25 July 2012

Review: The Siren - Tiffany Reisz

Notorious Nora Sutherlin is famous for her delicious works of erotica, each one more popular with readers than the last. But her latest manuscript is different—more serious, more personal—and she's sure it'll be her breakout book...if it ever sees the light of day.

Zachary Easton holds Nora's fate in his well-manicured hands. The demanding British editor agrees to handle the book on one condition: he wants complete control. Nora must rewrite the entire novel to his exacting standards—in six weeks—or it's no deal.

Nora's grueling writing sessions with Zach are draining…and shockingly arousing. And a dangerous former lover has her wondering which is more torturous—staying away from him...or returning to his bed?

Nora thought she knew everything about being pushed to your limits. But in a world where passion is pain, nothing is ever that simple.

This book. This book is the reason I didn't go to bed until 8AM a couple of weeks ago. 

This book is many things. It is brutal and heart-wrenching, beautiful and jarring, surprising and full of wit. One thing it isn't: put-downable. 

I started reading The Siren with the intent of reading a couple of chapters and calling it a night. But two chapters quickly became half the book, and I continued reading with the expectation of finding a "stopping point." And I did--at the end of the book. 

What Tiffany has done, and what I think is the most amazing thing about this book, is this: she's written a seriously hot book with a soul. The Siren is two parts philosophy, one part religious treatise (for both BDSM and the Catholicism that is so present throughout the book), one part love story, and one part kink. Nora's Catholicism is incredibly important to her, both for her faith and for her relationship with priest Soren, arguably one of the most complex characters I have ever read (and yet somehow Soren is so realistic he might be listening to your next confession). He's both a major character and a philosophy all his own that is the undercurrent of the entire story and affects each character's relationship web. 

Nora is an amazing character all her own. Confident and conflicted, playful and sensitive, beautiful Domme Nora is leading two lives that she prefers to keep separate. For most people, work is work and play is play, but for Nora, play is work and work is play. When her new editor, high-strung Zachary Easton, finally makes her acquaintance, the stuffy Brit isn't prepared for Nora's straightforwardness, eagerness (for both work and extra-curriculars), or thirst for life. Their relationship blooms into an almost-torrid affair of sorts and culminates in an incredibly delicious, emotional, and evocative scene. Nora sometimes plays the role of psychologist, using her particular skill set and her intuition to give her clients what they need more than what they want. There's a scene that sticks with me--the Michael scene--because it showcases just how good Nora is at her job and at reading people. It was one of the most moving scenes in the book for me (subject matter notwithstanding), and I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels that way.

Also, Chapter 10. Nora and Zach meet in a Catholic church, and they have one of the most mind-blowing exchanges I've ever read outside St. Thomas Aquinas and Plato. It's powerful, moving, and stirring, and I found myself contemplating that scene throughout the rest of the book.

I could ramble all damn day about what I love and feel about this book. The depth, the dichotomies, the beautiful prose, the plot, all are incredible. Sadly, this rambling "review" has barely touched the book itself. I have difficulty putting into words (bad for a writer) the spell The Siren cast on me.

Obviously, this book isn't for the faint of heart. If erotica and/or BDSM isn't your thing...shit. Get out of your comfort zone and read it anyway ;) 


Teri Anne Stanley said...

I got a little nervous the other day when I saw that the Siren had been released...because, I thought, "Hey, didn't I read that a few weeks ago?" Duh. Actual PAPER version release. I'll go back to sleep in a minute.

Anyway, I gotta say: This is not your grocery store book aisle's version of BDSM erotica. It made me uncomfortable, and not always in a good way, LOL...and that's okay. There is a lot to think about here. And if anyone can make a catholic priest into a sadist hero, it's Tiffany. Although I kind of think I need to go to confession now.

lexcade said...

HAHA I know. I'm not even Catholic and I feel like I need to go. I agree with you. A lot of that book was hard to read, but it's completely worth it.