This Review also posted at A Bookish Compulsion's Main Site
I feel that this review might not be as helpful as I would like it to be simply because a large part of my reaction to this book had nothing to do with what was between its pages but rather with current social culture and how it has affected the books I have recently read. Also, I ramble quite a bit in my attempt to explain my views.
I wanted to love this book. I love Thea Harrison and have loved most of the entries thus far in the Elder Races series, so I was expecting to love Kinked as well. But I just couldn’t. I eventually got to the point where I could separate out my own issues enough to like the book and enjoy the plot and characters but that complete abandonment to the story…the ability to lose myself and trust that the author would see me to the end without my help, was impossible.
Now to try and explain why…
A couple years ago my husband and I were going to see a movie and had arrived quite a bit early (maybe it was opening night of a big blockbuster or maybe it was just way too hot to wait outside, I don’t remember.) in either case we talked for a bit then both dug out our electronic devices to help pass the hour or so until the movie would begin. I, of course, opened up my reader and stared a book and after a few minutes I realized that while I was immersed in the text another couple had sat next to us because the girl leaned over and asked me what I was reading. After a quick look-up (it was a new book by a new author) I told her I was reading Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. She nodded enthusiastically and then blurted something along the lines of “Isn’t this reading thing just fantastic?” I smiled and made a positive reply, somewhat taken back and her fiery excitement but approving of any love of books. She then went on to gush about how she had just discovered it after some of her friends had insisted that she read Fifty Shades of Grey which she had loved and now she is just reading everything. She was so excited, describing the satisfaction of making it from one dot to the next on her Kindle reading progress bar and how wonderful it was to have just so many books out there that she could read, like…whenever she wanted to.
I should probably point out that this woman was probably somewhere around twenty (a good few years younger than myself) and not exactly book worm material but much closer to the party-girl who went club hopping on the weekends. She would not have been someone I expected to bond over books with, and yet sitting in that theater for the twenty or so minutes that were left before the movie that is exactly what happened. And while our taste in books were not compatible, seeing the fire of such a love and excitement for reading that was discovered in this girl was pretty darn amazing, a memory that even years later has stuck with me. It is this memory, this conviction, that has led me to defend against anyone who would naysay books like Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight and even those crazy few who were against the Harry Potter books as unworthy or bad or shouldn’t have ever been. Because these books, whether you like them or you don’t, have gotten people who otherwise might never have discovered the wonder that is the written word to read. And that is a beautiful, magical, incredible thing.
I truly believe that there is a kind of magic in any book that can spark a mass revolution of new readers to discover the wonder of books.
That said…can we please be done with the Fifty Shades thing already? I am SO over BSDM invading my books as the “in” kink. I have no problem with the lifestyle, even though it isn’t the one I choose, and can even see some amount of sexy in the complete trust and giving thing. But over the last couple of years it had just gotten to be too much. I am so very done. Just like with vampires invading everywhere so that I was half-afraid that any paranormal would stuff one in just to play to the market, the bondage and dom/sub thing has just gotten on my very last nerve. Not necessarily because of what it is, but because everyone seems to be trying to write it to get a piece of the Fifty Shades pie and that’s just sad. And unoriginal. And it makes me as a reader feel like I have to dodge landmines and figure out whether if there is BSDM in a story it is because it belongs there or whether it was put there because publishers have decided that’s what sells.
Which was my main problem with Kinked. While I actually liked how the relationship and even sexual give and take was handled, the bad taste in my mouth that began with the “oh no, not another one” feeling never really let up. And while by the end I was thrilled and invested in the happy ending for two very distinct characters, too much of my reading time was spent dreading a downward spiral.