Review: The Submissive

The Submissive  - Tara Sue Me

I suppose it's worth starting off this review with the notation that I knew this was formerly a Twilight fanfic published under the same title and same penname. I also knew that this was the story that "inspired" Fifty Shades author E.L. James, so before anyone starts foaming at the mouth about how this is another knock off of "Fifty Shades" - it's not. This came first. 

I have not read the original fanfic to compare, though I arrived to read this in a way that was completely blind - didn't really know what to expect from it. I was surprised to find how sparse this narrative was as a whole. It made for a quick read, and somehow it didn't really put my nerves on end with content, but...I left this novel just utterly baffled by its portrayal. That was not something I expected to feel after finishing this novel.

I didn't enjoy it. I thought the characters lacked development and were very unrealistic, the surrounding cast didn't have many dimensions to them nor did they add to the story, and it felt like there should've been more to the story than there was. I understood in certain places that this was to have something of a darkly humored coating with respect to a BDSM relationship. You have the shy librarian (Abby) and the domineering jerk of a businessman (Nathaniel) who engage in a dom/sub sexy time rendezvous. There are shackles, collars, whipping, and quite a few other things that would have some people's jaws dropping to the floor with respect to sexual content, but...for me this was just a weird read and I felt it creeped me out in certain places with the disconnect in its narrative. It wasn't sexy, it wasn't even romantic, it was just...weird the whole way through. Abby's so passive to the point of where she wants to use the "safe word" but knows that'll terminate the relationship and she doesn't speak up when she's obviously hurting. Her internal voice and the fact that she talks to herself in several notations also bothered me. Nathaniel's so blunt, cold, and fierce a good measure into the book, and then suddenly becomes emotional when Abby nearly leaves him after he dismisses their "making love" for the first time. Other events happen to where they eventually have a coming of terms, but I found that after a certain point, I just didn't really care anymore. I wasn't invested in their relationship and by the end of the book, I was glad to be done with it, not necessarily in a way where I was upset with it, but just feeling like the whole book didn't draw me into the story it was trying to tell.

I think I've read better erotica novels than this, and while I can't say that there weren't certain sparks to the narrative that could've lead to something more, it fell flat with respect to the underdeveloped, cookie-cutter characters, sparse narrative, and genuinely unfulfilling romantic/erotic context.

Overall score: 1/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher NAL Trade.