BDSM Reviews

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Raising the Dead by Angelia Sparrow

Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Raising the Dead
Author: Angelia Sparrow
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN: 9781419913815
Genre: BDSM
Publication Date: October 2007
Rating: 5 of 5

It is rare that a short story is so complete, so like a perfectly cut and polished jewel of erotic literature. This one is, absolutely.

Shane and Victor are an established couple, and the author does a fantastic job of getting the reader into the rhythm of their relationship without sacrificing the flow of the story. Their characters grow and develop through the story, and there is some real depth of motivation. The dialogue is excellent – snappy, tender, harsh, broken. The author mixes hard core sensation and dominance scenes with emotional tenderness and stellar communication. In fact, the author does such an amazing job of creating good communication between the characters that I am tempted to use it as reference for how such communication should work in a relationship.

There were a couple of little points that kept the story from being absolutely perfect, but they were so minor as to be nits that I am picking. The abrupt resolution was a little jarring, but that stems mostly from the fact that the story is entirely from Shane’s perspective, so we don’t get any peeks into Victor’s internal dialogue. Still, I wouldn’t change it, since the firmly consistent point of view does a lot to maintain the flow of the story.

So, the story itself features Shane and Victor at a bit of a crossroads. Victor wants more from Shane – more dominance, more sensation, more verbal abuse, more humiliation, just more. Shane, a horror writer, is afraid that he will go too far. He doesn’t want to lose Victor as an individual – he loves and respects him. Shane is terrified that Victor will push him to go further and further and will have no stopping point. He is horrified at the prospect of what he thinks he could become. In reaction, he tries to pull Victor back from the dark edge, but Victor resists. He wants to be dominated, he wants to be abused. The tension over this issue could be very destructive (the author handles this with finesse and skill).

Shane hatches a plan. He thinks that if he goes suddenly very hardcore lifestyle, into the realm of complete slavery, then reverts back to what he considers to be sane levels of domination, Victor will be shocked back from his darkest desires. This works only somewhat, but then backfires completely. I won’t give away the ending, but suffice it to say that there is a satisfactory resolution.

The scenes in this story are completely hot. The characters are memorable and engaging. The story is interesting. The writing is well done, and the dialogue is superb. I was pleased to have the opportunity to read this story, and it’s a sheer joy to review. Thank you, Ms. Sparrow.

Posted by Elise Logan :: 2:40 PM :: 1 Comments:

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Summon the Masters Anthology

Reviewed by Elise Logan
Title: Summon the Masters
Author: Madeleine Oh, Dominique Adair, Jennifer Dunne
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
ISBN: 9781419907616
Genre: BDSM anthology, e-book
Publication Date: 2007
Rating: 3 of 5

Reviewing anthologies is always tricky business. In this case, the three stories here are supposed to be about Dominants and their subs. However, I’d like to say right off the bat that only one of the three stories struck me as having any kind of real power exchange vibe going. The other two were more sensation play and bondage – a little role play – but not true submission as such. So the question of how to tackle the anthology? I’ve elected to do three short reviews individually. The rating is based on 3 star ratings for the first two stories and a 4 star rating on the third.

Interlude, the piece by Madeline Oh, follows Alex and Dai. Alex goes to Wales to look after her aunt’s cottage, and things get very interesting. I liked the fantasy (in the genre sense, not the role-play sense) elements of the story. I also liked the Dom (Dai) as a character quite a lot. Alex, though, I just couldn’t get into. She leaves for Wales with a relationship still intact – she has decided to end it, but doesn’t. Even when he calls her later, she doesn’t end it. Her internal dialogue over her reasons for wanting out indicate that she is extremely uncommunicative about her needs with her Dom, a key problem in a Dom/sub relationship. Communication is completely glossed over here, and the power exchange is therefore never fully realized. Her internal dialogue is not in a submissive frame, but rather in the frame of someone seeking sensation and bondage. This is not a bad thing, per se, but it doesn’t fit with the purported theme of the anthology. Additionally the sex scenes are repetitive – which is not something you want to see in a short story.

The Cajun by Dominique Adair finds Rachel and Etienne stuck together in a tropical storm in the Louisiana bayou. Rachel and Etienne knew each other growing up, so their banter seems natural, which is fun. Again, though, the power exchange just doesn’t work. Rachel tops from the bottom, a major pet peeve of mine, and his reaction is glossed over. There is a nice spanking scene, but that is really the most sensation in this story. The lack of sensation and the flat power exchange make this story feel more like a slightly edgy vanilla story rather than a BDSM story.

The best of the three stories, in my opinion, is Life Sentence by Jennifer Dunne. The couple here, Samantha and Giacomo, are facing a larger issue in that Giacomo is actually cursed, so that provides an interesting motivation. This story has a very natural, completely appropriate sense of the power exchange between them. The tension and sexual chemistry is excellent, and the initial scene between Sam and Giacomo is a hot masturbatory one. There is a reality about their relationship that makes this story work, though I must say I would have really preferred it to be longer, as I found the ending to be abrupt. Still, the interaction is much more satisfying in this story.

Posted by Elise Logan :: 9:15 PM :: 0 Comments:

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