Review: Sweet Persuasion by Maya Banks

January 13, 2014 Books, Reading, Reviews 2 ★★★½

I was poking around in my library’s digital collection the other day and stumbled across this book.  The cover on the re-released version, which I saw, is obviously meant to evoke a Twilight/50 Shades of Grey sort of feel, and that made me cringe. (Seriously, publishers, STOP DOING THAT.)  But the synopsis intrigued me, and since it was the library, I figured there was no harm in checking it out. I started reading it over breakfast this morning.

By this afternoon I was dabbing tears and trying to control my unexpected feels.

So I’d count that as a whim well-followed.

I’ve read and reviewed a few other BDSM-focused erotic romances, and so far I haven’t found one that’s really pleased me as a reader.  I’m picky about both the way steamy romances are written as well as how the BDSM elements are handled.  If I even catch a whiff of the creepy, abusive bullshit from 50 Shades, I’m out of there.

Let me just say that I absolutely loved how the characters in Sweet Persuasion approach their arrangement.  Serena wants a fantasy fulfilled.  Damon wants to own a woman, but he doesn’t just want a temporary thing.  However, he puts aside his reservations because Serena intrigues him.  They talk over exactly what she wants and what he would expect of her, and even though a contract is drawn up, it’s never ignored or tossed aside because of tempestuous desires or what have you.  They both understand what will happen and what needs to happen to make it stop, and they respect that.

That isn’t to say that their arrangement doesn’t turn into something neither one of them were expecting, but I appreciate so much that their Dom/sub arrangement is approached realistically.  There was none of the creepy paternalistic man knows better than the submissive woman crap.  Damon respects Serena for her strength in personality.

Another thing I like is that there isn’t some deep, psychological wound that makes Serena want to be a sexually submissive slave.  I’ve seen that pop up in a couple of books, and… frankly, I was hoping to find a book where it’s just a strong woman who likes being told what to do in the bedroom.  That’s exactly what I found here, and I loved it.

Even though the relationship progresses very quickly, I found myself getting emotionally involved right along with Damon and Serena.  I thought how it ended rang true to their personalities and the intimacy they’d developed, and yeah.  There were some tears on my part.

There are a few things in the book that didn’t exactly ring my bell.  A bit of public punishment made me cringe (though that was likely vicarious embarrassment), and I really wasn’t into Damon wanting to feed her by hand stuff.  That’s personal preference, though, and I fully admit that it could appeal to other readers.

The sex scenes are absolutely smoking hot.  It’s great to read a book where the author doesn’t shy away from using blunt, perhaps vulgar terms; I’d personally rather read more books with cocks and pussies than manhoods and centers.  The domination was particularly hot and… well, I won’t tell you all my favorite bits because I’d basically be reciting all of the sex scenes, but it is very steamy and very nicely written.

I appreciate that the basis of the series is female friendship, and though some of the dialogue between the friends grated on me (it’s a pet peeve when women call each other “girlfriend”), I like that the women all have very different personalities and stand up for each other.  They call each other on bullshit and lend a helping hand when things get rough.

I hadn’t realized when I first picked this up that it was book 2 in a series, but now I think I’m going to have to hunt down the other books.  If they’re anything like Sweet Persuasion, they’re hot and surprisingly emotional.