Anachronist's Reviews > The Siren

The Siren by Tiffany Reisz
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Sep 03, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: they-suck-section, no-no, we-deserve-anihilation
Read on September 03, 2012

Synopsis:
New York. Nora Sutherlin, a successful erotica writer, is trying to sell her latest novel to a respectable publishing house. She thinks it is her best and the most personal book so far and she hopes it will establish her position as a serious, professional writer. The publishers are willing to buy it, and pay her a six-number advance fee, but under one condition: she will revise it with their editor. Nora agrees; in fact she wants the best editor they have because this time she wants to do it right. She is allotted Zach/Zechariah Easton, a former Oxford lecturer straight from the British Isles, a real professional but hardly a fan of erotica. The fate of her book, and her career, depends on him.

Will Nora be able to sell her book? Will Zach cooperate with her? What will she and her editor learn during their cooperation? Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

My impressions:

Overall I think the author was trying too hard to make this story original. With so many BDSM novels on the market, representing every possible flavour, from mild romance to hard-core porn, it is a daunting task, I am sure of it. Still trying too hard is more often than not a bad strategy – even worse than not trying at all. It might make you write bad things and masquerade them as good. Perhaps it was supposed to be ‘the’ feature marking this book as something different than your ordinary Harlequin fare, something dashing and new. I saw many positive reviews which described this novel as such but in my case it was a failure.

First let me tell you that presenting sexual relationship between an adult and a minor as a form of entertainment is child pornography, full stop. Nothing can be considered a sufficient explanation or justification of including such things in an erotica novel, not even the consensual character of the intercourse. Be warned- this book crosses the decency borderline in more than one way. (view spoiler)

Now something which stuck out as completely weird and immature from the beginning to the very end- the appearance of the characters. Everybody and anybody in this novel is ridiculously good-looking. Nora is a beautiful petite brunette with the right curves to muscles ratio. Zach, her editor is a blue-eyed, dark-haired wonder of a man, over six feet tall and built like a young god (or at least a professional tennis player – those strong arms and flat stomach). Wesley, Nora’s live-in assistant, is a handsome epitome of an American kid from Kentucky – brown eyes, a thatch of blond hair, tanned skin and the mandatory six-pack belly. Søren, oh dear… he is even taller than Zach, obviously he had to be the tallest, at least according to his creator he was a kind of god almighty in miniature after all. Should I also mention his arctic-blue eyes, platinum-blond hair and, generally excellent physique more appropriate for a Michelangelo sculpture than for a priest? Of course the beauty pageant doesn’t end with the main characters. After a while that overindulgence in handsomeness became a pet-hate of mine; by the way I am sure Kirkegaard, a fierce critic of idealists, is turning in his grave. Laughing hard. Now do these types remind you of something? When was the last time you saw so many good-looking people in one place? In a movie? Soap opera perchance? In a glossy magazine? A tv add? Not on a real street of course? Exactly my thoughts…

Now let me pass to the characterization itself. People in this novel all have one main flaw – too many ‘buts’ attached. It often happens when an author wants to twist the ball too much. Let me illustrate that affliction by describing Nora, the main female lead, in more detail. Her nom-de-plume is Nora Sutherlin BUT her real name is Eleanor Schreiber (from German ‘schreiben’ meaning "to write" so we can be sure she chose her career right). She is an author of very adult, very kinky books BUT she adores children’s novels. She looks pretty young (being petite and all) and she has a way with children BUT she is also rather blunt with her language and one of the most feared Dommes around. She is into BDSM big time BUT deep down she is a very caring, compassionate woman ( her relationship with Wesley is the proof). She has a live-in toy boy called an assistant BUT it is not as it seems, they don’t have sex as he is a male virgin and a Methodist. She has a lot of sex appeal and she loves bed games and indecent lingerie BUT deep down she is just that lost, poor sweetie with bad experiences, looking for real love in all the wrong places (cue in the violin in the background)… I could continue that list for a while and please, don’t even let me start describing Soren, the badass Catholic priest. While I am more than pleased to tollerate a character with two-three buts, exceeding that number is not a good idea and in the case of most of characters I encountered here it was DEFINITELY NOT a good idea. Too many buts don’t equate very complex, freshly original creations. Heroes with such an affliction feel spurious to me at best.

