The title is somewhat self-explanatory, so we’ll dive right in. Rachel and I (it’s me, Bee, HELLUR) are co-writing this blog post about something near and dear to our hearts — essentially, advocating for the incredible, earth shattering, excellent romance writing that is out there and is overshadowed often because Fifty Shades got there first. There is no judgement in this blog post. If Fifty Shades of Grey is your favorite book and you’ve read it half a billion times and you can quote it by heart and how dare we insult your cinnamon roll bb, we get it. We’ve got books like that too. And girl (or guy, no shame), WE STAND BY YOU. That’s your prerogative. We’re just here to offer some new perspective, and maybe some new titles. So without further ado, some thoughts from each of us to you.
- We’ll start with the obvious. It’s bad writing. Honestly and truly. It really, REALLY is. To cement this, I’ll leave one of my favorite Fifty Shades quotes right here: “I’m all deer/headlights, moth/flame, bird/snake – and he knows exactly what he’s doing to me”. *shrug* But also, “I’m all bird snake” is something I’ve worked into my daily interactions. So take that as you will.
- *puts very tiny soapbox on floor and pulls out very large megaphone* ANY SEXUAL ENCOUNTER THAT YOU LEAVE FEELING LITTLE, LESS THAN, OR TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF IS A BAD SEXUAL ENCOUNTER. Submission does not mean weakness. In fact one could argue that being the submissive partner requires a level of trust, control, power, and strength that it’s hard to find in many people. Also, submission implies a choice. I’ll leave that there. *tries to step down from soapbox. falls because I cannot do basic human things*
- Being dominant doesn’t mean being in control of every part of your sub’s life. It means being granted that right in the bedroom. End of list. The following, knowing where she is all the time, punching people thing is weird, Christian. We do not like it.
AND my book recommendations. I will ALWAYS recommend Lucia Franco’s Off Balance series, but that gets enough blog time. If you’re very into dominant alpha males (that are also magical), I’d suggest Fighting Destiny by Amelia Hutchins. If you’re feeling dominant (semi-forbidden) romance, ask April about Corrupt by Penelope Douglas. AND if you’re thinking that just sexy times isn’t for you, I would suggest Unteachable by Leah Rader.
Ok as badly as I want to erect a SLIGHTLY taller soapbox than Bee’s just to be irritating, borrow her megaphone, yell “everything she just said,” and step back down, I won’t. But instead of three coherent points like Bee has, I mostly have three facets of one point. So fair warning.
- Bee touched on this too, but my big beef with this book is the lack of consent. Safe words are disrespected, BDSM is viewed as an adventure without any form of education on the subject, and the reasoning behind the whole “pain is pleasure” thing is deep trauma.
- All of the above to say that this is not an accurate or respectful portrayal of what BDSM is, and indeed the connection between trauma and being kinky is downright offensive.
- The relationship is not equal. It’s just not. He treats her badly and disrespects her feelings and it drives me insane. As Bee said, submission in the bedroom DOES NOT MEAN SUBMISSION OUTSIDE OF IT.
ALSO! Disclaimer: I 100000% do not dislike this book because of the sex. So many people get mad at me when I criticize this book because they think I’m shaming they’re kinks and I’m NOT. I won’t even shame you if you like this book! These are merely our thoughts on the writing and the themes.
Ok so now for the fun part, which is book recs. I realized I haven’t read NEARLY enough kinky books, but one that comes to mind if you like something dark with a super interesting power dynamic is Black Lies by Alessandra Torre. Read it. It’s smutty and sexy and fascinating and super twisty turny.
Thanks for letting us ramble!! Let us know what books YOU found that you’re championing at the moment!!