Posted by: Jennifer | June 4, 2009

More on Sweet Persuasion – Maya Banks

I often find that when I sit down to write about a book that I have read, I forget all sorts of reactions that I had while actually reading the book. Sometimes, I remember to take notes, but often I don’t have any paper with me when I am reading. Today, when reading Jane’s review over of Sweet Persuasion over at Dear Author, I realized that she brought up a very important point. While I did love Sweet Persuasion, it was definitely an uncomfortable read – and that was something I should have put in my original post.

One of my initial reactions was surprise that such a hardcore BDSM relationship was being portrayed in a book published by a mainstream publisher. I definitely read a lot of BDSM fiction, a great deal of which is published by smaller publishers and/or ebook publishers. My impression has been that in books put out by the big name publishers, dominant/submissive relationship are often portrayed in a kinder/gentler manner – a manner intended to appeal to the widest range of readers. This certainly isn’t the case with Sweet Persuasion.

Damon certainly has a softer side. I thought his growing feelings for Serena came across rather clearly. There is no doubt this is a romance novel. I felt that we saw this romantic side of Damon while he and Serena were visiting his mother – we saw them more as people in a relationship rather than dominant and submissive. But he definitely demands total submission from Serena – 24/7-type of submission. He makes her sit at his feet several times in the course of the story. He demands public displays from her. And, there were other uncomfortable situations. I was made most uncomfortable by the way he expected Serena to be naked even in front of his household staff, kneeling between his knees while he pet her.

I think that I loved this book more because it was uncomfortable. Serena had good reason to be worried about whether or not she could be what Damon wanted. And, I was glad that this didn’t seem to actually be resolved at the end. This was in issue with which I felt the two would still need to deal.


Responses

  1. Hi, I just posted at Dear Author and then followed the link in your comment to your reviews here.

    It was a while ago that you posted but I thought maybe you check new comments or something and might be interested in a “discussion” with me about this.

    Here is my post, reproduced from DA. Sorry that it’s so long – clearly I think way too much!!

    regards
    Kaetrin

    I just finished this book last night.

    For me personally, I must say that the D/s style relationship portrayed in the first book (Sweet Surrender) was more my style – in that I could understand better.

    This one was a bit too much. But, then again, I don’t really understand the idea of “punishment” – no way would I let someone whip me to punish me – I just don’t get it. I can (sort of) understand the idea of spanking etc for pleasure but in this book there was a scene where she wasn’t supposed to get any pleasure from it – it was purely punishment. Frankly, I just didn’t understand it. Maybe I just don’t understand this type of lifestyle well enough but it crossed the line and well into abuse territory for me at this point.

    Also, at the end of the book, I didn’t understand how they were going to work out as a couple. It was all “we’ll see how we go, we’ll be together and work from there” but I wasn’t clear on how that was going to be.

    On the one hand, Damon had been very clear that what he wanted was a woman to live the “fantasy” as real life. So, I gathered from that, that he wanted the experience he had with Serena all the time. Serena, on the other hand, just wanted to try the fantasy and didn’t want that all the time. Even though she enjoyed pleasing Damon she struggled with living it forever after. For me, this conflict wasn’t really resolved. They ended up together – but how?

    Does Damon tone it down because Serena herself makes him happy? Does Serena just acquiesce to Damon’s desires despite her misgivings? Does that mean he gets to “punish” (aka abuse) her if she doesn’t want something?

    In the fantasy, the if Serena says “no” it’s all over red rover. What happens if she says “no” IRL? This wasn’t discussed.

    Perhaps it will be picked up in the next book. The first in the series didn’t mention Serena at all and only briefly mentioned Julie. This book has actual sections about Julie and her “quest” for Nathan. So, in that sense it was a different set up from the first. Maybe the Serena/Damon story will be added to in the 3rd book.

    The other thing I wondered about (and maybe this is just me thinking too much!) was – what happens if Serena and Damon stay together and then have children? Do the kids watch mum walking around the house naked all the time because dad likes it? How do the kids learn about the real world? What sort of dynamic is between Damon and Serena (hey, I just realised their initials are D/s – coincidence? – I think not! Sorry, I digress…) as parents? How can they be “equals” as parents if they are not actually equals as partners? (although this last question may just reveal my total disconnect with this type of relationship).

    The dynamic between Gray and Faith is much more understandable in this regard – he comes across as an uber-alpha male but he adores Faith and I can see how their relationship works. I just can’t see it for Damon and Serena – at least not from this book alone.

    I know it’s been a while since anyone posted about this book, but I’d love to hear what others think.

    I am looking forward to Micah’s book – I quite like him as a character and he is much closer to Gray’s “type” than Damon’s – I think this one will be book 4 in the series as Julie/Nathan’s is next. As for Book 3 – well, at this stage I’ll read it because I plan on reading book 4 and I’ve read the first 2 but really, I’m thinking “meh”.

  2. Hi Kaetrin, I was on vacation when you posted this comment – and kept meaning to get back to you. I think you make some excellent points.

    Generally when reading, I try not to worry too much about how the relationship would fit into the real world – after all it is fiction and I am escaping into the world the author creates. However, I understand that when a book has content that is disturbing or that we can’t picture dealing with in reality, this makes the book seem unbelievable. There are alot of things I can enjoy in a book that I know I wouldn’t enjoy in real life – and this book had many of those things. The punishment thing, for example, doesn’t always bother me.

    Thanks for posting your comments from Dear Author. I can say that Maya Banks made people think with this one. I am also SO looking forward to Micah’s story!!


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