Guest Review: The Dominant by Tara Sue Me

Posted August 4, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 1 Comment

15777279Whitley’s review of The Dominant (The Submissive Trilogy #2) by Tara Sue Me

Nathaniel West doesn’t lose control.

As the playboy CEO of West Industries, he governs the boardroom during the day; as a strict dominant with exacting rules, he commands the bedroom at night. He never takes on inexperienced submissives, but when Abigail King’s application comes across his desk, he breaks his own restrictions and decides to test her limits.

Abby’s combination of innocence and willingness is intoxicating, and Nathaniel is soon determined to collar her as his own. As long as she follows his orders and surrenders herself fully to him, no one will get hurt.

But when Nathaniel begins falling for Abby on a deeper level, he realizes that the trust must go both ways—and he has secrets which could bring the foundations of their entire relationship crashing down…

This was billed to me as a sequel, but it’s just an alternate POV of the very story that was covered in The Submissive.  The same time period, the same scenes, the same dialogue, the same everything.  It was a completely unnecessary addition to the series, because The Submissive did not leave any holes that needed to be filled.  Everything was neatly wrapped up and explained in the end, so this companion novel didn’t even serve the function of wrapping up loose ends.

That said, I enjoyed this story a lot more from Nathanial’s perspective than I did from Abigail’s.  Nathaniel had a much more engaging character arc and much more dramatic problems.  His issues were ones that had to be overcome, as opposed to Abby, who didn’t struggle with anything at all.  Nathaniel’s thoughts were sweet and deliciously angsty.  Over the top emotionality, but in such a fun way.  It made the book a lot more readable than the previous offering.

It took a nose-dive on the BDSM front.  I said in my review of The Submissive that I thought it’s greatest boon was that the negotiations happened off-page and therefore we were free to assume that they were both open and thoroughly satisfactory.  Unfortunately, Nathaniel fills us in on a lot of that process, and finding out exactly how unsatisfactory those negotiations were detracted a lot from any enjoyment to be had in the sex scenes.

A lot of what we hear from Nathaniel on the subject of BDSM simply doesn’t jive.  His greatest hangup throughout the novel stems from a basic misunderstanding of how BDSM works, when he assumes from the get-go that a submissive would not want an affectionate relationship.  He takes it as basic fact.  There’s points in the novel where he devoutly wishes for a way to openly talk to Abigail, without realizing that he can openly talk to Abigail, there’s nothing stopping him.  Although these issues get addressed, it’s just so bizarre to see them brought up this way in the first place from a character that supposedly is well-informed with ten years experience.  Nathaniel comes off, not as an experienced Dom who is part of an established community, but instead as an isolated play boy who’s getting all his information from a couple of porn sites.  He’s got a laundry list of facts that are right, but he acts like the scene itself is all he knows about, and he’s consistently surprised by what many would consider normal to the relationship part of BDSM.

He even has very narrow attitudes towards the practice, going so far as to assume that it’s a set lifestyle that can’t be altered or tweaked.  He gets upset at the idea of punishing Abigail without even a hint of recognition of the fact that he doesn’t have to.  There’s no rulebook to BDSM.  He could make up non-physical punishments or just ignore that aspect entirely, but instead he forces both of them through an act they don’t like because he believes it to be required. He comes off as very new and very uninformed, which would be fine if we were reading the story of a new Dom and his sub, but he’s supposed to be the expert here.

Overall, it was an improvement on the character front, but a downgrade on the BDSM.  It shared in all the pacing and consent problems of the first book, but it provided a much more entertaining bang for your buck.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover

This title is available from NAL.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.


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