Ward by Margott Scott (2022) Review

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Ward by Margott Scott (2022): 7 out of 10: is a romance novel that follows the story of a 17-year-old girl who is sent to live with her uncle (technically her step-uncle) after her parents die in a house fire. The uncle, a wealthy and dominant man in his 30s, takes her in and becomes her guardian. As their relationship develops, he introduces her to the world of BDSM and becomes her master, promising to protect her from other masters. However, their relationship is complicated by the fact that he has a son who believes he raped his mother who is trying to re-enter thier lives and expose his father as the rapist he is.

A disclaimer of sorts.

I try different media in different genres on a lark sometimes. Sometimes I will randomly choose a movie or book using an online tool such as Realgood’s Movie Roulette. Ward is a very naughty erotica. It is designed to skate as close as possible as to what is allowed on Amazon Kindle without crossing the line. I am aware of this and honestly much I my criticism of the book below is where I thought crossing the line would have done it some good. I mean, if you are going to bother to go there…

As a result, my review and, in particular, my review notes are going to be a lot more adult than normal. When I talk about spit roasting, it is not regarding a barbeque recipe.

Also, I do not endorse in any way what any of the characters in the book are doing in a real life kind of way. I think this should be obvious. But in this day and age, some people are willfully stupid. To use an example, if I complain that a particular Friday the 13th entry does not have enough camp counselors being killed by Jason, this is not to suggest that in real life I support masked serial killers murdering teenagers.

In the same context, I do not support uncles adopting their nieces and turning them into passive sex dolls. I do support fictional characters getting on with it though. I mean, if you are going to be an evil, incestuous rapist, stop trying to justify yourself and pretending to be a good guy. Let the hate flow through you. Time for the spit roasting.

The Good

The Good: Ward is a well-written book that moves at a good pace and is not afraid of eroticism and painting a picture. Decently written with enough varied characters and a couple of superb surprises.

The book admittedly loses me for a while (See below) but Ward pulls it out in the end and becomes a surprising sold action thriller. Something I was not expecting on any level, so bravo. I am impressed more Margott Scott’s writing and plotting than her character work. But Ward is pretty good when firing on all cylinders.

The Bad

The Bad: Grace is our titular ward. She is too passive and too uninteresting to really be any real threat outside of a middle age crisis in ballet shoes. There seems to be no danger she has greater designs on him rather than some psychological problems and an unquenched lust. A miss where the book could have turned her into a three-dimensional character with her own designs on her master.

Ward is playing chess but only one character is moving the pieces and none of the pieces themselves seem to have a mind of thier own. Chess is much more interesting and difficult if the rook refuses to castle for thier own reasons no matter how misguided.

Grace is not just passive, she is also amazingly dim and naïve. She borders as being unbelievable as a character. Ward paints her as so passive it becomes folly to think she has thoughts of her own

The Ugly

The Ugly: While Grace has all the agency and personality of a blow-up doll, our tortured master Aidan seems unaware he is a bad guy. For example, he refuses to have sex with his niece despite her being a traumatized orphan, completely dependent on him. So is his solution to send her to boarding school or maybe (and I am just spitballing here) treat her as his brother’s daughter rather than a sexual plaything?

No, his solution to the problem of his just for his niece is to have his ward be deflowered and spit roast by two of his friends while he watches to desensitise himself to the feelings he has and he sees her as a submissive tool for his pleasure. Yeah, a proper gentleman there.

So he rescues her from the rape he himself set-up. And as the good guy chooses to deflower here right then and there but he is setting boundaries and rules to thier Dom/ Submissive relationship.

So we get this prattle about the separation of the dominance/ submissive roles and the sex roles. I am not sure even the main character saying this believes it and no one else is convinced.

There is no sense of danger in the relationship since the ballerina is completely submissive in all ways he can, in reality, do as he pleases, with no consequences. Take her virginity, tease her without orgasm or invite friends over to fuck her two at a time. She is game in all scenarios. She has no agency. And that takes a little spice out of the scenarios.

