This sped past my comfort level and then just kept on going. The punishments are extremely sadistic and relentless, and yet you buy the connection between the two leads. I found the book totally disturbing and at times sickening, and yet addictive in a really psychotic way.
One feature of a lot of Faulkner stories I've read is what I'll call "never-con." Most non-con/rape fantasy stories are really just forced seductions: what starts as a rape changes into a fully consensual, usually loving relationship. In never-con, the heroine is physically trapped in the situation and you genuinely believe that she can never escape it and that it will never, ever change--she will continue to be subjected to these outrageous punishments day after day, forever. (In contrast, in Ann Rice's [b:The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty|26582|The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (Sleeping Beauty, #1)|A.N. Roquelaure|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1346954268s/26582.jpg|1049526], which also featured totally over-the-top, non-con punishments and humiliations, the book makes clear that the slavery has an end-date: the tributes serve for two years and then they are sent home again. That makes it seem a lot less disturbing.)
But for those times when you have a hankering for something really outrageous and sick, Faulkner can certainly satisfy it. Since this hankering hits me every now and then, I've read a bunch of her books, and this is probably the best of them.