A.B. Gayle's Reviews > Axel's Pup

Axel's Pup by Kim Dare
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it was amazing
bookshelves: bdsm, glbt-romance

It's no secret that writing long books has always been physically demanding for Kim Dare. She's produced a couple in the past, but often we have had to be content with her shorter offerings.

When I saw the length of her latest release I nearly "creamed my jeans" to borrow a cliched phrase. I would even have been happy if she'd stopped at the halfway mark as already I'd got more than my money's worth. But then I would have missed out on so much more good stuff. Each added chapter served a purpose that once you read it you realized that it's absence would have been missed. So many books nowadays seem to have filler scenes (especially sex scenes) to get word count. Not here.

As I've said on many occasions, I'm not a fan of shifters, shedders and suckers. Yet in this book, the fact that Bayden is a werewolf is critical to the plot. Not because that makes him stronger than most. He is. Not that it makes him heal quickly. He does. But more important is what it means to be a pack animal in a world where they are denigrated, despised and disliked.

Being this strong, isolated, quick healer makes it much harder for a human to give him a safe place to explore the submissive side of his nature. Pain is not a threat and his past experiences where he has given himself sexually means that even that is not a way "in".

The politics behind the story is paramount. Even to the extent of not being able to have more than two adults living together.

In Queensland, the police have gone tough on bikie gangs, imposing similar stupid arbitary restrictions about riding together in public. Perhaps some have earned it, but for others this feeling they belonged to a 'family' is at the heart of their psyche. So denying them the right to show it hurts.

Much of the book is taken up with this world building, but it's not all about that. It's also about expressing your desires.

There were some lovely bits at the start when Axel struggled to get his sub to understand this and he only achieved it in a small way by depriving him of the things he enjoyed until he learned to admit these things.

Other aspects of punishing and penance were explored. Particularly difficult when it is almost impossible to punish someone physically when they can withstand pain so well and heal so quickly.

I felt for Axel as he had to throw the rule book aside and approach everything from a different angle.

There were a couple of typos such as "Whose" for "Who's" and a couple of other similar mistakes, but the writing, generally, was excellent. Kim has never been the type of author people will marvel about because of beautifully expressed emotions or elegant description. The words are just the tools to get the thoughts and emotions across.

It's the concepts behind her words that always makes more of an impression on me. Here's some examples
"What about what you want?
Bayden shook his head, rubbing his cheek against Axel in the process. "Not important."
"It's important to me."
So simply expressed, but in just a few words, she's targetted one of the aspects of "True Love".

Here's another one:
"Real submission isn't about faking how you feel. It's not about hiding things. It's about offering up your every thought, your every emotion and trusting me to use them wisely.
Many writers miss this last bit and see it as just being the part of what a submissive is supposed to do. To me, that concept of using his submission wisely is at the heart of this book as Axel slowly convinces Bayden to be honest about his wants and desires. So often he's held back by what he thought was expected, relying on lessons instilled in him by family, species history and conquering humans.

I loved the fact that Axel tried to understand what these were. Looked at the ones that were important and tried to teach him how so many others were not. Throughout this process, Bayden was fighting against the main rule he'd been taught:
Giving a human information to use against him was stupid, wasn't it?
So trust was very slowly earned.

And with that came love.
"I love you pup-every bit of you. You'll never need to lie to me abouth anything, or to hide anything from me.
But this isn't just true of a D/s relationship. It's true of any relationship. It's when you've found a person that this is true for that you've discovered your life's mate. Too often it's the opposite.
"Telling someone you'll accept them as long as they pretend to be someone they're not-that's not real acceptance.

To give the story flesh, there is a great cast of characters. No doubt they will feature in future books. We've already met Griz and Evan, but I look forward to hearing about the cop, Hale, the embodiment of everything Bayden and other werewolves hate. In the course of this story, his attitude changes as does that of others Bayden comes into contact with.

Given the decrease in output recently, I was concerned that Kim had burned herself out. It must have been much harder to write such a long story, but the wait was worth it. Sure some of the themes are present in all her D/s stories, but they came together beautifully balanced in this book.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 13, 2015 – Shelved

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