July 7, 2012
Mixed Feelings: Need
ARC from Netgalley.com
Published July 2012 by The Writer's Coffee Shop
Read July 2012
Goodreads and Amazon
I mentioned when I reviewed Slave (Finding Anna #1) that I wasn't sure if I would review the rest of the series because it is listed as erotica and eventually the story would become more focused on sex. When I saw the ARC on Netgalley, I thought I would read it to see if it was still more on the romance side of the line or not.
Need left me with a lot of mixed feelings. If you read my review of Slave you know that I read it in about 5 hours. Need took me a week. I remember reading other reviews of Slave that mentioned that there was too much day-to-day detail. While I didn't get that feeling from that book, the first 30 percent of Need did feel that way to me. Need starts off the morning after Slave ended. Brianna is trying to come to terms with what Stephan means when he says she is not his slave, but he wants a submissive.
I once heard that any story has 3 acts and most books contains all three acts. For me, the Finding Anna series gives each act it's own book. I was ok with it in the first book as I felt like the end was the closing of a chapter for Brianna. However, in this book it didn't work as well for me. I felt like too much filler had to be put in to, well, fill out the story. Need read more like a novella for me. The whole focus of the second book was Brianna's sexual healing and her ability to have sex. There were hints of possible dangers, but never enough attention it to make there seem like any urgency or real threat to Brianna.
My mixed feelings about the book continued with the way Stephan was handling Brianna PTSD and anxiety. I have no problem with a book making me question my own opinions so this is not a negative comment at all. First, I question whether Stephan is letting his one experience (it seemed like he only tried 1 psychiatrist) with therapy get in the way of what Brianna possible needs. He isn't even giving her the opportunity to make the choice. Though anxiety medication might be recommended she wouldn't have to take it or even see a psychiatrist. My hang-up here was is Stephan doing the right thing by not allowing Brianna to decide for herself. This leads me to another point of contention within myself.
(Again, this questioning should not be construed as negative - I love books that make me think).
Stephan treats Brianna as a submissive even though they really haven't talked through what all that would entail. From everything I've read (and I don't mean just in fiction), BDSM couples stress laying out the ground rules within the first few meetings and definitely before playing. While the situation is a bit different for Stephan and Brianna, I think Stephan is overstepping. There are times Brianna needs the "control" because it is familiar to her. But like in the last book when she was punished for daydreaming (I saw it as something that should be praised since she felt comfortable enough to not be hyper-aware of her surroundings - something abusive victims struggle with), I thought Stephan shouldn't have punished her for not answering his calls or calling him right back. I felt that he was being the Dom by default rather than true consent.
The last part that I didin't agree with is how those in the lifestyle don't seem to love their partner enough to give up the lifestyle should that be what their partner wants or need. Instead the "vanilla" partner must be willing to engage in the lifestyle. I get compromise and all that, but it was something Logan said about loving Lily so much that he had to become a Dom for her. Now, what if he really could not embrace that role? Would Lily love Logan enough to be more vanilla? For all that Stephan says he loves Brianna, it does not look like he loves her enough to let her decide she cannot be a submissive to him. Just as Logan's statement gave me pause so did a statement Brianna made - that she would do this for him. For the lifestyle to be mutually beneficial and pleasurable for both parties, Brianna is going to need to want to be a submissive for herself not just because that is what Stephan wants.
As you can see this book gave me a lot to think about. The sex was more descriptive than I cared for, but not really more so than many adult romances. And though I didn't enjoy it as much as Slave it hasn't turned me off the series, I'm still curious as to what will happen (especially since it ends with a cliffhanger).