How to describe this book? If you took Katee Robert’s The O’Malley’s series and mixed it up with Aladdin and then added a few heaped spoonfuls of smut (and please know I say smut with the utmost positivity), you’d have Desperate Measures. The book is light on world-building and heavy on kink, but if you’re wanting something quick, steamy, and… Disney? This is the book for you. Or maybe, if you saw the new Aladdin remake and were rooting for Jafar, then you’ll like this.
Jasmine has been living a sheltered life on her father’s estate, entrenched in the world of some kind of crime (more on that below), but is kept locked away and abused. When her father’s second-in-command Jafar stages a deadly coup, Jasmine finds herself under the control of the one man she despises and desires.
Jafar plans to take Jasmine as his own, carting her off to his penthouse (I think? Again, more on that below). Though Jasmine fights him, she craves the control and assertiveness that Jafar offers. She’s torn between her first chance at freedom and the dark need she has for his touch.
To be upfront, Desperate Measures is very much about sex. It’s not just that, but the connection between Jasmine and Jafar is primarily a carnal one. Furthermore, you should know that this isn’t vanilla sex, either. Jasmine enjoys consensual non-consent play and Jafar gets off on being called Daddy, plus steering Jasmine into new sexual ventures, including a sex club, threesomes, and more. Honestly, from what I heard about the book before reading it, I expected it to be even filthier (again, said as a compliment). I enjoy a super high heat read now and then, and this was on a par with any of the erotic romances I’ve read in terms of the raunchiness factor. It is very dramatic and has a hint of suspense, which I’ve come to expect from Robert’s work.
The book is what it is, and as such I probably shouldn’t have expected much in terms of the world-building. But alas, that area still felt lacking. I couldn’t ever root the story in the real world (which it seems to be? There’s nothing magical or paranormal here). There’s a lot of talk of territories and infighting, but not a mention of what any of that means. All I could glean was that Jasmine’s father does some sort of crime, Jafar also likes crime, and Ali, who Jasmine was going to be married off to, also does… crime. There’s no mention of what any of this means, just brief statements that some people with Disney character names are fighting with other people with Disney character names. Hades and Meg from Hercules and Tink from Peter Pan show up at the sex club and – do crimes. I couldn’t even get a mental picture of Jasmine’s father’s home or Jafar’s home, which seems to be several floors in a high rise. Maybe? I wanted something to ground the story a little more, so that all these Disney characters popping up didn’t feel so odd. Robert has another series that’s high on heat and lighter on plot, The Thalanian Dynasty, but while the setting is loosely defined in those books, I didn’t feel as though the characters were floating in the ether throughout.
In spite of that, I did enjoy the book and ate it up in a day. My suggestion, read Desperate Measures if you know exactly what you’re getting going in and that’s A-okay with you. I tried to ignore the Disney connection and look at them as independent characters, but whatever floats your boat. If you’re someone who hates sex scenes or any kind of kink, stay far away.