Now the style. The book was well-written but it seemed, from time to time, that the editor took a nap or went out to buy some coffee and got assaulted by a brain thief who dumbed him/her down. As a result a man (Zach) is getting an erection just because he can stroke a red Aston Martin, the car of the infamous James Bond. Like, really stroking, from bumber to bumper. And pressing the horn. Oh dear, is this boy really fortyish ? Then I found such a lovely sentence: ” (…) the dawn of her body meeting the horizon of his.” Editor – we have an emergency! Similar emergencies can be found in many sexual intercourse scenes. They were strangely bland and mechanical, sometimes even painfully so – I don’t know why but such was my personal perception.

The cherry on the top of the cake should be left at the very end, right? Here it is. One name. Søren. A Catholic priest, a Jesuit to boot, who is also a BDSM god and the former Master of Nora. An extremely gifted sadist who can make you love the pain. He didn’t work for me. Not even for one second. Now one simple question. How come? How it was even possible? Although I can easily imagine Catholic sadists or even sado-masochists as they follow their proclivities masquerading them as acts of devotion (all these crucifixes around, poenitentiam agite, flogging, hair shirts etc) I really was astounded by the fact that Søren, a simple parson, managed to hide his double life (and a lover) so long from his brothers and sisters. Ok, mainly from his brothers. Imagine it or not but Catholic priests are not merely ornamental, they do have a lot of duties to perform and they rarely work alone, not in one of big city parishes anyway. They surely wouldn’t have time to hang around kinky clubs and carry on romances, no matter in what form. Not to mention the fact that somebody would notice, sooner or later. I don’t say priests never engage in such activities because of course it can happen. I am saying it is never as offhand and casual as presented here and take it from a girl born and raised in a Catholic country. Simply unreal. And the great looks of Søren would make it even more impossible because he would be watched and judged constantly by his eager parishioners, easier to remember and recognize. You can trick one man for a long time and you can trick plenty of people for a short time – but never both.

Final verdict:

I really cannot recommend this book to anyone with clear conscience. I don’t say it because I am a religious prude or because I am against smearing the Catholic Church or BDSM. I say so mainly because it is bad literature masquerading as something new, ground-breaking and exciting using the oldest trick possible - sex.
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02/21/2016 marked as: no-no

Comments (showing 1-50 of 52) (52 new)


message 2: by Baba (new)

Baba  Holy cow! What a review. Awesome, Anachronist!

First let me tell you that presenting sexual relationship between an adult and a minor as a form of entertainment is child pornography, full stop.

That's exactly what I found pretty disgusting from the get-go when everyone was raving about this book. I didn't want to read it and after reading your review I am so NOT going to read this book!

Nothing can be considered a sufficient explanation or justification of including such things in an erotica novel, not even the consensual character of the intercourse.

Agreed!


When was the last time you saw so many good-looking people in one place? In a movie? Soap opera perchance? In a glossy magazine? A tv add? Not on a real street of course? Exactly my thoughts…

Read Bared to You by Sylvia Day (a copy of Fifty) and you'll get your answer.


(…) the dawn of her body meeting the horizon of his.”

???????


One name. Søren. A Catholic priest, a Jesuit to boot, who is also a BDSM god and the former Master of Nora. An extremely gifted sadist who can make you love the pain.

No comment. Er...maybe this...it's fiction.


I say so mainly because it is bad literature masquerading as something new, ground-breaking and exciting using the oldest trick possible - sex.

It's a fact that sex sells. BDSM sells. Taboo sells.


Photobucket

No...just no. Thanks.


Anachronist Baba your comment is actually better than my review.

Rameau, you devious thing!


message 4: by Baba (new)

Baba  Anachronist wrote: "Baba your comment is actually better than my review.

Rameau, you devious thing!"


Nah. You are hugely exaggerating, my lovely. Your review is fantastic.


message 5: by Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) (last edited Sep 03, 2012 01:15PM) (new) - added it

Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) "First let me tell you that presenting sexual relationship between an adult and a minor as a form of entertainment is child pornography, full stop. Nothing can be considered a sufficient explanation or justification of including such things in an erotica novel, not even the consensual character of the intercourse."

A thousand freaking times this. I can't believe how much hypocrisy surrounds this book and author. How disgusting.

Though now I understand why Harlequin keeps advertising this as "if you like Fifty Shades". Nora is the exact same thing as the Mrs. Robinson character from that fic. The exact same thing. (Though at least someone was calling it what it was in that story.)

And before V says anything, no I'm not letting it go. It's just so fucking hypocritical. How can she not see the difference?

And not even try to tell me *** that a handjob is not a sexual act because it is.

Thank you. I often wonder what world people live in that they believe something like that.

The Søren thing sounds like it's trying to be gratuitously shocking. Is that about right?


rameau Alicia wrote: "And before V says anything, no I'm not letting it go. It's just so fucking hypocritical. How can she not see the difference?"

