Darker Passions, The: Carmilla

The Darker Passions: Carmilla
Review by The Mad Bibliographer, submitted on 26-Jun-1998

Amarantha Knight. The Darker Passions: Carmilla. Masquerade Books, 1997; ISBN 1-56333-578-6; $6.95.

Under the name "Amarantha Knight," Nancy Kilpatrick continues to produce her heavy-duty BDSM reworkings of classics in Masquerade's Darker Passions series. In this first-person narrative, Laura lives in an isolated schloss with her guardian Martin (handsome but frustratingly lacking in assertiveness), Madam Perrodon (spankings), Mademoiselle de LaFontaine (French, cunnilingus, and spankings), and an assortment of servants, including Melanie, who wields a dildo with great enthusiasm. Under the loving but far from gentle tutelage of Madam Perrodon and Mademoiselle de LaFontaine, Laura learns the importance of submission in all things, from table manners to what to lick and when.

But although whips, paddles, and birches bring about the most deliciously overwhelming pain, the sensations are never enough: Laura feels she is nearly perishing of loneliness, particularly since Martin shows no interest in her. (He prefers wearing women's clothes and amusing himself with the local physician.) A beautiful woman -- or a creature in the shape of one -- comes to Laura in dreams that leave tiny punctures, first on her nipple, then all over her body. No one gives Laura's dreams credence, but the face in them takes on physical substance when a beautiful stranger's carriage overturns near the schloss and the fair Carmilla must stay with them for a time to recover her health.

"Mistress Carmilla" introduces Laura to new delights. She is an expert in the art of pleasurable pain, whether wielding a whip or applying her amazingly long and sharp teeth: with the latter she pierces Laura's nipples for nipple rings like her own. But Laura's mysterious night visitations still have not ended. A dream of a panther-like creature leaves her with a clitoral ring and the certainty that it is a mark of ownership ... but whose?

THE DARKER PASSIONS: CARMILLA follows much of the plot of "Carmilla" and even uses chunks of the original story, but it greatly expands Le Fanu's tale (to 335 printed pages). The addition of kinky sex play on practically every page, however, does not mean the absence of plot or character development; indeed, Knight's characters are often better-rounded (in more than one sense) than Le Fanu's. Although CARMILLA is not much about vampire sex (there is very little blood drinking, fang nipping, etc.), the ending is sure to please vampire fans -- at least, those fond enough of whippings and nipple rings to have made it that far.

One more time: Like all the Darker Passions books, CARMILLA is a work of heavy-duty BDSM; it is mostly female-on-female, but has occasional forays into other combinations. (Carmilla and Laura sucking off the hunchback particularly stands out in my mind.) Knight has never been backward about calling her work "porn" ... "classy porn," that is. Written much in the tone and style of the original, THE DARKER PASSIONS: CARMILLA is more than just skin-slapping and whip-snapping (although there's no lack of those). It's a book for those who like their kinks served on a literary platter.

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From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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