Monday, November 4, 2013

Awakening by Elene Sallinger

The Basics:

Awakening by Elene Sallinger
Published: Nov 5, 2013

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Back Copy:

Claire Ryan is finally coming out of her shell after a devastating breakup. What better way to rejoin the world than through a romance book club. But she never expects to find love for herself... Bookshop owner Evan Lang still harbors deep grief for the death of his wife. He’d introduced her to a world of domination she’d never before known. He thinks he’ll never be able to find someone that open, that responsive again. Until Claire walks through his door...

What worked for me:

Claire and Evan are both compelling, broken individuals. They both need to come to terms with their pasts before they can build anything meaningful together. I like that they weren't perfect people: they each have made and/or make pretty poor choices.

I liked that Evan was very conscious (at least at the start of each encounter) about how careful he needed to be with Claire. This book would not have worked at all if we hadn't seen his thought process - but because we did, we get some really great insight into some of the things that a good Dominant should consider. 

The sex in this book is really hot - maybe it's elevated by the exploration of emotional and psychological issues? Maybe it's just really well written. I thought that the author did a great job of incorporating encounters that *made sense* for someone being introduced to BDSM, and I found *that* sexy. There's no rushing Claire into the deep end; instead Evan eases her into the lifestyle, only pushing when she's overthinking things.

What didn't work for me:

I'm starting to burn out on the dominant/alpha male erotic novel. 

That said, this book was so much more than just a dominant running the show, pushing a submissive past her limits/raising her up to his standards. It was an emotional journey through some serious issues with some sexy play incorporated. If you're looking for fluff, this is *not* that book.

Still, because of my saturation on this particular subgenre, I didn't enjoy this quite as much as I think someone who isn't burned out might. I found some of Evan's controlling behaviour a little annoying, to be honest. Appropriate, sure, but I wanted to tell him to back off more than once.  

I felt the same about the leader of the Book Club, who put Claire on the spot several times. Granted, it helped Claire come out of her shell, but I felt uncomfortable on her behalf. 

Bottom Line:

This is probably the best BDSM book I've read in recent memory - and that's because it's about more than just sex and control. The book explores the emotions involved in BDSM, impact play (a term I learned from this book!) and exploring boundaries. 

4 stars
For fans of BDSM erotica, of erotica with plot/emotion, of impact play

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