The Initiate

The Initiate, a novel

Book Review

As featured in Issue #3: Halloween Anniversary Edition


A few years ago I became interested in S&M, and although my interest in experiencing it has declined, the appeal of its versatility has remained in me, more specifically as an element of self-expression in art. To see S&M mixed with Paganism, magic, self-development and romance in The Initiate, a novel by J. Swartz, was a total adventure.

The story is simple: Jacob, a normal guy, finds himself lost in the middle of Canada during a winter storm, and takes shelter with Silas and Arthur, two married bears, who are part of the Order of the First Guard.  He discovers that they are part of an ancient order that explores sex as a tool for males to discover themselves and reach their full potential. 

Many of you can guess what happens right after this, and yes, you are right, but what will surprise you, as it did me, was how well these guys come to know each other, how they change and how they affect the way they think, or used to before meeting. 

The Initiate Drawings
Drawings by PapaCon

Jacob finds himself in the middle of a new spiritual path that not only offers him a new alternative to become a better version of himself and a better human being, but that helps him to leave behind all his doubts, fears and insecurities thanks to Silas and Arthur, two Sages not willing to let him go so easily after they see the many possibilities in him the young man right after they meet him.

The Initiate is easy to follow, to understand and to like.  Its pages are addictive and  make you want to know more and more before devouring the whole book, and is well-seasoned with exciting scenes that will make you feel a lot of heat, suspense and excitement more than once.

What’s even more interesting, the images at the beginning of each chapter was a brilliant idea and served to purpose of illustrating some of the best scenes to be found in the novel (although I could add a few more interesting ones), such as the final part of the wedding we discover near the end. However, I loved them, and would like to see books with these kinds of illustrations more often. 

The Initiate drawings
Drawings by PapaCon

What I will admit is that I would have liked to read more about the spirituality and the teachings of the Order of the First Guard, and less sex. Crucify me if you want, but I’m a strong believer in the idea that hot scenes do not make a good book, not even when they are a major element in the plot or the lives of the characters.  Enjoyable? Hell yes. Pleasurable to read? Yes again. Needed? Maybe not so many. They could have been followed by more scenes that explored the structure of the order and the actual lives of the characters, as there were some holes in the story that distracted me from time to time.

I’ll forgive and forget as this is the author’s first book, but will have higher standards if I see this name again in a new novel. There are good ideas in his head that they will keep you horny all night long, but that also need to be better polished and used.

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