Wow, what a masterfully written book! It didn't take long for this story to suck me in so completely that I actually put off reading it for a couple w...moreWow, what a masterfully written book! It didn't take long for this story to suck me in so completely that I actually put off reading it for a couple weeks because I didn't want it to end! It has everything -- smart writing, beautiful writing, incredibly complex characters that affect change in each other, the backdrop of court life, and a real psychological look at the characters and what a master/slave relationship means and how power play affects people. Best of all, though it is subtle, the pacing of this story is incredibly methodical made the story such an effortless read that I was so so pleased. One of the best BDSM and all around books I've read. And it is free!(less)
2nd Update: on 5/8/13 -- Caught up to current chapters (now at ch. 343). Been keeping up weekly for the last 4 months or so. Now about 40 or so chapte...more2nd Update: on 5/8/13 -- Caught up to current chapters (now at ch. 343). Been keeping up weekly for the last 4 months or so. Now about 40 or so chapters into the Red Book (Talin & Mir's story). The first 30-35 chapters were really frustrating to me, much more than any of the other stories have been so far. Mir is a tough nut for Talin to crack and their story is so insular and removed from the rest of the world; the other relationships so far were very integrated into the world. It feels like we've lost the other brothers in the shuffle. We haven't seen most of them for a long time now and reading the same argument over and over is difficult, even though it shows just how messed up Mir is. Still, I'm liking it. I don't think that I could not like it at this point, now that I love the story so much and am so invested. Plus, the last 5-10 chapters have really turned around now that Mir is opening up more and it feels like their relationship is FINALLY on the right track. And I'm happy to see the rest of the brothers start to be integrated back into the story more. THANKFULLY. I missed them, all the fun is gone without them. So hopefully, the story won't go back to being stuck in a rut like it was for several months.
Just please, let us get to the Blue book! I wanna see some more Vade please! The Blue Book is going to be a riot, I know it!
1st (Original) Update: on 1/28/12 -- Finally finished and read up to the current chapter written, 277. Been reading for about 3 weeks now, and I'm really addicted to this... Like, maybe in a bad way :-/(less)
I love it just as much as the first time. Even though I told myself I'd just read a bit here and there, because on Wed...moreSecond Read - 5/15/13 - 5/18/13
I love it just as much as the first time. Even though I told myself I'd just read a bit here and there, because on Wednesday when I started this I really needed a comfort read, I couldn't help but putting everything else aside and reading this first book straight through. I have another full week of reviews coming up that I still need to finish some of them and finalize and format the rest of them, but I don't think I'll be able to stop myself from opening now and reading it as well! Hopefully I can take it slower though :) Maybe...
First of all, I really want to thank Jen for pointing this online serial out to me (don't worry, this book is complete), and by proxy Orannia. It is a pretty long book, especially when you realize that the rest of the series is just about as long, but it really is worth reading.
The basis of the story is a working ranch in Wyoming that runs an exclusive program designed to help overworked and overstressed executives and CEOs rejuvenate. It may seem like rehab, and it is -- without the negative white-washed wall and formica tabletop and stale coffee associations. It is a place where people can come and help work the ranch (one at a time) and get some perspective and help with their problems.
Dale is sent to Falls Chance Ranch by his company after he has a breakdown at the office. A lifetime of bad habits and obsessive behavior have gotten him the reputation as somewhat of a whiz kid in financial circles, but at the failing of his health. Not eating and not sleeping and working around the clock simply will not work for him anymore. He's not given much of a choice, something he really despises, but the ranch and the people who live there quickly get under his skin. He starts to feel a part of something he never even knew could exist and starts to understand himself for the first time in his life.
I swear at least one of the authors of this MUST be a psychologist. I just don't know if I could believe that such a character intensive story could be written, especially in the setting of mental heath issues, without that knowledge and background. Because it doesn't just sound like Dale has an internet diagnosis and the plot flows from a breakdown of Wikipedia neurotic disorders, but the story is deeply ingrained in how people see the world and react to one another, both from a social perspective, and from a deeply internalized one. The slow pace and long length allow the authors to really dig deep in the characters, take their time, and let the plot unfold.
I think that a very strong case could be made for shortening some of this. And if this were published and professionally edited (it is remarkably free of mistakes and errors, to me anyway :D), it would no doubt lose quite a lot of length. But a lot of the charm and reason that the characters sunk so deep in my bones and I could feel them like best friends, was because of the time spent with them. Enough time that the pace is much more akin to real life, more than most written works.
Perhaps what is strongest here though, besides how wonderful the characters are and the relationships between them, is the place of Falls Chance Ranch. The whole premise of the rehabilitation of clients, even though it is never called that, is the return to idyllic nature. The meaning of working land and passing it on. Of a place as character, seen through the constant stories of David and Phillip, now long since died in the story, but present characters because of interchangeability of them and the land they became. Seen from the perspective of a man who has become battered by everything artificial in the world, the land, the story and characters, and therefore the book become a similar experience for the reader as the situation is for Dale. It seems like so many of the reviews I've seen of this story have mentioned how people felt so connected to Dale, and that's because when his problems are laid bare, really bare, we can each find a way to connect to them.
