Yes, my darlings, it’s finally here: WEEK OF THE SIREN! I know y’all are as excited as we are. Not only do we get a guest post by the famous Ms. Tiffany Reisz, but she’s giving away two signed copies of her latest release, THE SIREN. To enter the giveaway, just leave us a comment on any post this week. The winner will be announced Friday at 6:00 p.m. EST.
Starting off the week we have a review written by Ben Wiebe. He’s the thoughtful blogger at misanthropoeia. So sit back, have a good read and keep some lube on hand…literally. This week is gonna be a hot one, and I’m not talkin’ the weather, y’all.
In the world of kink authors, she’s the top.
Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different, more serious, more personal, and she’s sure it’ll be her breakout book…if it ever sees the light of day.
Zachary Easton holds Nora’s fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards in six weeks or it’s no deal.
Nora’s grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous, staying away from him…or returning to his bed?
Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to the limit. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple…
A Review of THE SIREN by Ben Wiebe:
In every book I read, no matter what genre, I look for a couple of key things. Most important of these is three-dimensional characters. Characters that become living, breathing people as I get further into the book. Characters that are revealed slowly. Characters that I love or hate, or if I feel indifferent about them, I get the feeling that they may become important as the story goes on.
The sad reality in erotic fiction is that things like plot and character development barely exist, and when they do, they merely act as a bit of a rest period between sex scenes. Perhaps erotic fiction is so lax in things like plot and character development because it helps readers imagine themselves in the story. Perhaps some of the authors are just lazy. Who knows?
In The Siren we have something different. We are given characters that leap off the page. For myself, it wasn’t so much about identifying with Nora, Zachary, Søren, or even Wesley (whose background most closely mirrors my own). It was about being able to see them, watch them, as individuals in part of a bigger story. Take the “whiskey chaser” scene in Chapter 13 as an example. Yes, it made me take a moment to sit back, close my eyes, and fantasize about what I’d just read. However, the story is written in such a way that I was more interested in being a fly on the wall watching the interplay between Nora and Zach than watching her go down on him. A scene that provokes both personal fantasy and voyeurism all at once? Brilliant.
Perhaps because of my personal background, the most striking (no pun intended) feature of this story is that it contains elements of faith and belief. Rather than shying away from the polarizing issue of religion, we are presented with characters for whom faith is an important part of their lives. All without judgment or prejudice. It’s simply one part of what makes these characters captivating. Their beliefs are presented in a way that feels as if they’re not necessary for the story to “work.” Except in hindsight, they’re crucial.
Having read the book, I can’t picture Nora as anything but a woman who is trying to be completely true to herself, to be a good Catholic who sometimes fails miserably. Her sexuality and spirituality have found a tenuous balance. And Søren. An imposing, charismatic, mature and self-assured priest who has his life in order. A larger than life man who understands himself, and who seems to understand Nora better than she knows herself. And then there is Wesley, who seems to be struggling to find that balance. He has the outward self-confidence that only a 19-year-old could have, but personal experience tells me that there is a deep and unresolved guilt (for lack of a better word) surrounding his sexual desires.
Of course, how I read this story is different from how others will read it. For some, the religious elements will be a distraction. Perhaps even a turn-off? However, by the end of the book, most readers will feel like they know these people, some of their history, some of their motivations. Like all erotica, readers will see the physical: whom and how these characters fuck. But they will also understand (or at least begin to understand) what drives some of them, how they are broken, and how they are working toward redemption or fulfilment. And none of these little details by themselves really define the characters. They are the shading and perspective that give depth and substance to the people in this world created by the words of Ms Reisz.