Review: Mastered by Maya Banks

Title: Mastered
Author: Maya Banks
Publisher: Headline Eternal

This book is not a book I would have ever chosen to read. I was offered the opportunity to review and I accepted. I took it as a challenge. I realised it might be a little hard core, as I usually review romance. I can certainly say it's a well written book and that the plot is intriguing. The characters are memorable. But it features actual perversion and I'm afraid I'm pretty much a vanilla type in this realm of things. This basically confirms it.

This book is for the reader who enjoys BDSM, actually or virtually. I found the dominant/submissive relationship dynamic  to be completely disturbing and I skimmed and scanned the more risqué scenes. It also ventures into the area of ménage, which I found ... well, I’d rather not say, I’m afraid. Look, when it comes to consenting adults in private, I’m with you on that one. Be free to be who you truly are and all that. Only I’d rather not be there, if you don’t mind, unless I’m your lover. When it comes to consenting adults in private, the keyword or phrase for me, apart from consenting adults, is private.

Now if the author had done a Jane Austen and left the readers at the bedroom door, it would have, in any case, been an intriguing read, for me at least. I just could not figure out how Evangeline had such low self-esteem. How could she adore Drake so much when he’d virtually kidnapped her and made it his mission to dominate her?  And as for his telling her parents that he was going to make sure she was okay and that nothing bad would happen to her, well that was laughable. His way of showing love is grotesque in my humble opinion. And he’s foul mouthed. He can’t speak a sentence without using obscenity. And Vangie baby, she loves it! It doesn’t make sense. She came from a nice home, she had nice parents. How can she possibly enjoy punishment and humiliation? Drake is one man who enjoys utilising the riding crop, but there isn’t a horse in sight! The vision of Evangeline snuggling close to Drake after another night ‘on the rack’, telling him how much she adores him and will never leave him is puke-inducing.

Maya Banks is a talented writer who knows how to spin a yarn and build up tension. She certainly knows how to keep a reader hooked. But Drake and Evangeline both need to learn what real love is. I do hope they get there in the end. Evangeline needs to learn that love is not letting the man you love get an ego trip by causing you deliberate pain. And Drake needs to learn that loving someone is not controlling them.

The most amazing scenes in the story are in the closing moments. Drake, whose real business we never get to know, pushes Evangeline beyond her limits and she does the one sensible thing she should have done all along.

I stand by what I said about Maya Banks as an author and as a writer.  I guess I just wasn’t the right reader to appreciate this particular book.