How can I not see the difference or how can the author not see it? I think you're talking about the author.

I thought it was a rape because he wasn't old enough to consent. (view spoiler)

Yes, that's about right for Søren's character. Trying so very hard. I would have liked his character more had he actually remained celibate apart from beating people up, but (view spoiler)


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) rameau wrote: "Alicia wrote: "And before V says anything, no I'm not letting it go. It's just so fucking hypocritical. How can she not see the difference?"

How can I not see the difference or how can the author ..."


"She" as in the author. She is lacking self-awareness as minimum. I agree with you though. I may not agree with the way YA glorifies shit kids shouldn't be doing, but there is a vast and total difference between that and an adult with an underage child. (view spoiler)

To be honest, I really want to find a (Catholic) priest falling in love and choosing between the priesthood and a woman story. But this just sounds kind of creepy and nonsensical, especially that last part you said.


rameau Alicia wrote: "To be honest, I really want to find a (Catholic) priest falling in love and choosing between the priesthood and a woman story. But this just sounds kind of creepy and nonsensical, especially that last part you said. "

If done well, I'd want to read that too. I've read a couple attempts but nothing good. Did I mention Nora was sanctified for making men's decisions for them? Well, she is. I liked it when Søren was making Nora face a few uncomfortable truths, but I hated that the sex was part of it.

As for the spoiler part: (view spoiler)


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) rameau wrote: "If done well, I'd want to read that too. I've read a couple attempts but nothing good. Did I mention Nora was sanctified for making men's decisions for them? Well, she is. I liked it when Søren was making Nora face a few uncomfortable truths, but I hated that the sex was part of it."

Oh, one of those 'she's a strong woman because she takes charge' but really it's paternalistic bullshit? Also sounds like the "making men's decisions for them" includes whether or not they'll be having sex with her. Nice.

Wow. That spoiler. Ew. I just think I'm going to go vomit a little bit and then put on my "Super Judging You" cap. (Not judging *you*, V.)


rameau Alicia wrote: "Wow. That spoiler. Ew. I just think I'm going to go vomit a little bit and then put on my "Super Judging You" cap. (Not judging *you*, V.) "

And then, as Anachronist mentioned, he thanks her for saving him by making him think he's normal and not a freak for his urges.

The decision making for the good of everyone else wasn't even on top of my list of "things that are there to show she's a strong character when in fact she's not." It was mostly the fact that instead of admitting she has a problem with intimacy (and not just sex intimacy but "hold me close" intimacy) she (view spoiler) You know, instead of what a normal person would have done and admitted to him that she really needs to work on this and maybe he shouldn't stay around to wait while she figures it out, but she'd love it he did stay.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Oh, well then. He thanks her. That makes (view spoiler) totally okay!

An adult showing emotional maturity instead of running around like a frightened idiot pretending that means strength? The devil you say! We can't have that. Where will the conflict come from?!

We may have topped off my sarcasm meter with this comment.


rameau I'm starting to think that this book is doing more harm than good in portraying BDSM as a natural part of someone's sex life. Not because of the beatings because when you're with a person you trust you get to choose how far to go with it, but because simply being introduced to the life so early on (view spoiler) and (view spoiler) it basically stunted her emotional growth. She's not a thirty three year old woman, she's a teen faking being an adult.

It still makes her an interesting character, but interesting characters aren't the same thing as a good story.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) I totally agree with you. That's too freaking young to be locked into anything. Especially something like this.

Also, WTF (view spoiler)?!


message 14: by Anachronist (last edited Sep 04, 2012 03:12AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anachronist Oh dear, quite a discussion and I am so far behind.

First of all : yes, this book tried to persuade you that sexual predators are completely normal human beings, just more interesting than the ordinary people. They are tolerated and revered in the BDSM community and they are clearly better/more handsome/more skilled in bed. It is utter rubbish. What's more, as long as their underage victims agree they can do what they think is the best for them. It seems this author never heard of psychological manipulation and the power of authority.

I completely agree that Nora/Eleanor was a spoiled teen girl hidden in the body of an adult woman. (view spoiler). Still it doesn't justify her choices. She could have asked how old that kid was before (view spoiler). That fact only shows that she is one big control freak not unlike her beloved priest and mentor.

I'm starting to think that this book is doing more harm than good in portraying BDSM as a natural part of someone's sex life.

I completely agree and let me be clear once again: sadism is nothing normal. Masochism is nothing normal. It's not only about mixing your pleasure with pain. Sooner or later these people cross every possible line and somebody dies as a result. They are like drug addicts, they cannot stop it, the only difference is that their drug of choice is pain - their own or somebody's else.

And then, as Anachronist mentioned, he thanks her for saving him by making him think he's normal and not a freak for his urges.

It was one of the most disgusting scenes because so totally wrong. That poor kid was a victim of two adult manipulators and he wasn't even aware of it.

To be honest, I really want to find a (Catholic) priest falling in love and choosing between the priesthood and a woman story. But this just sounds kind of creepy and nonsensical, especially that last part you said.

I know a few of such stories; unfortunately they are real life, no fiction. Some ended well, some ended badly.

Soren is as false as a priest as a plastic coin. His only saving grace is the fact that he is not a pedophile...but actually I am not so sure anymore. It also rang very false that (view spoiler)

I do think there's a difference between two teens roughly the same age learning about their bodies' sexuality and a woman eighteen years his senior

Completely agreed. Such age disparity matters - a lot.


rameau I had it in one of my review versions but I might have erased it at some point. (view spoiler)

Are you starting to understand why the (view spoiler) didn't really register as rape for me?


rameau Anachronist wrote: "Oh dear, quite a discussion and I am so far behind.

First of all : yes, this book tried to persuade you that sexual predators are completely normal human beings, just more interesting than the ord..."


I think Cyndy said it on her thread that she thought Nora/Søren relationship was closer to Master/slave relationship than a normal Dominant/submissive relationship. I really don't know enough to make the distinction but I can see how that could be.

As for what is normal and what's not... there's a difference between spicing up your sex life and wholly giving yourself to that life. I do agree that the characters in this book weren't healthy individuals rather than the addictive sort. They are the people to whom you offer a shot of whiskey to and they start drinking and never stop. Then there are the people who take that one shot and go to bed for a night. I do think that in some instances and for some people sadism and masochism can be a pleasurable thing, that spice they might indulge on occasionally but don't feel the need to drown in it.

I just don't feel like dismissing all people who enjoy those things because of the unhealthy characters in one book.


message 17: by Anachronist (last edited Sep 04, 2012 03:33AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anachronist rameau wrote: "I had it in one of my review versions but I might have erased it at some point.

It was a sick scene but also one that showed clearly that something was VERY wrong with Soren. He couldn't react like a normal person would react even though it was clear and obvious he was harming his beloved and she didn't enjoy it at all. Was he an automaton, waiting just for that one specific word? Blaming her afterwards was even sickier (but of course if you are weaker you are always guilty, right? Sieg heil!)


Are you starting to understand why the (scene)didn't really register as rape for me?"

I understand it very well. They were two adults, roughly the same age taking a decision. He could walk away but decided to continue.


message 18: by Anachronist (last edited Sep 04, 2012 03:32AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anachronist rameau wrote:"I do agree that the characters in this book weren't healthy individuals rather than the addictive sort. They are the people to whom you offer a shot of whiskey to and they start drinking and never stop. Then there are the people who take that one shot and go to bed for a night. I do think that in some instances and for some people sadism and masochism can be a pleasurable thing, that spice they might indulge on occasionally but don't feel the need to drown in it.

I just don't feel like dismissing all people who enjoy those things because of the unhealthy characters in one book. "


My remarks are limited only to the characters of this book. I know close to nothing about the BDSM people so I cannot judge them. Of course there is a vast difference between a guy who (metaphorically speaking) enjoys a shot or two of whiskey from time to time, fully controlling himself, and a guy who, as soon as he starts drinking, cannot stop till he drops unconscious. It seems to me that Soren and Nora were that second sort of guys, completely uncontrollable and not even fully aware of their problem.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) I'm about to go to sleep and you guys have said a lot of things. I agree with them all. Well, at the end, I think it's possible to be primarily into the BDSM lifestyle for sexual gratification and still be an emotionally and psychologically healthy adult. It's just the fine lines and you guys have made clear these characters aren't healthy in any way. And they're continuing the cycle of victimization (view spoiler).

Yes, it sounds like (view spoiler) wouldn't register as much compared to the other, apparently numerous, examples of rape in this book. I can't even keep up with how many we've discussed at this point.

Ah, damn, I want a fiction conflicted priest story. I shall keep looking. You're right, the Soren thing makes absolutely no sense. I can't even wrap my head around how that would work.

The more I think about it (and the more fucked up monstrosities I hear about the next book, etc.) the more I think this might be as bad if not worse for the public perception of BDSM than *that* fic.

I honestly feel like beating my head into a wall right now that Harlequin actually published this thing and it's (apparently) interminable sequels. And that people actually love it. I don't get where the "intelligent erotica" comes into play here. It sounds like an author desperate to be shocking and different and throwing vats of fucked up spaghetti at the wall to see what will stick.


message 20: by Anachronist (last edited Sep 04, 2012 07:53AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anachronist I think Cyndy said it on her thread that she thought Nora/Søren relationship was closer to Master/slave relationship than a normal Dominant/submissive relationship. I really don't know enough to make the distinction but I can see how that could be.

Correct me if I am mistaken but, basing on other BDSM novels I've read Master/slave is far more permanent than Dom/sub. A slave is often a live-in 24/7 partner (?) and his/her master simply decides about anything in their life. Dom/sub sometimes pair up for one night only.

wouldn't register as much compared to the other, apparently numerous, examples of rape in this book. I can't even keep up with how many we've discussed at this point.

Have I mentioned that (view spoiler) ?


rameau Anachronist wrote: "Correct me if I am mistaken but, basing on other BDSM novels I've read Master/slave is far more permanent than Dom/sub. A slave is often a live-in 24/7 partner (?) and his/her master simply decides about anything in their life. Dom/sub sometimes pair up for one night only."

That's my understanding as well, though, usually both parties sign a contract to protect themselves. Here, Søren and Nora—apparently—had that level of codependency for each other but without the signed contract. The safe word was the magic word that could undo everything, except it didn't.

Rape, the gift that keeps on giving in this book.


Anachronist I've just checked all those shiny 5-star reviews. I think I need some vodka. :headdesk:


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Anachronist wrote: "Have I mentioned that (view spoiler)?"

Well that just makes sense. Sounds like his home life was nothing but one big rapefest.

What I've learned: Wanting to watch rapists and predators get caught and punished is bad. Making it a pervasive and titillating part of an erotica, totally good!

I've seen four and five star reviews in my feed, I won't go look at others that are there. I...there's just...what in the actual fuck? And those people probably need to STFU about the content of FSoG. Just because there isn't a romance presented in this book doesn't mean it's not just as abusive, and worse in many other ways.

Now that I've had to be, in an way, positive about *that* fic I'm going to go drink myself into a stupor.


message 24: by Anachronist (last edited Sep 05, 2012 12:52AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anachronist Alicia wrote: "Just because there isn't a romance presented in this book doesn't mean it's not just as abusive, and worse in many other ways. "

I am unhappy to tell you that romance is present as well. Of course not the 'vanilla' romance as the main heroine, Nora, is a woman who would like to a) eat a cake, b) have a cake, c) sell the same cake for a lot of money.

She is in love with (view spoiler)


rameau I'm still not quite over the fact that Grace (view spoiler)


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Wait, so are we adding (view spoiler) to the infinite list of fucked up malarkey in this book?? Why not. Just...why not.

I think the "it's not a romance" line is used to excuse some of the absolute bullshit in this book. I wouldn't classify it as such, but not to excuse anything. It just isn't (like Beautiful Disaster and FSoG aren't romances). I think that's why V preempted it at the end of her review.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Oh, I didn't see V's response before I hit post on mine. So that's an affirmative on that question. AND SHE GETS THANKED FOR IT. Hello, (view spoiler) Mary Sue!

What is this fucking book?


Anachronist Someone needed to hate Nora and I do mean with fiery passion with or without a good reason.

Mission impossible. She is such a beautiful, little thing she can get away with practically ANYTHING.

I think the "it's not a romance" line is used to excuse some of the absolute bullshit in this book. I wouldn't classify it as such, but not to excuse anything.

According to the Romance Writers of America "Novels in this genre (romance) place their primary focus on the relationship and romantic love between two people, and must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
Ok, it is not romance sensu stricto. Still you might argue that the ending was satisfying (view spoiler)


rameau Better option for Wes would have been (view spoiler)


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) But I thought (view spoiler)? And good for Wesley.


rameau (view spoiler)


message 32: by Anachronist (last edited Sep 05, 2012 03:34AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Anachronist Alicia wrote: "But I thought [spoilers removed]? And good for Wesley."

I actually based my comment on the excerpt from the next book in the series, The Angel, available on Amazon as a sneak peek. (view spoiler)

And no, I am sure poor Wes is not out of it.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Ah, I see what you're saying.


message 34: by Celesha (new)

Celesha Carillo Omg I love your review! I didn't even read all of the book it made me sick from when I realised it crosses the line with sex with minors I couldn't even entertain it. Brilliant review!


