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Slave, by Sherri Hayes


Slave


Slave, by Sherri Hayes, is marketed as BDSM erotica, but that's not really what this is at all. It's more of a damsel-in-distress romance whose hero happens to be a dominant. Once I realized this, I gave it a shot anyway, but I'm left feeling pretty conflicted about the book.

The good: The writing is pretty decent. It's a short and easy read that mostly kept my interest, though I kept hoping it would go down avenues it steered clear from. Still, I was surprised when I learned that it started as a Twilight fanfic much like the Book-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named-Around-BDSMers. From what excerpts I've read of those other two books, this is written with much more skill, at least.

The bad: Rather than showing healthy, consensual BDSM, this book centers around an 18 yr old victim of sex trafficking whose knight in shining armor (a much older philanthropist who should know better) decides to forgo professional help for the healing power of “Let me just show her how a Real Dom™ does it!”

Are you into the lifestyle and looking for a steaming hot BDSM read? Do you maybe dislike women protagonists without agency who break down in panic attacks all the time? I'd strongly suggest seeking elsewhere.

Are you into Damsel in Distress or the power of well-meaning love conquering all, even really, really traumatic stuff which should not actually be explored in any BDSM context? This is your book!

Don't really care and want a quick and easy read that's not actually dripping in sex? Give it a shot, but take it with a hefty dose of suspension-of-disbelief.

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Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
not_ruined
Jan. 28th, 2017 12:55 am (UTC)

Great review. Not my type of genre personally but this review helped make my decision easier if I was ever looking for BDSM related material.

ahavah
Jan. 28th, 2017 02:48 am (UTC)
Thanks a bunch! I'm always glad for feedback on my reviews. I quite enjoy BDSM-centric stuff, but this was more of a (possibly inadvertent) bait-and-switch situation, imo.
ashmedai
Jan. 28th, 2017 01:09 am (UTC)
Sadly sounds like 99% of all "BDSM" fiction I've read and thrown out the window...
ahavah
Jan. 28th, 2017 02:53 am (UTC)
I quite enjoy BDSM but don't read as much of it as I would like. I'm trying to read more (especially since I'm not getting it IRL...) This had some aspects, but it's hard to give them much credibility when the "sub/slave" is a literally sex-trafficked slave and the male MC repeatedly refers/admits to knowing the difference. If you can overlook that squickiness, it's not actually that bad. It's a big dose of squickiness though. :/
ashmedai
Jan. 28th, 2017 03:03 am (UTC)
What mostly puts me off in this genre is the continual trope that either the dominant or submissive are somehow emotionally damaged, if not both, and that BDSM is the magical cure-all. I know I probably shouldn't take fiction that seriously, it's a fantasy after all, like comic books for adults. On the other hand, fiction is often the only "BDSM education" some people get, and it's just BAD!
ahavah
Jan. 28th, 2017 03:08 am (UTC)
Agreed! I wish that BDSM fiction would represent it in a more positive light. Although I'll admit that having a safe person to work through one's emotional stuff can actually be quite healing during scenes. That's usually not where it goes though, and then you have books like this where the guy -- and all his friends -- discuss the difference in healthy vs. unhealthy but he just goes ahead and does what he wants because he's True Domly Dom who knows best.

I really love the Kushiel's Legacy books, as far as BDSM-based fiction goes. My friend Elizabeth Schechter writes some good stuff too. If you have any recommendations for good ones, I'd love to hear them!
ashmedai
Jan. 28th, 2017 03:20 am (UTC)
Although I'll admit that having a safe person to work through one's emotional stuff can actually be quite healing during scenes.

Yeah, true, but it's not usually like, "Oh hallelujah! My saviour cometh! I shall no longer use drugs, or cut, or whatever self-destructive thing I do". Ehn. I think if someone has really deep issues, it'd be better to seek therapy, and then a BDSM relationship. I eventually started to turn down subs who had deep issues like addiction, bad mental illness or past trauma, because I'm not a mental health professional, I was just a guy looking for a relationship based on mutual respect and fulfillment. And I think no Dom should be put in a position to act as an ersatz psychologist, thinking he can "save" anyone. But then, maybe I'm not the Dommiest Dom who ever Dommed...*wry grin*

Give me a couple days, it's literally been a decade or more since I read BDSM fiction, so I'll have to think! I don't normally read fiction at all, mostly non-fic, but I'll try to remember a couple titles of things I liked! :)
ahavah
Jan. 28th, 2017 10:53 am (UTC)
but it's not usually like, "Oh hallelujah! My saviour cometh! I shall no longer use drugs, or cut, or whatever self-destructive thing I do".

True that. Seems like it would be hard these days to find anyone who doesn't have trauma or mental illness in their life...

No worries about the books. I just liked what you had to say! :)
ashmedai
Jan. 28th, 2017 07:39 pm (UTC)
Seems like it would be hard these days to find anyone who doesn't have trauma or mental illness in their life...

Well, there's mental illness or trauma, and then there's mental illness and trauma. I think I came across as a little harsh there, sorry, and I'd be sort of a hypocrite because I'm a recovered addict myself. I think some people take responsibility and charge of their own life and well-being and don't have a victim mentality, shift blame or make excuses. And then there are those who aren't like that at all, you know? Those are the ones whom I'd have to turn down because they usually have false ideas/expectations. Just wanted to clarify! :)
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )