Power Play: Resistance by Rachel Haimowitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I vacillated between 2 and 3 stars, though I waited a few weeks to review or it would have been 1. 2 for the content and 3 for the writing, so I went with 3. The writing itself is clean and well done. The characters are distinct and well-fleshed out. I could 'see' what I was reading. I respect authors who have a complicated story they plan to tell, and the skills to bring it to life, even if I cannot endorse the story itself.
But the content was overdone. The 'edge of consent' doesn't even begin to describe the dynamic between Brandon and Jonathan. Consent was never the issue. Control was. This is not bdsm in a Dom/sub capacity the way I expected. This was a Master/slave dynamic where the Master was a totally manipulative, conniving bastard. I hated Jonathan, AND his friend at the end of the book. I hated Brandon's need for the submission and pain forcing him to go back. I wanted to reach into the book and tell him to stay the hell away from Jonathan. The 'they wanted the best' line Jonathan had about his previous subs was so far outside what happened that the line really stuck with me and rubbed me raw.
The money and the way Jonathan used it, and their differing relationship, to his advantage was despicable. It made Brandon into a whore. That bugged me. The other part that really struck me was when they were speaking to each other 'to discuss what was happening' over breakfast. I expected that to be the turning point where things begin to go better but that's where it all really broke. Brandon was told to speak freely and then was struck AFTER that for things he said during that time. He never had a chance. He was never truly given an opportunity to learn and be open because it was all about what he did wrong and not what he did right.
Worst of all of it was the end because Jonathan feels no remorse. His epiphany of wrongdoing was so far from the catastrophic realization of harm that it only underscored his heinous behavior. The actions on the character's parts bothered me to the point that, while I have the second book, I can't read it. I'm told that it redeems the first but my thought is why? Why should it have to redeem the first book? The extremes the authors went to set up the faulty power dynamic should have been redeemed to the same level, but it wasn't. The good didn't begin to equal the bad. I was left with a bad taste in my mouth and an urge to throttle the characters. Usually a strong emotional response is a good thing, but when it incites nausea over the thought of reading Jonathan and Brandon's continuing story... well, that's just not what anyone should want.
This is a decide for yourself book, for sure. I cannot recommend Power Play: Resistance, but if extreme sadism is your thing, have at it.
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