Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review of Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha

Erotica review today! As usual, this is an 18 and over review. Click below to read.

Beyond Shame (Beyond, #1)This book is both hot as hell and kind of interesting, from a world building perspective. In my experience that's pretty rare for erotica, so I could recommend it for that reason alone.

We open with Noelle being kicked out of Eden, the protected, safe, supposedly perfect city where her father is a political leader. In Eden, the people are ultra conservative, and the rules are quite strict--everything from drinking to premarital sex is outlawed. It' heavily implied that women never work outside the home, and that Noelle was meant to be some rich man's wife before she was exiled. Jasper finds Noelle drugged and terrified, and ends up taking her home to his gang. The O'Kane gang makes liquor, and they have cage fights, and they have orgies.

Now, of course Noelle is very innocent, having been sheltered as she was, but we are told right off the bat that she wanted those naughty experiences. That's why she got kicked out of Eden. She has a bunch of fairly specific desires involving being held down and spanked and generally being made submissive, and thus not having to take responsibility for breaking the rules and having sex. And to Jasper's credit, he doesn't automatically take advantage of her and start dominating her. He wants her to explore herself, and figure out the reasons for her desires, and come to see sex as a not-so-shameful act.  It's actually an interesting conflict--a good premise for a lot of kinky sex scenes. It gives the author license to let her characters have threesomes  and foursomes and all sorts of naughty things. Erotica where the erotic parts actually fit into the plot? Wild, I know.

Unfortunately, as characters go, Noelle and Jasper are not my favorite. Noelle is kind of bland and predictable. I'm not much for wide-eyed, innocent heroines, and she didn't have enough substance besides that to really keep me going. Jasper's stubbornness with regard to Noelle wore on me after awhile, and it never felt like he had enough romantic chemistry with her to make up for it.

What does make up for Noelle and her blandness is the supporting cast. Lex--her pushy, tough, bisexual roommate--is extremely interesting. There's also a bartender, Rachel, who's comparatively conservative, but seems to have a possible pain fetish. Interesting. I look forward to learning more about Dallas, the leader of the gang.

The somewhat dystopian setting was quite interesting, but a bit under-used. At first I had no idea where we were or what the hell was going on. The set up is extremely shoddy. Once I started to get the idea, I thought it was really cool. The O'Kanes, with their unnatural level of kinkiness and their tattoos and their copious consumption of alcohol, are an intriguing bunch. I feel like the author could have spent a lot more time developing their world, and Eden (for contrast purposes). I felt like I would have related to Noelle and the other characters more if I had a clear understanding of the backstory to everything.

To conclude, this book is a lot of fun and very, very hot. The heroine is bland, but the supporting cast is quite excellent. I look forward to (eventually) reading more of this series. 3.5 stars.

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