she does not know and doesn’t want. Sterlave, the man in question, has some trouble getting Kasmiri to take him seriously, despite their strong physical chemistry. What starts off as duty, however, ends up as love.
Meanwhile, other things are going on in the palace. Death, betrayal, and the rise of a brutal foe threatens to destroy the couple and bring about the downfall of the empire.
Be warned, this book is full on in its sexuality. There’s very little here that is not explored, and this may not appeal to some readers. While the explicit sex (and varieties of it) didn’t bother me, I have to mention that there are a couple of chapters that deal with rape. While those passages are brutal, they were meant to make the reader uncomfortable. The beast that commits these crimes is just that, and McLeod does not shy away from showing him in full grotesqueness.
If readers stick with this book from beginning to end, I think they’ll find it an action packed story. You’ll root for Kasmiri and Sterlave to find their way to each other and a new life together.