Enslave: The Taming of the Beast
Enslave: The Taming of the Beast is surprisingly sound for an erotic romance. There is an actual plot, and to some degree there is also character development! Hurrah! I wholeheartedly applaud the author’s perspicacity, but the above-average-erotica quality of its plot and characterization was ultimately tempered by, well, everything else. The technical style is average, the erotic scenes are standard, and the book is almost inappropriately short for all its content. However, the biggest crime this book commits is that of dullness; in spite of its twisty plot and revelatory nature, there is an utter lack of excitement or urgency in its words that left it feeling ultimately lifeless.
The Bessonova sisters, Jelena, Nadia and Irina, have a love/hate relationship with their father. On one hand, they are infinitely grateful for his help in escaping Kiev and coming to live in Las Vegas. On the other, they hate, hate, hate the fact that he is firmly entrenched in the black market and often sacrifices them to further his own gains. Lately, their father has been dabbling in car theft and resale, which abruptly presents them with a problem when Dominic Luder appears on their doorstep threatening them with doom and gloom. Their father stole Dominic’s precious 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa, also known as the Rose, and he wants it back. Now. Their usually placid father quakes under Dominic’s threats, which tells the girls that they’re in really deep trouble. Nadia, the favorite daughter-cum-sacrifice, asks Dominic if he will take her as collateral while her father tries to find the car. Against his better judgment, Dominic agrees.
Dominic quickly realizes that he has a willing sex partner on his hands, which is a very nice change after having been in an accident and left physically scarred. Because of said scars and other typical reasons, he has difficulty believing that a person could fully love him. Still, Nadia seems to be like him, wounded but desiring healing, and he slowly begins to trust her. And possibly falls in love with her.
The main thought that ran through my mind as I read was that this must be the Cliffs Notes abridged version of the real thing. There was so much potential, both emotional and erotic, in the scenes that I felt an increase in page number would have benefited this book very much. Instead, the reader is given a startlingly truncated story that feels like it is practically in outline form. It moves that fast.
Nadia and Dominic are average people. He was a kid from the wrong side of town who eventually became a member of a gang in an attempt to have a family. He eventually left the gang, and the leader’s daughter was very unhappy with his decision. She was so pissed, in fact, that she hired men to kill him. He escaped with some physical scarring and for the past few years has hidden himself away in his home to avoid any further attempts on his life. Nadia is used to whoring herself out to fix her idiotic father’s problems, and has a big self-esteem issue. Apparently through their tons of sex, they heal their personal wounds and become whole again. Again, I believe I would have felt this development if there had simply been more words, but since there weren’t, I can’t say I felt more than vague surprise that love and trust were developing so quickly over bondage and domination.
The main example of character development comes in the form of Nadia’s sister, Jelena. She was forced to sell herself as a mail-order bride to (once again) save her father’s butt, and begins the story trapped in a loveless marriage. Throughout the story she grows (albeit unsubtly) into an independent woman who refuses to be a doormat. I did like the sisters’ growing a collective backbone and their refusal to let their father use them ever again. That was the only truly emotional scene in the entire story.
In conclusion, I can’t really recommend Enslave: The Taming of the Beast, because, I’ll admit it, the title is much more awesome than the story itself. However, I also don’t feel the need to warn people away from it. It’s an okay book. It’s very okay. On a side note, I really liked the packaging of the book, which has a beautiful color scheme and feel to it.