Friday, October 25, 2013

Book Review: Wuthering Nights

It's been awhile since I've been disappointed in a smutty novel. I'm pretty easy-to-please. I don't analyze them too much {hence why I liked 50 Shades and a lot of people did not} and don't take them too seriously. I like strong male characters who are considerate and reassuring but also know what they want. I like seeing the female characters be swept off their feet but not in a "helpless" sort of way {for example, she is charmed but is vocal about what she wants and what she doesn't want}. I must see that a scene is mostly biologically accurate, that it is consensual and that it is safe.

This one ticked none of those boxes for me. The thing is, I should have predicted this. I've always loved Wuthering Heights as a novel, but it certainly has it's own dark themes to contend with. If you mix that with what is supposed to be an erotic romance, well, you set yourself up for non-consent, non-erotic power plays and all kinds of anger and emotions. That is exactly what happened in this novel.

The premise is exactly what you'd expect. The plot follows the original one of Wuthering Heights and adds in erotic scenes at opportune times and where, when reading the original, you can imagine that something else could have or just had happened. And yet, given the sworn love between the two main characters where there is potential for loving, consensual erotic encounters, you see Heathcliff using sex as a power play against not only Catherine, but also against many of the other characters including his wife. Although you get the sense that the author was trying to show Heathcliff as dominant, he came off as abusive.

And that brings me especially to the smut part, especially the light BDSM. The characters in this novel are not strong enough to portray a responsible BDSM relationship. Catherine is spoiled and wants things her own way. Heathcliff is abusive. Nelly is weak in some ways, though not in others, but is under the influence of all of them for unknown reasons. And, frankly, I have a problem with the consent issue. In some situations, like 50 Shades of Grey, you have what is implied consent {and although there is debate on that, I've written my position on why the novels weren't really abusive}. That is, one character really wants to be with another but is unsure of what she wants and the second character is lightly persuasive and brings the first one to realize that yes, she knows what she wants and THIS is what she wants. OR, you also have situations where one scene appears non-consensual but it was clearly discussed beforehand that this is part of the scene and that the characters know each other well and/or are operating under some strict rules. That was not present in this novel.

In general, it was just really hard to get through. I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes and shaking my head. If I were you, I'd definitely give it a pass.

What have you been reading lately?

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