In a dystopian Ancient Rome, enslaved prostitutes are brainwashed to eat and sleep only after sex. Love is a concept exclusive to the elite. Sex is a means of survival for the powerless.
During the last days of the republic, a surly teenage girl called Matt-Lin is trafficked to the titular brothel, where she uses a hidden strength and intelligence to seek a way out.
The Lupanarium is the first book in The Many Trials of Matt-Lin and Jak, a series that draws from modern human trafficking, and explores how trauma survivors struggle to find freedom, retribution, healing, and love. With the amount of sex in the series, it would be easy to categorize it “erotica” or “pornography.” However, this book’s primary function is not to titillate. Instead, it comments on, critiques, and satirizes these genres, subverting tropes that often serve to normalize rape culture. This book comes with a graphic content warning for its depictions of sexual assault and child rape.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Brilliant, culturally relevant, and super hardcore!
I couldn’t put THE LUPANARIUM down, although there were times when the graphic nature of this book about the rape culture of an alternative Ancient Rome made me want to throw my iPad across the room. But it’s exactly what the book is about that makes it so compelling. So much of it feels familiar. The book is essentially about a sex-trafficked young woman who is tortured and brainwashed in order to keep her submissive. Yo, if you know anything about real-life trafficking, it isn't that different. Luckily, she's super smart so manages to always get the last laugh. I LOVE that this book doesn't make the idea of slavery and submission sexy like a lot of books do (**cough**50 Shades**cough), although there are plenty of sexy parts with the character Jak, the most successful prostitute in Rome. While thematically this book is grim, there is a lot of humor. The author has the sense of humor of a five-year-old genius with a deeply perverted mind. Sound interesting? IT IS! She created a whole new world, like Westeros in Game of Thrones, that’s well-written and thoughtfully crafted that will leave you wanting more. I can't wait for book two.