If you are going to write this character with this scenario, having the main male lead be an amoral pleasure seeking asshole (which he clearly seems to be) is to your advantage. Ward should lean into it (like when he was going to have his niece spit-roasted by his friends before he got cold feet) instead of running away from it as if it was true love or something.

Ward is a lot of things, but a romance is a bit of a stretch. And seriously, how naïve is this niece? The whole scenario borders on the incredulous.

In Conclusion

In Conclusion: I am of two minds about Ward. I am not sure I recommend the book itself, but I am curious about the writer. Margott Scott does enough individual scenes and choices in Ward to make me want to try some of her other work.

While Ward itself suffers from poor characters and some wimping out on the plot side of things. It brings the heat occasionally and has some nice twists and well-written action scenes, of all things.

Overall, despite so many fantasy elements, the book might as well have dragons in it. Ward is a well-written book that moves at a good pace and is not afraid of eroticism and painting a picture.

Review Notes

Seventeen-year-old girl fresh from a tragedy. (Home burns down killing parents) is sent to live with her uncle (Sorry step uncle) who somehow is a sexy man in his thirties despite his niece being seventeen (I mean this is technically possible but the description of the families makes this seem unlikely)

Well, this is our romance… I feel like Michael Bluth looking at a paper bag with a dead pigeon in it. I mean, what exactly did I expect?

Either way, well written set up so far if about as farfetched as these things go. But it is a Kindle romance.

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Well, I read a decent chunk. More because of insomnia than the story, though the story did not hurt. As it says on the tin, she is a ward, and he promises to be become her master to protect her from the other masters out there. He is one of those special masters who strictly does not fuck his charges. This is because of an incident from over twenty years ago involving some rape play that produced a wayward son.

The son is in the story like a plot development threatening to haunt the narrative at any time. His friends and servants seem more understanding of him taking his niece as his sexual plaything than one would suppose would happen in real life. Billionaire or not.

In addition, she shares this… um relationship…with her best friend and again wagging tongues are wagging, but there is no sense of real danger. She turns 18, accepts her collar and becomes his sub. His ability to have her naked body in front of him to play with as he wishes for the first time is glossed over a bit much by the book. A missed opportunity to stretch out an erotic moment. She is, of course, broken by her abuse father, devastated by the loss of her parents and a virgin.

He is no good guy here, barely keeping it together despite his outward stoic demeanor. He gives off not like other guy vibes every other sentence.

Overall, despite so many fantasy elements, the book might as well have dragons in it. Ward is a well-written book that moves at a good pace and is not afraid of eroticism and painting a picture. Decently written with enough varied characters, its primary fault is a lack of realism and depth in these characterizations. His staff and friends feel like the staff and friends for the main character in Fable III programmed to go along with whatever the main character decides. there does not really seem to be anything on the line for him as a character if this goes sideways outside of a snicker and a rebuke

Only his estranged son, who believes he raped his mother (whom is now dead from a suicide) seems to have any potential to be a fly in the ointment. It is to Ward’s credit that the character exists, but we shall see what it plans to do with him.

As for our titular ward, she is too passive and too uninterested to really be any real threat outside of a middle age crisis in ballet shoes. There seems to be no danger she has greater designs on him rather than some psychological problems and an unquenched lust. A miss where the book could have turned her into a three-dimensional character with her own designs on her master.

Ward is playing chess but only one character is moving the pieces and none of the pieces themselves seem to have a mind of thier own. Chess is much more interesting and difficult if the Rook refuses to castle for thier own reasons no matter how misguided.

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Well, our guy is having issues. See, he has his niece all dominated and naked, but he has sworn to himself that he will not have sex with her so he can avoid the mistakes of the past. Still, she seems to tease and have the upper hand despite his best efforts to the contrary.

