Friday 20 July 2012

Review: The Siren - Tiffany Reisz

UK Cover
In the world of kink authors, she’s the top.

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 gruelling 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.

The Original Sinners Series:
Seven Day Loan (Novella) (This novella was also released with the title The Gift)
Little Red Riding Crop (Free short story found on the author's website)
Submit to Desire (Novella)
The Last Good Knight (Serialized Novella published in 5 parts)
The Christmas Truce (free short story for the author's newsletter subscribers)
The Siren (The Red Years book 1)
Something Nice (Free short story for the author's newsletter subscribers)
The Angel (The Red Years book 2)
The Prince (The Red Years book 3)
The Mistress Files (Short Story Collection)
The Mistress (The Red Years book 4)
The Saint (The White Years book 1)
The King (The White Years book 2)

Visit Tiffany Reisz's website for more information.

Other reviewers have already said it but I feel I have to say it again - if you are looking for a traditional romance story then this is probably not the book for you. The Siren doesn't have a happy ever after - in fact I don't think it would have been possible to give these characters a HEA at this point in their lives - but as it is the first book in a trilogy I'm hopeful that we may have a happier ending by the time the series finishes. What I will say is that if you're looking for unique, flawed characters who will worm their way into your heart precisely because they are so broken then you need to read this book.

I'm going to tell you right now that The Siren isn't an easy read, parts of the book made me feel incredibly uncomfortable and it definitely touched on things that shocked me but in spite of that I never once considered not finishing it. From practically the first page I was completely captivated by these characters. I may not have understood some of the choices they made and I didn't always agree with their lifestyle choices but Tiffany Reisz managed to make me connect with them anyway. What was most interesting was seeing inside their heads and discovering how they felt and why they had developed their particular quirks.

Nora is our main character and the story is about her relationships with 3 very different men - Soren, Zach and Wesley. Nora is a writer who is famous for her erotica books, she has a huge fan base but what she really wants is to be accepted by a mainstream publisher and become respected as a serious writer in spite of the erotic content of her story. Writing is her passion but her main income comes from her job as a Dominatrix, in the BDSM circles she moves in she is a queen and people pay extraordinary amounts of money just to have her tie them up and spank them. Nora is such a fascinating character who is full of contradictions which is shown partly in her ability to switch between the roles of Dominant and submissive. She is highly intelligent, witty, good at verbal banter, very aware of her own sexuality and willing to take what she wants. She doesn't feel the need to hide her desires and she isn't afraid of what others think of her. Despite all of that she is also someone who is broken and at times she seemed so lost that my heart went out to her.

Now lets have a look at the men in her life. First I'm going to talk about Zach. He is an editor at the respected publishing house who have decided they want to purchase Nora's next novel. He is quite a snob and believes that Nora is beneath him because she writes erotica. Zach is English but has been living in New York since his wife Grace left him, they may have been separated for a year but it is obvious he is still hung up on her and it takes a while before you find out the reason for their split. Although he hates the idea of working for Nora his boss is pretty insistent and after meeting her for the first time he finds himself intrigued by her. She isn't anything like he expected her to be and he finds himself drawn to her like no other woman since Grace. A brutal editor he is well known for upsetting the authors he works with but Nora is willing to take any amount of criticism that he can throw at her if it means her book will be better by the end of the process. I have to say that out of all of Nora's relationships this was the one I liked least (which is saying something considering how I feel about Soren!). For some reason I found it really difficult to like Zach, I just found him a bit too willing to sit back and let things happen to him. I wanted to see more fight in him to go out and get what he wanted from life and I felt that he was using Nora because she was convenient rather than because he had any real feelings for her. That didn't really seem to worry Nora though so I'm not sure why it irritated me so much.

The next man (well I say man but I almost want to call him a boy) I'm going to mention is Wesley. He was the character I loved the most, he is such a sweet and innocent young man and he cares so deeply for Nora. I desperately wanted him to be with Nora but equally didn't see how such an innocent young virgin would ever be enough for someone as used to the D/s lifestyle as she was. Wesley is her rock and she does love him but I never felt that she was in love with him like a partner would be. They were good friends and she doesn't feel she could live without him but she equally didn't want to taint what they had with the darker side of her life. Wesley hated her job as a Dominatrix and desperately wanted her to give up that lifestyle and settle down. Watching the two of them was both adorably sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. You are left feeling that they could be so good together if only he wasn't so innocent or she wasn't so experienced. It felt like the ultimate case of bad timing.

Now the final man in Nora's life is Soren, he is the love of her life and she was in a D/s relationship with him from when she was just 15 years old. For the majority of the book their relationship both horrified and terrified me - Soren is quite a bit older than her and when you discover more about who he is you'll understand why I felt like he had possibly abused a position of trust. I have read stories with fairly light BDSM in before but between Nora and Soren things are hardcore and reading made me cringe at times. I still don't know quite what to make of Soren, I don't trust him and I don't like him but as I got to know him I did start to feel like he had genuine feelings for Nora. The love between them may not be something that I could understand but that doesn't make it any less. Although Nora loves Soren she still left him and they have been apart for a year now, I can't really go into details of their separation without giving spoilers so I'll just say that it was sad to see how deeply they both cared and not wish for them to find a way to be together.

I've said it already but it's worth saying again - The Siren isn't a traditional romance but that doesn't make it any less a love story. There are so many different kinds of love between these characters but it is a messy kind of love, the kind that doesn't have an easy happy ending but the kind that sticks with you long after you finish reading about it. If you're going to read this book then you need to go into it with no expectations, be prepared to be taken way out of your comfort zone, be prepared for things that will probably shock and horrify you but also be prepared to be captivated. Tiffany Reisz will take you on a ride unlike any you've ever been on and you will enjoy every second of the emotional roller coaster!

Source: Received from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Other Reviews:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

US Cover
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