I'm completely addicted to this story, and it probably isn't for everyone. There's no sex, which definitely upset me sometimes because the connections are so strong I wanted to see that. In her post, Jen talked about seeing a group of 5 guys work together, and that was simply wonderful. I've never seen such a polyamorous family work in fiction this way. It is very long and has a slow pace. So it might be tedious for some to read. But if you really like digging into stories that won't leave you for a long time and will take you a while to enjoy, then this is definitely for you. I simply cannot wait to read the rest of this series, no matter how much further it will destroy my very detailed reading schedule I had laid out. Who cares? I'll read all those books next week! This week, I want to finish Falls Chance Ranch.
**Note: While technically this is BDSM, the lack of sex and therefore BDSM sexual play really breaks down to the core of dominance and submission and the transference of power.Three Traders(less)
Again, like my reread of the first book, I seemed to love this even more the second time around. I LOVE Dale. Well, I...moreSecond Read - 5/19/13 - 5/22/13
Again, like my reread of the first book, I seemed to love this even more the second time around. I LOVE Dale. Well, I really love all of them! Esp. Riley :) And I have a soft spot for Tom and Jake :D Now on to a re-read of Mustang Hill.
**Spoilers for those who haven't read the first Falls Chance Ranch book**
We left the end of book one as Dale became an official part of the relationship between Riley, Flynn, Jasper and Paul. Three Traders picks up right where the first book left off. Dale has come back to Falls Chance Ranch following his first time back in New York City after his recuperative therapy at the ranch and his epic breakdown. Dale thinks that his dissatisfaction with his old life will keep his three weeks in NYC quitting his job and moving to Wyoming from changing him, but he quickly finds that that isn't the case. He's slipped back into old patterns of obsessive and perfectionistic behavior. Besides, he comes to learn (or Flynn tries to drill into him) that moving to the ranch to be with the men is really like starting over. Before, he was a client and focused solely on bettering his own behavior and learning new methods to cope in life, but entering as part of a relationship opens up whole new areas Dale has no experience with in life, namely commitment. And that is a whole different beast for Dale, still a bit shell shocked by normal, every day interactions and his own head games.
On top of this Dale, Riley and the guys stumble upon a bit of a mystery that needs to be solved, linking the ghost town of Three Traders to the ever present reality of the ranch's past owners, David and Philip, two spirits of the ranch land that Dale desperately needs to feel connected to in order to tell himself that he belongs on the ranch and in the family.
I need to admit something. Last week, when I reviewed the first book I talked extensively about how amazing the slow pace works for this story -- to wade through the deep characterizations as well as Dale's numerous mental health issues -- and partway through this book I felt a bit hypocritical. I started getting a bit dispirited while reading, thinking not more of the same problems! At the end of the first book i was so happy that these problems were treated so in depth and given so much time to work themselves out. It is something that is given a much more real to life pace. Part of this is that I'm reading these stories back to back, so there is significantly slower change like most serials that are meant to be read by installment.
Then, something magical happened. The pace of this story started to pick up with all kinds of wonderful little sub plots (the mines, the town, all the new characters coming to visit!) and I could see that this second book was going to be a story all of it's own. Yes, it continues the first, but it goes further. No matter how much I love these guys, I wouldn't have been able to handle another book one over again with the same issues. I don't know why I lost faith, perhaps because I continually don't know what to expect from these books, but I am so happily surprised by the turns this story took and I was present for every bit of it, unable to put it down for other things. Now that I've finished this second book, I can see how it has built steadily over time, a story arc for the book independently, and a separate overall story arc that is very ingrained into the story and so naturally slow at progressing (which I was so happy about above).
I finished this story feeling like the first book really served as a foundation, in a way a prequel to this story. Where the first book was an in depth exploration of Dale, this book really set out to explore their overall relationship, something that I was insanely curious about. The first book barely even touches on their relationship. Besides the fact that there is no sex, there's barely even any kissing or mention of private time. This book allowed us to peek a little more into what they do and how they interact behind closed doors now that Dale is properly a part of it. We get a lot more detail about the characters and their history, which really pleased me and helped me to get to know them better. They're also becoming a lot closer as a 5 person unit, with a whole new dynamic now that Dale has joined them, and I loved seeing them explore that and finally settle into it by the end of this book. It made me instantly want to see where the third book will go and once again, I doubt I'll get any other reading done in the next few days. I probably won't even be able to go to bed tonight without at least starting Mustang HIll.
This is definitely one of those reviews that I can't stop gushing in, but that's okay I suppose. I've been reading these books totally hooked, and to be honest, that doesn't happen much anymore. I read a lot of wonderful books but perhaps because I've read so much of this genre, I feel like something has to really be different and have a lot of charm for me to feel this wonderful feeling reading. It is something that I only remember from when I first started reading in this genre and reading about gay men in (happy) love felt so wonderful to me as a form of fiction and literature that I'd never read before. This series feels like that to me, and when I finished Three Traders, I felt like I just might like this book even more than the first.(less)