To make matters a little more interesting, his wayward son, barely introduced earlier, appears at the mansion as a vagrant looking for work and encounters the young ward. He is unaware of the nature of this intrusion, though just the intrusion itself is enough to set him on edge.

And now on my Spotify while I write this Super Freak by Rick James is playing. And you know what the song fits Ward to a tee. Well, our protagonist thinks the solution to the problem is to have his ward be deflowered and spit roast by two of his friends while he watches to desensitise himself to the feelings he has and he sees her as a submissive tool for his pleasure.

And while the author pulls out at the last possible moment in a spark of oh, please… up until that point, the writing was very, very hot.

I know that I have just recently praised Double Mountain Trouble for very how sex scenes (Despite not having an actual thought in its pretty little head.)

While Ward has not been a consistent nor as numerous as Double Mountain Trouble so far in the story on the Scoville scale for a few pages, it blows Double Mountain Trouble out of the water.

Not that the book has kind of wimped out after being so delightful in going there in the first place. We will see what it can do after this climatic scene.

Also not for nothing outside of the sex and bondage stuff (Of which there is more and more) Ward is proving itself a competent and well-written tale. It isn’t smart, but as of right now it has more of a head on its shoulder than its recent competition.

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Well, in our have his cake and eat it too category our master decides he does not want to see his friends (associates) spit roast his 18 vaginal ward/niece/submissive, and he kicks them out and does the duty himself.

This chapter is told from her point of view and it is both erotic and well written. Ward is having trouble owning its depravity a bit. Again, it wants its cake and eat it as well. It would love to have the deflowering of this young ballerina complete with multiple organisms while ignoring the fact she just suffered a horrible tragedy, and this is basically her uncle that controls her every movement and keeps her tied up for his own pleasure.

I think the word we are looking for here is agency. Our your virgin ballerina has exactly zero agency in this scenario both abstractly and on the page. She is somewhere between slave chattel and kidnap victim. Now the book could admit this and lean into it with erotic effect, but colder feet abound.

So we get this prattle about the separation of the dominance/ submissive roles and the sex roles. I am not sure even the main character saying this believes it and I think no one else is convinced.

There is no sense of danger in the relationship since the ballerina is completely submissive in all ways he can, in reality, do as he pleases, with no consequences. Take her virginity, tease her without orgasm or invite friends over to fuck her two at a time. She is game in all scenarios. She has no agency. And that takes a little spice out of the scenarios.

All that said, I enjoyed the chapter. It was not the best erotica I have read recently, but it was above serviceable and while we are well past the halfway point in the story, there is still plenty of time for the author to introduce some conflict or tension to elevate our heroine above sex doll/ slave.

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Okay, so the basic problem that Ward has comes into focus over these last few chapters. You see, no matter how you sugarcoat it, our master hero is not a good guy nor a good person. He is a billionaire who took in his traumatised niece and turned her underaged ass into the object of his sexual pleasure. And that is a kind of the best case acceptable version of this.

We have Liam his son whose mother claimed he was a child of rape and whom subsequently committed suicide and the only reason we believe that her reasonable claim is not true is our “heroes” story that she asked him to roleplay rape and was to traumatised by the roleplay to utter her safe word and well that story sounds like something one brings up during his parole hearing and I am casting as suspicious an eye towards our possibly unreliable narrator as I would a guy in stripes trying to get out early.

So Liam somehow tricks the niece who I think we can all agree is on a ballerina scholarship and not an academic one that he is coincidentally at her school and convinces her of a scene where she finally learns the truth about her Uncle/ Lover/ Master and now we are at the misunderstanding stage what will she do who will she believe.

This whole chapter is wrong on a few levels. If our uncle really was a Dom in the way the book has previously described, he would have had no trouble getting her to simply obey him at the office. Her following our conveniently creepy and evil cousin Liam is a naivety usually seen in fairy tales, not modern stories.

