DeadGirl Drama's Reviews > As She's Told

As She's Told by Anneke Jacob
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Aug 31, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: bdsm, erotica, captivity, romance, objectification, pony-play, power-exchange, slavery
Read from August 22 to 29, 2010

“Intimate, Compelling and Disturbing”

The Plot: Anders comes from a large and lively Danish family. He’s an active dominant in the local BDSM scene, but his past relationships just haven’t quite fit the bill. He is tired of playing games, of role-playing at D/s with only half-hearted submissives.

From a very young age, Maia has had unusual fantasies. As a small child, she would play at being kept in a cage and dreamt longingly of being forced to submit to her captor. As she grew older, “normal” relationships — even normal D/s relationships — never seemed to quite meet her needs. She was often out of place in social settings — a loner lurking as a “shadow” on the periphery.

When an exchange in an online chatroom brings the two together, it seems as if they each may have found their match in life. But will Anders’ desire to own someone, to make someone his slave, his “human chattel,” be too much for Maia to handle? Or will Maia’s need and desire to be wholly owned overcome the odds and endure?

Zelda’s Take: As She’s Told is at once a fascinating and disturbing glimpse into what becomes an absolute, one-sided, total power exchange. I found the book wholly captivating and, despite it’s length, had a really hard time putting it down.

I truly felt for Maia. I felt for her as a social outcast and as someone who desires something so totally beyond the mainstream that it is hard for her to even admit to herself that it’s what she truly wants. Not to mention to hope to ever actually find someone to give her what she wants. I connected with her very much in this way, but despite this, Maia repeatedly surprises and shocks me throughout the book. I found myself continually surprised at how committed she was to becoming a slave, no matter the extremity of the situations Anders presented her. She jumps in with both feet almost immediately and remains unwavering in her resolve to submit to Anders desires throughout — definitely a stronger woman than I. She endures unbelievable pain and humiliation, isolation and subjugation at Anders hands. In Maia’s mind, it truly is about relinquishing her self, wholly and without reservation, about overcoming her own mind; she is no longer a thinking person or soul, but rather a tool, a body existing solely to perform tasks, reduced to base, animalistic functions.

This concept just blows my mind in general. It makes me sad for Maia. She’s a beautiful, intelligent person who has great value to society, yet she is essentially committing psychological suicide when she turns herself over to Anders. And it makes me really dislike Anders for being so sadistic that he essentially snuffs the life out of Maia in the process of owning her, and doesn’t bat an eyelash over it. But it is, after all, what she wants, and to each his or her own. It just seems so tragic to me.

I was saddened that Anders acknowledges that he enjoys conversing with Maia and that she provides great insights to help him attain his goals outside their relationship, yet he is satisfied with forcing her to silence for eight long weeks, driving Maia to a point where she has difficulty conversing at all once back in the real world. I was disturbed that Anders intentionally kept Maia at such a state of arousal without ever allowing her to obtain release, that she is literally driven crazy with need to a point of shamelessly humping anything and everything in sight as would a dog. I was especially bothered by the point when Anders begins to bring other people into their relationship, and forces Maia to service his female friends, despite the fact that the females treat Maia horribly and she has an obvious distaste for female domination. In the end, of all the crazy mindplay in this book, this seems to me to be the true turning point for their relationship — the point where Anders has truly dominated Maia — because he has controlled her to the point where she learns to perform even in a situation that is markedly against the grain of her moral and personal fiber.

Tragedy and depravity aside, the M/s relationship that develops between Anders and Maia is beautiful, sexy and strangely alluring. As with many of my recent reviews, the sexual interplay in this book is not for the faint of heart or BDSM-averse reader, but damn, there are some really great scenes. And the contraptions! Oh. My. God. The devices that Anders creates for Maia are enough to make any bondage fanatic go totally weak in the knees — Anneke Jacob’s imagination here is truly remarkable.

Surprisingly, the only thing about this book that I felt was a bit gratuitous and out of place (verging on annoying at times) is the constant political thread of homelessness and insufficient public housing in the world. I gather that it is a subplot to add depth and nuance to Anders’ character, but it tended toward preachy and really didn’t make sense to me as something that moved the story along.

All in all, however, Jacob’s writing throughout is solid and complex; the emotional connection she inspires is striking. Definitely worth the effort.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Kitty (new)

Kitty Thomas I want to read this one though I will totally have to skim right past the femdom stuff. That hits my squick button. I read Anneke Jacob's other book, Owned and Owner, and couldn't get through it. It's not a "bad book", it's just that there were things that made it too hard for me to read.

But I plan to read it again and find out how my views with regards to the book change over time. I'm sure I'll eventually make peace with it.

Despite the extreme negative reactions some parts of Owned and Owner inspired in me and I'm sure As She's Told will inspire in me, I greatly admire Anneke for having the courage to write these books. Things like this need to be out there that push boundaries.

DeadGirl Drama I think you'll find that As She's Told is much different than Owned and Owner. The premise alone seems to me to be much more down to earth. I haven't read O&O, but that's just from my review of the synopsis... I plan to pick up O&O soon, so we'll see! I really did find this one fascinating and inspiring.

DeadGirl Drama Oh, and the femdom stuff is minor, although it's funny, of everything that happens in the book, that was the stuff that turned me the most, too! Just not my thang. ;)

message 4: by Kitty (new)

Kitty Thomas LOL yes I do not like women domming women. Not judging other people who are into it, just totally not my kink.

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