2 Doll ARC Review – The Angel by Tiffany Reisz
Author: Tiffany Reisz
Title: Series: The Original Sinners #2
Reviewers: Mona Leigh & Suz
Source: Netgalley ARC
No safe word can protect the heart…
Infamous erotica author and accomplished dominatrix Nora Sutherlin is doing something utterly out of character: hiding. While her longtime lover, Søren–whose fetishes, if exposed, would be his ruin–is under scrutiny pending a major promotion, Nora’s lying low and away from temptation in the lap of luxury.
Her host, the wealthy and uninhibited Griffin Fiske, is thrilled to have Nora stay at his country estate, especially once he meets her traveling companion. Young, inexperienced and angelically beautiful, Michael has become Nora’s protégé, and this summer with Griffin is going to be his training, where the hazing never ends.
But while her flesh is willing, Nora’s mind is wandering. To thoughts of Søren, her master, under investigation by a journalist with an ax to grind. And to another man from Nora’s past, whose hold on her is less bruising, but whose secrets are no less painful. It’s a summer that will prove the old adage: love hurts.
Doll Mona Leigh
After devouring , I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Angel. Imagine how happy I was to find it available on NetGalley for review! Yes, I did a happy dance. I immediately started bugging Doll Suz to get it, too.
The Angel picks up thirteen months after The Siren ends. Nora’s back with Søren, Wesley’s back at home with his parents, and Søren is being considered for a high profile promotion. If he gets it, it will mean the end of his time with Nora. When a nosey reporter starts digging into his background all sorts of things start happening. But the question everyone wants answered? Who tipped off the reporter? The culprit will surprise you!
Gah! I want to spill everything so badly I can taste it, but there are many of you who haven’t read the first book yet. That means I can’t. Suffice it to say, Søren’s still the ‘big bad’—the master sadist—and the sex is still as kinky and hot as ever. We also get to watch two characters we met in The Siren as they discover love from afar—after Søren orders one to keep hands off the other. Funny how people want most what they’re forbidden to have.
Nora finally learns the truth about Wesley, and lets him know in a subtle way that he’s been found out. There’s a lot of unresolved emotion between those two—oh hell, unrequited love—that has to be dealt with. Nora thinks she’s dealing with it just fine, but Wesley knows better. After a confrontation with him, Søren does, too. How does it play out? You don’t think I’m going to give that away, do you?! Let’s just say it’s awesome and selfless.
What about Søren? Hmmm, how much can I say without spoiling? I will say this: What I learned about Søren’s childhood made me wonder how the man could function at all, but he has a code of honor and he’s a stickler about following it. And for the first time since meeting Nora, he admits to being attracted to someone else. Can this bode well for Nora’s future with him? Will he succumb to the attraction? The suspense is driving me nuts.
I thoroughly enjoy Tiffany Reisz’s writing style. Her characters and their lives are complex and multi-layered. Her sex scenes don’t feel contrived (or as Doll Suz calls it “slap and tickle”). They have an authentic air to them, and the difference between them and the Shades of Grey books is like comparing diamonds to rhinestones. I’ve been touting these books to anyone who’ll listen, and thankfully, Suz decided to do a joint review with me. I’m anxious to read her thoughts now.
I remember when the original request to review The Siren, Tiffany Reisz’ first book in The Original Sinners series, came to the Dolls. It was not long after ten of us had reviewed 50 Shades of Grey in which my disappointment with the BDSM in those books was deep enough to be called ire, at least. To say that the BDSM in that series didn’t ring true to me would be a significant understatement. So I quickly scanned the description of The Siren with my admittedly jaundiced eye, made a quick and erroneous assumption that it was about a dominant male editor who flips a dominant female author to submissive, and curled my own dominant lip as I said “no, thank you” and forgot about it.
Not long after that Mona started raving about The Siren in our book group. She didn’t even wait to finish the book she just started raving about it as she went along. She actually said that the protagonist, Nora, reminded her of me. I’m not sure if she still thinks that but if she does I’m now honored. I realized in short order that I’d jumped to the wrong conclusions about the plot. Realizing I needed to get over myself and take a look wasn’t far behind that. Like Mona, I was sucked in to The Siren almost immediately without any of the disappointments and distractions previously mentioned about that other series. I experienced The Siren, its characters and situations, personally, as if they were people I knew from my own life and for whom I was rooting. I was hooked.
I could go on and on about The Siren but this review is about The Angel, book #2 in that series, so I’ll have to leave that be for now. I share all this history with you so that you’ll know that I was a hard sell on this series, at least at first.
I’m not sure where to start with the reasons I loved this book and this series. The BDSM is gritty and dark and, to me, quite real. For people with no experience it may seem extreme or over the top but in many ways that’s one of the things that I most liked about it. There are a lot of folks who do this, or variants of it, in real life who really DO THIS in real life. The Original Sinners series doesn’t treat them like they are humanity’s blight trying to fit in or shamefully hide their chosen expressions. Rather it successfully paints a picture of very human people that live out loud, for whom extremes in sensation, emotion, commitment, and perspective are natural and second nature to them. These are people who create their own “normal” and do their best to be unencumbered by society. Still, they live in society, are touched by society, and have to deal with it whether they like it or not.
Reisz creates a world filled with characters that show us their humanity, their darkness and their light. She uses both to make us examine our own perceptions and reactions without ever being preachy, and along the way she steals our breath and gives us back just enough to keep us in the game albeit panting. Yes, these could be called erotica. It’s the kind of erotica for which the erotic is part and parcel of the story but it’s the story that is rich and enveloping.
These books selectively open some characters to us while allowing us to make assumptions and even prejudices about other characters, only to show us another perspective later that turns our assumptions on their tails. The Angel is, among other things, a coming of age story but who exactly is coming of age isn’t quite clear. It’s a story of two unlikely people coming into their truth of who they are and who they want to be, and discovering those things with each other. It’s also a continuation from The Siren that will turn your assumptions about Søren on its tail and leave you questioning your own understanding of what light and dark is. It’s written in such a way that you could embrace it as a stand-alone and still enjoy it, but I strongly urge you to read The Siren first. There is a reveal in The Siren that you deserve to get undiluted and which will help to build those prejudices and preconceptions within you that will make The Angel all the more sweet a journey.
I have to admit that my own experiences and perspective have colored my view of Wesley, who I believe is one of the primary focuses of the next book, The Prince, which is scheduled to release November 20, 2012. I am impatient with him and I feel intolerant. I find him arrogant and condescending, even though I know he doesn’t realize that’s what he’s doing. Others I have spoken to just see him as inexperienced but caring and warm. I see him as manipulative and unwilling to own his own desires so he tries to make everyone else fit into what is comfortable for him to embrace. So you see, my prejudices and preconceptions are already set up for the next book! I’m sure Reisz will find a way to smack me in the face with them and I very much look forward to it.
When Mona finished reading The Siren she said, “Oh, Suz! She broke him! She broke him and rebuilt him! She broke everyfuckingbody around her…including herself. It was incredible.” That sentence has stayed with me through all my readings of Reisz’ work in this series. These characters are so alive, so big, so real that all their relationships are transformative and the reader can’t help but be transformed with them.
Reisz also has several short stories and novellas available in this series, as well as a very generous selection of work on her blog that is free. Resist the urge to read the free stuff first, you do not want to be spoiled for the reveal in The Siren.
Reisz will draw you in and make you question your reality and, like any kinkster worth their salt, she’ll make you very happy you took the ride.