I don't know how to rate this...First, let me say that the whole D/s thing is not my particular brand of kink. It causes me to cringe and I did a lot
of cringing while reading this, and while it did affect how much I enjoyed
the book, I'm not hijacking stars because of it.
Why if I don't enjoy this type of thing would I subject myself to it, especially given the nature of Soren and Nora's relationship? Why didn't I just DNF it? Simply put: the writing is exceptional.
Wesley-Smart, honest, innocent, protective and gentle. Could not have been more perfect or sweet, and my heart truly broke for him.
Soren-While he sounded wise while spouting his little parables and he was observant in the way that one who tortures others for a living would be, I did not find him appealing, nor did I buy into the idea that he loved Nora.
Zach-I liked Zach. I felt for him and his situation with Grace. His relationship with Nora didn't bother me and I found myself rooting for him in some capacity through most of the book.
Nora-I have recently been complaining about unoriginal, boring, annoying, weak female characters, all it took was about 3 pages of Tiffany Reisz to restore my faith in an author's ability to write an original, authentic, strong (for the most part), honest, and unique character. Nora had many qualities I loved--a self awareness that allowed her to recognize her faults and her desire and her fears in an honest and completely capable way. She had issues, don't get me wrong, but overall, I enjoyed her as a character. She did piss me off pretty good about 75% of the way through...I was truly disappointed in her, but she got back on track. Where I ran into problems with her was her relationship with Soren. And I'm not talking about the D/s thing. My issue is that she admitted she wasn't into it...she wasn't in it for the pain, didn't want the pain, she wanted him
and the only way she could have him was to let him beat her. That was...unfortunate.
I knocked a star off for the 15 year old...I'm not sure what my rating is...but yeah...not feeling that at all.
While I enjoyed the characters, I didn't want Nora to end up with any of them. Wesley was too good for her, Zach obviously belonged to someone else and Soren...well...they're toxic together.
Now that I've complained, let me compliment...again...the writing is fantastic. It's witty and smart and emotional and the story within the story that was really Nora and Soren's history was brilliantly done. The story that was Wesley and Nora was brilliant and heartbreaking. If the writing wasn't so compelling, I wouldn't have continued, but I absolutely wanted to read each word and see where it went.
Having said that, I'm not sure I will continue on with the series...I will have to think on this before I can rate it...