February 17, 2011

Review: Dark Citadel by Cherise Sinclair

Dark Citadel
Author: Cherise Sinclair
Publisher: Loose Id
Series: Masters of the Shadowlands, Book 2
ISBN: 9781596329201
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Loose Id

For more information please visit Cherise Sinclair's website.

Dark Citadel is the second novella in Cherise Sinclair’s addictive erotic series Masters of the Shadowlands. Truly Sinclair never disappoints with stories that are highly erotic and yet focus not only on the sex, but on the characters and their emotional states. Highly romantic and beyond hot, this is yet another installment that will leave you begging for more.

The characters are once again engaging, their flawed personalities and emotional restraints making them endearing to the reader. Kari is hesitant about exploring the sexual underworld of BDSM confused and embarrassed by her need for a strong commanding male in her bed. Her religious upbringing adds a lot to the weight of the guilt she feels and the unconventional, even ‘exotic’ proclivity leaves her feeling ashamed after careful consideration in the light of day. However, her undeniable attraction to both the world of domination and the man who would be her Master definitely conflict with those reservations. Master Dan is likewise torn when it comes to sweet and innocent Kari. She tugs at every dominant string in him and his need to protect and pleasure her is at odds with his need to keep her at arms length. After the tragic accidental death of his wife, he’s wrapped himself in isolation with guilt and anger as his only companions and never taking any sub for more then one night. When Master Z tells Dan to take on the beginner Dan reluctantly agrees only to find himself surprisingly possessive of her. Yet, despite the hesitancy the sparks of this relationship are hot and passionate with their own reluctance adding to the emotional appeal of their bond. With some very hot sex and some very erotic situations these two were pretty much doomed from the moment Master Z started playing match maker against them.

Again, this is more a character read then anything else and the world Sinclair built in the form of the Shadowlands is quite evocative. The atmosphere is interesting and despite the public spectacles there is a sense of safety and comfort. Of course, when Master Dan pushes Kari into public sharing and humiliation there was a bit of a crack in the atmosphere. However, he doesn’t push her farther then she is secretly willing to go and his presence alone is comforting to her as she comes to grudgingly admit she is turned on by the very public sexual displays. Which is a perfect example of Sinclair’s ability to not only set the tone of the setting, but the characters as well.

The story itself flows freely and like I said before, this is more of an erotic character study immersed in the more soft core elements of BDSM. The romantic appeal far out weighs the ‘exotic’ nature of the relationship and I actually found this to be more of a novella about freeing ones self from preconceptions and the taboo society places of some expressions of sexuality.

However, while I really did enjoy this novella, it just didn’t have the same appeal as Club Shadowlands. While there was a threat of action and the possibility of suspense with Kari’s shunned Dom hopeful Buck, the little scuffle between he and Dan was a bit of a let down. I would have liked to see that aspect pumped up a bit because who doesn’t love a bit of stalker-ish male jealousy? Also, I would have liked to see a bit more exploration of Dan breaking through his need for self imposed isolation. I would have loved to know his thoughts after Kari chastises him for carrying so much guilt and rage and would have liked to see him actually working through it. Instead, he suddenly seems to have a break through where he can’t live without Kari anymore, and while sweet and all, it was a bit sudden. But, overall, Sincalir captures the humanity of the characters beautifully.

In the end, this is still a wonderfully addictive series. The Doms and Subs are wonderfully humanized and this quality definitely makes this series accessible to all, not only those interested in BDSM. Above all, the romance between the characters and the character themselves are what really draws me to this series and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next installment!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Scars

Advisory: Strong sexual content
Contains strong BDSM themes

After Kari breaks up with her date during Beginner's Night at Club Shadowlands, she's given the option to continue with an experienced dominant. Despite her steamy fantasies about BDSM, the inexperienced schoolteacher plans to simply observe. Yet under the unyielding hands of Master Dan, she not only participates, but gives him everything he asks for. There is nothing she can hide from him. Not her passion...or her love.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, BDSM theme and content (including/not limited to bondage, caning, restraint, spanking, tethering) exhibitionism, voyeurism

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