Sunday, 13 January 2013

A Review of Siren by Tiffany Reisz

   This is not a book that you fall in love with - it is a story that enthralls you. There is something so real and tangible about this book that pulls you in and does not release you until you put it down completed. Tiffany Reisz warns us repeatedly that this is not a romance - it is the anti-romance. She does not lie. But, at the heart of it lies a beautiful and haunting love story. It is dark and sometimes disturbing. It is erotic but by no means is this erotica. Sex may be the undercurrent of this story but it is not thrown in for thrills, it is simply an essential part of the journey.

   Nora is a Sub/Dom switch and dominatrix as well as an erotic author trying to move on to something deeper and more meaningful in her work. Zachery is her editor with little respect for her style of writing. While it starts off feeling like a romance between these two characters it soon becomes clear that they are both still deeply entangled in past relationships. This is what Reisz has really done differently; it is about two sexually attracted people not destined for each other, who help each-other discover/rediscover themselves.

   Reisz employs some compelling and creative story-telling techniques. All throughout there are snippets of Nora's book. We never know for sure how much of these snippets are fiction but they feel like memories of Nora's relationship with Soren, although she tells him she destroys what she writes about him.

   Nora herself is witty, strong, sexual and ambitious. She is warm and caring but also damaged. She is the perfect counterpart to Zachery who is stuffy and cynical. I liked and felt for both characters.

   It is very unusual to read a love story about two people where a love interest hardly appears other than in memory - but that is how Soren is portrayed. He is at the centre but it is not about him. He is a character that I found it very hard to decide my feelings for. While he is everything that makes a Dom sexy, and he is utterly sexy, there is so much about him, and his relationship with Nora that is extremely disturbing, and many would say very wrong.

   Essentially Reisz makes us question who decides what is, or can be considered right or wrong in a relationship.  While I felt Nora genuinely believes there was nothing shameful about her relationship with Soren, and that she can only thrive in such a relationship, I was not convinced. It was not that it was a BDSM, it was not that she was hurt, dominated, humiliated and even violated that made me uncomfortable, it was the way the relationship began. 

   The fact that Nora was 'groomed' from fifteen years old by a man who was in a position of authority, who should never have touched her disturbed me. The justification is that Nora was a troubled youth who needed that to save her.

   Just because I am uncomfortable with the relationship did not make the love, or the bonds less real. In the end equal parts of me want and did not want the final outcome. I would have struggled with the ending if I did not know there was a sequel. It is not always a comfortable read but it is a clever and captivating read that I am glad to have experienced.

Is it for you?
IF YOU LOVE: BDSM this gives a deeper and more genuine insight into what is behind it. If you want to read a romance that is free from almost all cliche's and troupes this delivers.
IF YOU HATE: Dark romance, relationships with violence, and promiscuous characters this will make you uncomfortable. Contains religious themes that may offend some readers.

Rating = 4.5 out of 5
Characters 4/5
Plot 5/5
Voice 5/5
LOVE factor (possible 1 point Bonus) +.5

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