Wednesday 3 February 2010

M/M Challenge Review - Bound and Determined by Jane Davitt & Alexa Snow

When Sterling Baker discovers the wonderful world of BDSM, he's ready to literally throw himself at the feet of the spectacular Owen Sawyer, but Owen is unwilling to take on someone so new to the scene—or so he says. Determined to get what he wants, Sterling sets out to convince the doubting Owen that he can be the best sub in the world, the fastest learning, the most obedient.

It's not as easy as he thinks it will be, and things get even more complicated when Sterling realizes that he's fallen in love with Owen. With the stakes that much higher, Sterling's more determined than ever to win Owen over. But now he'll have to convince Owen they can have more than a teacher/student relationship, more than just good kink.
I first read about this on Jenre's Well Read blog. Though I think I've read reviews of it in a couple of other places. I highly recommend you follow the link if you haven't already read Jenre's review as she's far more eloquent than I. :)

What I enjoyed most about this story was the intensity of the interaction between Owen and Sterling and the BDSM was a big part of that. Perhaps more intense and detailed than I've read previously. (With the exception of The Administration Series, but in Bound and Determined there is a clear emotional involvement that develops between the protagonists that exists outside the sex). If you prefer only very light BDSM this may be too strong for you.

I really liked the fact that Sterling didn't feel able to say 'I love you'. (Which may seem a strange thing to say but it gave you such an insight into the two characters). He clearly wanted to but there was almost the sense that he felt if he said it that it would push Owen away, that it was the wrong thing to say, that it wasn't appropriate. When he finally says it you can almost feel the tension that has been building release. And I would rather wait to hear an 'I love you' and believe it, than hear it too soon and have it knock me out of the story. (In fact I'd go so far as to say I'd rather not hear it at all but know that the characters do love each other, than have them say it and it feel fake).

I do agree partly with Jenre that Sterling's father verges on a caricature, we never find out the reasons for his bigotry. Perhaps if we did, he wouldn't have felt quite so two-dimensional. However, having said that, such people do exist in real life, I just wish he could have been developed a little more.

One of the problems I've had with the m/m stories I've read recently (referring to e-books here) is that the length of them hasn't seem to done the stories justice. Too often I've felt dissatisfied with the ending of a story because I felt there was more story to tell. That wasn't the case here. I felt that even though the end is kind of 'in media res', that it was perfect. The relationship developed between the two men, went through a crisis and came out stronger on the other side.


Jenre said...

So glad you liked it too, Lesley :).

Kris said...

Lesley, I've also been having problems with the lengths of ebooks in terms of feeling that there is more story to tell or certain areas weren't particularly well developed.

Like you, though, I found this particular story a very satisfying read.

Great review. :)

LesleyW said...

Jenre - me too. :) I was pretty sure I would after reading your review.

Kris - Thanks :). It feels like it's one of my most common complaints - that I want the story to be longer. But with this one, even though it ended where it did I felt happy that there had been a proper resolution to everything that was raised during the story.