I don't know what is it that makes people recommend me books like these. I pride myself that I'll read almost anything, but now I'm wondering...
(I'm just kidding people, recommend away.)
It completely messed with my head. No, nothing to do with these overly long graphic sex scenes that, in all honesty, aren't that shocking, I've definitely read "worse" (for lack of a better word) in erotica, but the psychological aspect of it was... seriously disturbing.
It confused my beliefs. I swear, my mind was running rampant - it's wrong, but he's not really hurting any of them, but it's still not right, but they're both ultimately enjoying it, but it's still against their will, but they both secretly want it to happen, but it's WRONG WRONG WRONG so shut up, MIND. WRONG.
Conrad was one seriously effed up mother effer. I can't even begin to tell you how much I wanted him dead. His weird fascination with Devan, his seriously disturbing mind games, it was like an experiment of some sort for him. I mean, IMAGINE THE GALL. Of this person. Who thinks it's in his right. To do something like this. Just imagine how delusional you have to be to think it's okay to play with people like that. To be so confident to think you'll get out of it alive.
Though I have to admit, objectively, some of the things he did, said - they made sense in a twisted logical kind of way. That's what kills me.
Being in his head was seriously twisted. I mean, so, so, weird.
I won't tell you what happens with Conrad. But I was not a happy camper. I needed more.
Devan. I don't even know. I liked her characterization until I saw her out in the free world. At certain points, you'll see, she turns from this fumbling teenager to a seductress and it just seemed so unbelievable. Yeah, I'm sure she knew what she liked by then, but the whole thing just fell flat.
I ~think I understand her conflicting emotions about the whole Conrad thing. I usually don't like heroines that find comfort through sexual satisfaction. But she was held captive by this man that didn't bring her pleasure, he introduced her to it. That is confusing, I think. The opposition of the whole thing. Held captive but he took care of her, in a way. Didn't really hurt her, in a traditional, violent sense. Kind of bribed her with this pleasure into doing things, instead of making her do them.
And then, Vaughn. I loved Vaughn, I really did. He was ultimately a... good(?) man with some sick, twisted fantasies and a disturbing past. I really don't want to talk about him in this review because, in a way, he was just a victim of circumstances. He was manipulated, bribed and confused. By Conrad, by Devan even.
A recurring thing in this book is a body's biological response to sexual stimulation, despite your brain being against it. I can't say I like the way it was handled, but it seemed accurate.
Did I like the love story? I would have, maybe, if the book ended after they were freed. It was lovely watching them open up to each other, trusting with their darkest secrets. It's insta-love, but not really, considering. Then they get back. And it all falls apart.
Because the writing...
First thing's first, the last maybe 8% of this book should never have happened. Not because of the sex itself, but because it was pointless, completely redundant, and it took away from the original story, shifted it to something completely unrelated.
I'm not a writer, but as a reader I can honestly say that there comes a point when I feel a book should naturally end. Like, that one point where you think this is it.
This book didn't finish where it should have.
Actually, the book is so long I felt like DNF-ing even if I wanted to know what happens. It was completely, unnecessarily, WAY too long. It could have been at least 50% shorter. A good writer would have (and probably has) written this story in half as much words. A good editor would have polished this book to brilliance.
I'm not trying to insult the author (or the editor, whatever). A+++ for the idea. Brilliant. But what started out as a compelling read, just... didn't deliver.
There were some inconsistencies. The guns, what of them? Devan acts as if Conrad was punishing her for crying, protesting, that he was cruel to her because of it, like really hurting her and stuff. He never was, not really. If anything, he comforted her. I know it sounds weird. But that's how I saw it.
A seriously convenient coincidence, that Vaughn and Devan should end up holed up together like that. I mean, what are the odds, with his past, and her whole thing with Conrad?
Also, what are the odds of that happening to Vaughn, on two completely unrelated occasions? Very slim, I think.
So much head hopping, it was making me dizzy. Three POVs in three consequent sentences. EDIT YOUR BOOK. You cannot be in everyone's head at the same time. You have to be one hell of a writer to pull it off.
Endless sex scenes. Not the amount of them, but the length of every sex scene. I'll admit, some of them were kind of hot. But every single time I just wished it would be over already.
And then, when it was all finally over and done, NOTHING. No resolution whatsoever. They come back, live their life. Have endless sex again. That's it. No resolution. Life doesn't make any more sense. I was like, THAT'S IT?
No, it's not. Anal play, rape fantasies, toys, bondage, menage, swinging, voyeurism, gay sex. It's all in the last 10% of the book, completely unnecessary.
If you read this book, stop reading after their reunion. And then google porn. It will make more sense than reading what's left of it. It was like she wrote a bunch of various sex scenes and just had to stuff them somewhere, so eh, why not at the end of the book? That's why people read erotica, right? WRONG.
Do I recommend this book? I just don't know. I liked it in a perverse, masochistic way. It's just so long, it took me two days to read it. And the non-resolution is just not worth that much time.
I sure hope this review will make sense to anyone that reads it. I'm not going back to reread it and see if it does. I'm done with this book.
edit: Oh and FFS, is it even realistic that the book should end like this? It was a traumatic experience, I don't care how much of a sick individual you are, this asks for therapy.