Genre: Erotica; Contemporary Fiction
Series: The Original Sinners, #1
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Publisher: Mira (Harlequin)
Reviewed by: Aimee
Source: Kindle PurchaseRating: 5 out of 5 (♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥)
"Oh, my God," Wesley breathed. "What did you do?"Oookay… what to say about this book? Definitely one for my shelf of ambivalence. Which I stupidly got rid of. Now I'm temped to bring it back. Not a story for the faint of heart. If your easily offended… explore no further. I gave it 5 stars for the writing, character development and plot alone. It is exceptionally good at being disturbing, offensive and controversial at times. If I judged it solely on the romance… it would fail, because I'm not even sure it is a romance. Not in this first book, at least. If, however, I judged it on how well it's written, how interesting the characters are, how seamless the plot/storyline flows together and how thought provoking it is, then it's definitely earned it's 5 stars. There is so much more going on in this story than dark and twisted sex and it truly is "thought provoking" (emphasis on the thought and the provoke). I never expected to encounter, in an erotica novel, such profoundly complicated characters written into a complex yet beautiful (love?) story.
"Nothing. I wanted to hit him but hitting a masochist is pretty pointless. Wesley?" She finally looked him full in his face. For a moment his brown eyes turned silver and she saw Michael's face floating in front of her. "What if I'm a bad person, too?"
"You're not a bad person. If you were a bad person you wouldn't be sitting fully dressed in a bathtub with no water in it because you're terrified you might be a bad person. The devil doesn't worry about going to hell."
"Only because he's already there."
The main character of the story, Nora sutherlin, is an erotica writer who teams up with a new editor to try and perfect her work. Her goal? She wants to feel like an actual writer with talent, an artist rather than your typical purveyor of cheap smut. Because her latest novel is rather personal. Her new editor, Zach Easton, is not happy in the least to be partnered with her and he automatically assumes from the start that Nora is a talentless hack. Zach states that if she can't produce something truly worthwhile in six weeks, he will not sign a contract with her. Other key characters in the story are Wesley, Nora's live-in intern and Soren, Nora's sadistic ex-lover.
I'm not really sure this story fits into the erotica genre alone. The amount of sex is equivalent to that of your average romance novel. Perhaps it is the "TYPE" of sex that has earned it a classification of erotica. But if I had to classify it myself, I'd have to make something up like, Erotic Horror Romance or maybe Contemporary Horror Romance. Because the violence that occurs can be a bit frightening, even if it is consensual. These two quotes by the main character, Nora Sutherlin, are very telling and help give a little perspective.
“I know people think erotica is just a romance novel with rougher sex. It's not. If it's a subgenre of anything, it's horror."Dark, disturbing, twisted and uncomfortable… yet for every uncomfortable moment, there are also light hearted, humorous and profoundly beautiful ones. Plus, it has one major saving grace that kept me from tossing it aside when things got a little too dark for me. The characters all have varying points of views. Some you can relate to, some you can't. It doesn't just throw BDSM at you and expect you to completely connect. I couldn't relate to Nora's point of view MOST of the time. Pain, torture and humiliation are a form of love? This is something I still have not been able to wrap my head around. And believe me... I tried. It also shows you that the initial assumptions we often make of people we don't know are usually hopelessly flawed.
"Romance is sex plus love. Erotica is sex plus fear.”
"Hurt but do not harm? What's the difference?"
"Hurt is a bruise on the outside. Harm is a bruise on the inside. If you're a masochist, pain feels like love to you. Not being hurt is what hurts.”
Seeing as how there are parts I found a bit too controversial for my taste, I still don't know whether I love or hate this book. I've been vacillating between the two emotions for days now. I guess I love to hate it just as much as I hate to love it. Hence it's designation to the shelf of ambivalence. But I do recommend it if only for the beautiful writing alone. Only I do it with a strict warning! Prepare yourself for moral, mental and emotional disturbances if your not accustomed to the TRUE world of kink/BDSM. Believe it or not, The Siren makes Fifty Shades of Grey look completely vanilla. Don't read it expecting Prince charming, a fluffy romance and HEA's (At least not in the first book). If your not into erotica or totally offended by the idea of BDSM… avoid it. If your curious… then by all means, read it! You can expect some emotional self discovery by many of the characters and a surprisingly beautiful story despite the dark and uncomfortable parts. And with that, I'll leave you with a few more of my favorite quotes.
“Excuse me," Zach began, trying to regain control of the conversation, "but didn't I repeatedly insult you this morning?"
"Your kvetching was very fetching. I like men who are mean to me. I trust them more."
“S&M is as psychological as it is physical and sexual, Zach. Imagine being as deep inside a woman’s mind as you are inside her body.”
"You still love him, don't you?"
Nora smiled sadly up at him.
"Many waters." She ran a hand through her wet hair and let water drop from her fingertips to the floor.
"Many waters cannot quench love," Wesley finished the quote. "River's cannot wash it away."
"Nor will rivers overflow it," she corrected.