But the real problem is at the center. The book wants its cake and wants to eat it as well. Instead of allowing our Uncle Master to be an evil billionaire guy which HE CLEARLY IS… the book is desperate to have his feeling be real this time and him to be conflicted and yada yada yada.

Once again, an author refuses to allow her obviously evil (or at the very least amoral) protagonist to be just that. He has to be a good guy, after all.

If you are thinking shades of our protagonists from Double Mountain Trouble, that I recently reviewed, you would not be wrong. There are a couple of differences. The heroine there, despite basically being a kidnap victim, seemed to be a bit more of a wiser and experienced lass and is certainly not an underaged virgin niece. Also, the sex scenes are a lot hotter and better written,

Ward comes close in these chapters with our little one waking up and finding her uncle’s erection and starting to play with it, but again there are rules and dominatrix stuff getting in the way of passion and heat. And of course our hero is conflicted. Yada Yada Yada…

If you are going to write this character with this scenario having the main male lead be an amoral pleasure seeking asshole (which he clearly seems to be) is to your advantage., the book should lean into it (like when he was going to have his niece spit-roasted by his friends before he got cold feet) instead of running away from it as if it was true love or something.

Ward is a lot of things, but a romance is a bit of a stretch. And seriously, how naïve is this niece? The whole scenario borders on the incredulous..

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Woah. Kitty has claws…. Okay, as much as Ward has lost me with the last few chapters, it has gotten me back a bit with the next two. Liam is self destructive and violent enough to try a crazy scheme such as violently kidnapping our ward, and she is certainly shown herself naïve enough to fall for it.

I am actually impressed. Action, Peril, something unpredictable. Bravo Ward. While I am sure it is going to a normal conclusion (Liam ties up ward and sets fire to mansion Adrian rescues her just in time. I am still very impressed.

Also, the writing seems to have stepped up a notch. Well communicated scenes with actual suspense. Not just big misunderstanding navel gazing. Again, I don’t have the highest of hopes, but I am either way impressed.

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distress,Well, we have got ourselves an action thriller complete with a damsel in distress, though in all fairness she likes to be tied up.

Are the action beats good? Well, not exactly. They are serviceable. Decent. There are some nice parts and I can tell what is going on for the most part and there is some surprise. I would say average to slightly above average, but nothing that blows me away.

Which makes them a lot like the sex scenes now that I think about it. Slightly above average, but nothing that makes me want to go out and recommend the book. In fact, I was reading a bit and realised I had left the action beats and subsequent funeral and launched right into a six months later book ending sex scene. i stopped halfway through and will back track to give a proper update on my next and if the Kindle percentage in the lower right corner is to be believed last update.

Soem notes I am surprised that Ward didn’t completely burn down the house nor cripple the ballerina. I don’t know how I feel about that. I would normally think that we are playing for low stakes, but someone “accidentally” blew his son’s head off in the last chapter, so that seems an incorrect accusation.

Overall, I am enjoying Ward. I don’t buy the romance for a minute and it sounds like something someone would say during thier parole hearing explaining how thier niece came onto him and like to be tied up and whipped. Will have sexy time report soon Hope the author nails the landing much like the uncle is nailing his… alright I am going to stop there. Bottom line is at no point do I actually believe that the ballerina girl is into bondage, rape play etc… No, I think she is highly traumatised and wiling to do what is asked from her in return for security and love. If her uncle was a serial killer, I am sure she would be right there with him serial killing. She is his emotional slave, whom he is manipulating and torturing.

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Look the sex scene that ends this book (along with a declaration of love and marriage???) from our make lead is well written and decently hot. It would be hotter, of course, if I was into the characters, but I am not. How he now plans to marry his niece like he was some sort of 19th century president or a captain of industry is a puzzler. His closeted confident barely accepts the relationship, and she depends fully on him for her livelihood. I think he is in for a rough go of it first killing his son than publically bedding his brother’s daughter. Yeah, good luck with that social standing and career there, boy.

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