Anachronist Zulakya wrote: "Omg I love your review! I didn't even read all of the book it made me sick from when I realised it crosses the line with sex with minors I couldn't even entertain it. Brilliant review!"

Thanks Zulakya. Now let me go and blush somewhere private. :)


message 36: by MaryReadsRomance (new)

MaryReadsRomance Awesome review. Thank you for taking a stand. Too many trusting people are getting sucked into this black hole by the overwhelming positive reviews. I was one of them and have thankfully seen the light - but not soon enough to not be left with regrets and the need for a brain bleaching!


message 37: by Steelwhisper (new) - added it

Steelwhisper Great review! Coming to this discussion late, as I'm just reading The Siren.

Correct me if I am mistaken but, basing on other BDSM novels I've read Master/slave is far more permanent than Dom/sub. A slave is often a live-in 24/7 partner (?) and his/her master simply decides about anything in their life. Dom/sub sometimes pair up for one night only.

I am a BDSMer and I am a sadist. But hell no! This book did not depict so far any BDSM, and I'm half way through.

What it shows is abuse and assault. It's not as if that didn't exist under the pretext of BDSM. The current rape, assault and abuse rate among BDSMers is double that of the vanilla population!

Yes, this book does disservice to BDSM, because it distorts the concept of what BDSM means. As to Nora, she is--I beg your pardon--a whore. She engages in sex against money, that's the qualifier. That the sex isn't penetrative doesn't mean a thing in that context.

Calling her a normal Domme or BDSMer, as in likening her to the (non-prostituting) kinkster, is the opposite of respectful of people in the lifestyle. Her behaviour so far is nothing I have met in person in another kinkster myself.


Anachronist Thanks for the explanation - greatly appreciated!


message 39: by Irena (new) - rated it 1 star

Irena Čačić As some of you, I didn't finish the book too. It was so full of rubbish, and as Anachronist said, when someone is trying to write something so badly it ends poorly like this book.
Great review.


Anachronist Irena wrote: "As some of you, I didn't finish the book too. It was so full of rubbish, and as Anachronist said, when someone is trying to write something so badly it ends poorly like this book.
Great review."


Thank you!


Bonnie So I have to agree that the 15 year old really made me kinda sick, then has an orgasm with S, THEN has sex in the car with Z not an hour after all that. Grossed me out. However I must say I kinda had to roll my eyes at some of the things you say in your review. First off, its a story. Do things have to be real life in stories? No. Second, you say that priests are watched and never alone so couldnt ever do what he does? Really? In real life how did all those priests have sex with children then? Its a story for heavens sake. The writer is trying to tell you something but you missed it. Thats ok, most of us understand what she is trying to say but please, oh please dont think that these things dont or cant happen because you would be sadly disappointed to know that they do, just like judges, doctors, actors, housewives and such are in the kink lifestyle, yes even a priest or two.


message 42: by Angel (new)

Angel Bonnie, the problem isn't that Soren is a priest and also a BDSMer, the problem is that when you add up all the facts, it just isn't feasible. Soren is supposed to be a strikingly attractive and authoritative priest. SOMEONE in his congregation would notice his appearance, appreciate it, pursue him, and then eventually find out about his sex life. And if you know church-goers, you know they are gossips. And while BDSM is somewhat taboo, child molestation is even more: it's illegal and wrong, and people love hiding their heads in the sand about it. BDSM is seen as sensational, scandalous, and to some, desirable. SOMEONE would talk. There is no way he could keep his lifestyle under the radar. This is why Soren's entire persona could not work in real life. And stories, as you might have noticed, usually imitate life (unless they are fantasy, which this book is not). But Reisz keeps some things (like the publishing process, the existence of safewords in BDSM, bodily functions, etc.) true, expects us to entertain certain other fallacies (like an "attractive" predator priest only preys on one teenage girl but doesn't touch her until she's 20 and NOBODY notices, etc). This author is not saying anything but, "Forget your rational expectations of life and enjoy my unrealistic yet realistic, clearly overdone BDSM book." Unfortunately, you and many others have bought into this silliness wholeheartedly. Your comment suggests we do the same, as you say, "First off, its a story. Do things have to be real life in stories? No. Second, you say that priests are watched and never alone so couldnt ever do what he does? Really? In real life how did all those priests have sex with children then? Its a story for heavens sake." So we are supposed to suspend our belief that priests (especially the obviously attractive ones) don't normally engage in BDSM but if they did they'd get found out, because this is a book? But then you turn around and say that many priests have sex with many children and don't get caught to...what? Remind us of that reality we are supposed to suspend? Are you secretly Tiffany Reisz? This hypocrisy is looking familiar. To be frank, this book is bad. The author is what I like to call a Try-Hard McGee. But for all her trying to prove/explain/say whatever ridiculous point she has in mind, she fails.


Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) Angel wrote: "Bonnie, the problem isn't that Soren is a priest and also a BDSMer, the problem is that when you add up all the facts, it just isn't feasible. Soren is supposed to be a strikingly attractive and au..."

A+ response, Angel! I totally agree, especially about Reisz.

You know what kills me? When it comes to people defending these shitty BDSM books (fics) that are supposed to be realistic fiction someone always busts out with some form of, "Do things have to be real life in stories? No." Then when it comes to fanboys defending all the rape and misogyny in some questionable fantasy novel with dragons or magic and shit it's, "but it was realistic for the time!!!1!"


message 44: by Steelwhisper (last edited Jul 16, 2015 11:17PM) (new) - added it

Steelwhisper LOL, and what really kills me, as the actual real BDSMer here, is that people call this "BDSM". It isn't. It's nowhere close to being BDSM. You say there are safewords, well where are they in relation to Nora and Soren? He gets to beat her up until she needs to go to hospital, and she is convinced he may do that.

She states that as she is in a certain club he has the right to do that. That's complete bullcrap! You don't ever lose your capacity to say "no" in BDSM. You don't even need a safeword. The moment you want out, you are out of play, and your partner has to accept that. Even in Master/slave ROLEPLAY. Because that's what it is: roleplay only. Nowhere in the western world is actual slavery legal. Or ethically defensible. Nowhere.

It's hence abuse and sexual assault, as well as statutory rape in several instances (both of Nora and by Nora) and not BDSM.

What I object to is that this book and others of its ilk TEACH women to talk about such abuse, rape and sexual assault in a permissive language, as if it was BDSM or acceptable behaviour. And THAT is happening. Just read the reviews. None of these women distance themselves from their reviews as in "it's just fantasy BDSM and in real life it doesn't work like that". No. They write about "the BDSM" and freakingly even propagate this series as being "more realistic" of all the possible shitty things to do!

And another thing which has started to creep me out no end is that women call Nora self-actualised and strong DESPITE the fact that she lets Soren continuously abuse her, DESPITE the fact that Nora rapes people on her own, and DESPITE the fact that she is a prostitute. She services punters against money.

Everywhere you can go and have a peekaboo at Dominatrixes you will learn that they are taxed, treated and seen as prostitutes. They have to obey the same health rules, they are graded among punters like non-BDSM prostitutes, they are prostitutes. I know of no country where they are seen as something else by the state and police. So what the heck is so strong about a woman who gets paid to have sex she wouldn't have without the money? What is worse, Reisz tries to SELL her readers that prostitution is nice and peachy and obviously far too many women don't even notice that this is happening.

Gah. This book makes me all ragey. And no, fantasies are not harmless. Even fantasies influence how people think and act. The bible is pure, unadulterated fantasy, written by a few old men some two thousand years ago. Now look what the bible does, to the day. Goethe's The Sorrows of Young Werther drove thousands of young men into suicide when he first published it. Fifty Shades of Grey has actually killed a couple of people and caused several rapes.

So, you can keep saying "it's just fantasy", that doesn't change it has a very real, and in this case a very bad consequence.


message 45: by Angel (new)

Angel Alicia (is beyond tired of your *ish) wrote: You know what kills me? When it comes to people defending these shitty BDSM books (fics) that are supposed to be realistic fiction someone always busts out with some form of, "Do things have to be real life in stories? No." Then when it comes to fanboys defending all the rape and misogyny in some questionable fantasy novel with dragons or magic and shit it's, "but it was realistic for the time!!!1!"

Thank you! You can't have it both ways.

Steelwhisper wrote: LOL, and what really kills me, as the actual real BDSMer here, is that people call this "BDSM". It isn't. It's nowhere close to being BDSM. You say there are safewords, well where are they in relation to Nora and Soren? He gets to beat her up until she needs to go to hospital, and she is convinced he may do that.

She states that as she is in a certain club he has the right to do that. That's complete bullcrap! You don't ever lose your capacity to say "no" in BDSM. You don't even need a safeword. The moment you want out, you are out of play, and your partner has to accept that. Even in Master/slave ROLEPLAY. Because that's what it is: roleplay only. Nowhere in the western world is actual slavery legal. Or ethically defensible. Nowhere.


