WARNING – THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SEXUAL REFERENCES AND ADULT LANGUAGE
I want so much to leave that as my entire review, because I think that’s pretty much all it deserves, but at the same time, I feel a responsibility to explain why.
The story: Three long-time friends (Danny, Paul, and Eve) are in love with one-another. Though they’ve been in and out of relationships with each other and with others, the time has arrived when they must face up to the fact that Eve is going to have to choose between Danny and Paul. But it isn’t as easy as that. Paul has been a sexual slave-servant to Danny’s sadistically domineering behavior. And when Danny finds out that Paul still has feelings for Eve, he uses (abuses) his sexual power over Paul to let him know that he’ll never get to have Eve. When Eve learns about the nature of their relationship, Danny convinces her to experience the pain that he loves to dish out.
This is clearly…CLEARLY…not my type of book.
I don’t consider myself prudish (though maybe I should reassess this?) and I accepted to read this, knowing it was likely to contain some graphic sex, and possibly some graphic sex that is unfamiliar to me (homosexual sex). What I didn’t expect was that it would contain violent sex and characters who enjoyed pain.
Danny is not just a Dominant sex provider, he and Paul are in a relationship that thrives on hurting one another. (“Unbelievable, I’ve got to beat the shit out of you to get you to love me” Danny says to Paul at one point.) When Eve finally learns all this about the two, she comments that it is a problem that Paul is ‘addicted to pain.’ Danny replies:
“…anyone can get an endorphin high from pain, but it’s usually pointless because the agony makes us too miserable to enjoy it”
“But if you enjoyed pain–” (Eve)
“Then it makes an endorphin high the highlight of a really fun game.”
Which might make it sound as though Danny is thoughtful and caring, but he does convince Eve to experience the pain that he can dish out, and when she asks about safe words, he bullies her and says that she needs to trust him. Ah…no.
But the problem here, for me as a reader, is not so much the sex that I can’t imagine anyone ever enjoying … I get that there are people who feel this way … it is that none of these characters is particularly likable! Danny is the leader of this three-some and should be the character that we respond to, but since he also has the role of the person who enjoys inflicting pain on others there is a big hurdle to over-come. But there is nothing here to make us like this person despite his sexual predilections (I presume that we’re supposed to like him because of his interest in being a Dom). We don’t tend to like Paul because he’s a wimp. It’s okay to have a sexual fantasy to be dominated or even to be in constant pain to enjoy sex, but can he be strong otherwise? He’s supposed to be an attorney, but I think that’s just to try to make him a strong character, but the author actually needs to put some effort into it. Giving him a powerful professional position does not make him strong.
And Eve…? To be honest, I don’t know why she’s in the book. Both men claim to love her and want to be with her, but their homosexual relationship (based on dominance and pain) is so strong that I couldn’t believe either ever wanted to be with a woman.
I truly admit that homosexuality and dominance in sex is not my cup of tea. So why read this? Good question. If you look at the book description as found on Goodreads, I don’t think you’ll find what’s actually in the book. I was expecting a book about three people who have a long and strong relationship that includes a lot of sex. I was not expecting something that would appeal primarily to the Marquis de Sade.
Looking for a good book? Even if you are a fan of S&M, either in your personal life or in your literature, Beyond Eden, by Kele Moon, fails to provide a quality read.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Kele Moon
publisher: Ellora’s Cave
paperback, 404 pages