A good question would be, would I have liked this if I read it a year ago? Before The Dark Duet. Before The Tied Man. Before American Psycho.
Because this wasn't what I was expecting.
I mean, yes good insight into Stockholm Syndrome and truth be told, I was more fascinated with Emily AFTER than during her captivity. That registered something in my cold, dead heart. But story and delivery? Character development? I don't get it. It was a dark and heavy subject matter but was given an anemic, bland treatment I felt. Nothing was left unsaid, there was no space for me to derive my own conclusion from what is presented in a scene. Everything was spoon-fed, which I guess is very meta seeing as there was a lot of feeding scenes between the characters but I never felt that was the intent.
I have to admit, I was never taken enough by the narrative to get lost into Emily's gradual evolution from captive to slave. She's very repetitive, her thoughts tumble and cycle around the same arguments and realization, that they steadily lost their impact as the story went on.
I wasn't afraid of him anymore. I was only afraid of being without him.
I'd rather have this intensity with him than a hundred years of mediocrity with another.
I could handle being crazy if I could still look at him.
And infinite permutations of this twisted, consuming obsessive realizations borne out of something that's not love. Yes. Okay.
Do we get to move on elsewhere beyond that? Because frankly, this isn't bringing anything new to the discourse about the dominant-submissive dynamic.
Unfortunately no. And I fully recognize that this has been written awhile back and could very well have been one of the primordial BDSM books but shouldn't some effort be exerted to prevent one's book from becoming dated? Something to set it apart from the rest?
Furthermore, facets of Emily's personality get revealed whenever it's convenient to the story. She's fully aware of what's happening to her while she's held captive, why? Oh because she has a degree in psychology too, apart from being a self-help guru. Not one mention of that nibblet of information prior to that scene, mind you. It was distracting for me because I enjoy stories better when some set up happens before any bomb gets dropped on my lap. Else, I'd just feel like I'm getting taken for a fool's ride, improvising as we go along.
And something about how Emily's thoughts are phrased strikes me unappealing.
Because even if he was a monster, he followed his own rules. And he was my monster.
I can't help but feel like I read a different book from everyone else who calls this disturbing. And that is fully my fault. If anything, this was probably a good gauge of how much a reader can get desensitized with the books she opts to read. Because this just read quite vanilla to the current reader that I am now. However, that's hardly the reason I didn't enjoy this. I mean, I don't need to be shocked or horrified to properly enjoy a BDSM story and yet, I'm not confident that this will elicit the intended visceral reaction from readers who have not read much into this genre either.
Because story aside, the delivery still left much to be desired.