Nadir's Reviews > Bent

Bent by Sean Michael
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's review
Jul 23, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, mature
Read from July 24 to 27, 2011

Bent is a contemporary M/m erotic novel that follows the relationship between Dr Jim Upton and Marcus Goodfellow, the first book written in the Hammer series, of which there are eleven books.

I’m not a fan of contemporary, but I decided to give this book a go because I liked the title, the cover and I was really, really bored. I really wish I hadn’t chosen it. The book is downright disturbing. The dom, Marcus (who is, of course, tall, muscle-bound and bald) stalks and kidnaps a stranger he saw in a bookshop – Jim. He then, despite repeated ‘No’s and ‘Let me go’s drags his victim into his house, spanks him and lets him go. He then stalks Jim some more.

Jim is in a very vulnerable state of mind, being on anxiety medication, living in a cramped apartment he hates, without support from his family or friends. He has no one to turn to. He can’t even go to the police because his trust in them was torn away.

What follows is something that wouldn’t be out of place in a thriller or horror. Marcus repeatedly harasses Jim, who is pressured into one date then taken back to Marcus’ home and spanked until he orgasms. All right, it was a hot, well written scene, but it was still very disturbing when the guy was screaming no at the top of his lungs. Magically, after orgasming, he’s all fine with whatever Marcus wants to do with him.

What really, really creeps me out about this book, it’s not trying to be scary or creepy or negative. It’s trying to show what a healthy BDSM lifestyle looks like. With a dom who can’t hear no, who doesn’t tell his sub to pick a safeword until after he’s raped him a few times, who cuts Jim off from his lawyer, his psychologist, hides his meds - who talks about pushing through Jim’s barriers. Any sub worth their salt knows that last is a trait that should send you running far and hard.

The storyline made me feel physically ill. The characters were cliché and annoying and had the depth of a puddle. The dialogue was repetitive and dull yet still terrifying. The sex scenes were hot... but not when they were surrounded by the casual disregard for the sub’s wellbeing. The structure degenerated about a third of the way in, falling away from being something like a novel to being a series of short stories randomly jumbled together.

I hated it, cover to cover.

Characters: 3/10
Setting: 1/10
Plot: 1/10
Dialogue: 3/10
Overall: 1/10
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Selene (new)

Selene You should try "Deviations: submission". There are loving doms, safe words and everything. :) I hated it : too soft. But no one is the same. I do not need fiction so close to reality. I prefer it closer to my fantasies. But I agree: stalking a guy that way is not... this is obsessive.

Nadir Selene wrote: "You should try "Deviations: submission". There are loving doms, safe words and everything. :) I hated it : too soft. But no one is the same. I do not need fiction so close to reality. I prefer it c..."

No, I don't want something softer. I want something realistic. I like mindfuckery, I like unhealthy warped broken to fuck relationships, I like grit and bile and brutal ugly truth. What I don't like is how the author think this relationship is wholesome and fun. Why else would they write their sub character blithely accepting rape as a sort of courtship? Or a pair of seemingly sane doms who run the tattoo parlour? They were happy about the abuse they were seeing. Why wasn't Jim creeped out and in a state of constant unease at the fact Marcus was controlling who he could talk to, restricting contact with his doctor and solicitor, stealing his medication?

That stuff happening in a book - I'm fine with. It's fiction. I understand the difference between pretend and reality. But when the characters playing out that fantasy are not reacting in a realistic manner? It becomes highly squicky, because it doesn't just show what the characters believe, but what the author believes. As a member of the BDSM culture, it freaks me out that anyone out there can think what lies between Jim and Marcus is anything less than abuse.

If the author had portrayed the relationship in that way, with Jim aware on some level he was trapped in a living hell, and if the two doms showed any concern, then I would be much much happier.

Danny Tyran Maybe you should read "How to Rape a Straight Guy". Don't juge too fast, just relying on the title. You should read reviews here and on Amazon to get an better idea. From your comment, you should love this book.

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