Exactly. This book is not BDSM, it is rape, pain, and abuse. And people who don't know better are associating those three words with BDSM, even more than they probably already did. Personally, I have never associated those words with it, but ignorant people do. This book is solidifying this inaccurate belief.


message 46: by Steelwhisper (last edited Jul 17, 2015 10:41PM) (new) - added it

Steelwhisper Angel wrote: "Exactly. This book is not BDSM, it is rape, pain, and abuse. And people who don't know better are associating those three words with BDSM, even more than they probably already did. Personally, I have never associated those words with it, but ignorant people do. This book is solidifying this inaccurate belief. ..."

What frightens me even more is that I have this impression that people do not recognise this as rape and abuse. That they completely fail to have a valid ethical compass that tells them what consent is, what violence and abuse, what rape.

I mean how horrific to have such people be in a position to help you, e.g. in cases of domestic abuse, and not even realise what is happening there. Or being lay judges or on a jury and not capable of telling consent apart from rape.

Just recently I read about this case where a college boy "re-enacted" FSoG with an acquaintance/fuckbuddy, and tied her down and continued to have sex with her and beat her when she said she wanted things to stop. That is rape. But apparently some asinine judge, a female judge even, didn't consider that to be the case, because she initially consented and the boy was naive. HELLO?

The result of this trial is particularly tragic as the very same boy was later found to have preplanned the whole thing and photographed her while she was blindfolded, and spread those photographs all across the internet! Naive my arse!

This judge and her verdict **proves** how skewed the ethics of consent have become again in the past two decades, and especially in the last couple of years. These people do NOT understand what BDSM is about. They accept rape when someone cries "BDSM".


message 47: by Angel (new)

Angel I read about that case, but I never got to the verdict. Probably out of some psychic premonition that I wasn't going to like it. I know it sounds bad, but when I read about sexual assault cases I often avoid the charges/convictions because I just KNOW they will be either inadequate or nonexistent. But yes, these types of books just make everything issue they claim to address so much worse. BDSM and rape have somehow become interchangeable, when in the past (most of) society would have at least somewhat understood the distinction. And even worse, some people now seem to believe that since BDSM is legal and now *slightly* less stigmatized, that rape should be the same, WHEN THESE ARE TWO FUCKING DIFFERENT SITUATIONS AND NEED TO BE HANDLED AS SUCH. I swear, someone needs to make a Venn diagram of this.


message 48: by Steelwhisper (new) - added it

Steelwhisper I came across the verdict and the second trial against that college boy first. It was very clear from what he did (the photographing without consent), that he was fully aware of what he was doing and kept going to get the pictures he wanted - despite her protest and wishes. I hope that female judge sleeps badly for the rest of her life.

It always astonishes me how people can even believe that books, as in fiction, can't influence what even people who haven't read them end up thinking. It's really as if they never ever heard of very influential fictive books. Or how public media influence opinion.


message 49: by Angel (new)

Angel Oh my god, that's awful. I can imagine how he got his ideas: boy says to friends, "What's this 50 shades of gray book about?" and his friends say, "It's about this guy who ties up and rapes this girl but it's ok cause she loves it," and that's probably how most people hear this book described.

I can not stand people who deny the influence of ANYTHING. How can you argue that every part of your environment is impacting you 24/7, whether you realize and acknowledge it or not? And the ones that argue against this are the often the ones who are influenced the most, and this is sadly the majority of people. I mean honestly. You don't need a psychology degree to understand this. Speaking of understanding, I attempted to make a Venn diagram to help these people who confuse rape and BDSM, but I didn't know what I was doing. But basically, it had "Rape" in one bubble on the left, and "BDSM" on another bubble on the right, and the two DID NOT INTERSECT. I wish it wasn't necessary to stoop to such childish levels to teach people something so serious.


message 50: by Steelwhisper (new) - added it

Steelwhisper Oh it would intersect, with "consensual rapeplay". It would also intersect where BDSMers (as in predators in the lifestyle itself) rape people they allegedly want to consensually play with. That happens, unfortunately, and it isn't so rare either. BDSM attracts abusers and perpetrators who hide within the lifestyle.

Why do you think I am so utterly livid every time a BDSMer is a romance/erotica hero and commits actual rape?

That is because there ARE rapists in the lifestyle, and such books excuse and support these arseholes. Talk about insult and injury. If you want to read up on this, I had a blogpost with references to a consent activist within the lifestyle:

https://steelwhisper.wordpress.com/20...

This is why I have such an extremely low tolerance level to books like The Siren.


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