Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Goodreads Reviews: Ricochet by Xanthe


When the right dom is all wrong!

Even in a BDSM universe, where everyone is bisexual and identifies as dom or sub, finding the right partner isn’t always easy.

Matt is a big star on the hit TV show, Collar Crime, and he’s looking for a dom who ticks all the right boxes, including being as tidy and organized as himself.

That definitely isn’t his chaotic co-star, Rick, with his spanking fetish and habit of tying a different sub to his bed every night.

When Matt meets the perfect dom he’s swept off his feet, but he soon discovers that being pursued by a handsome, controlling billionaire isn’t the erotic fantasy he’d imagined.

Maybe the right dom for him is the one he thought was all wrong...


Can't believe I waited to read this. Fantastic. Fifty Stars--a hundred. One of the best books on BDSM I've read.

What follows is a pretty in-depth look a single scene, which comes about half way through. I’m not going to mark it with spoilers, since I don’t think it gives anything away to mention that the two leads do in fact have sex in this book—don’t read further if you don’t want your reading clouded by other people’s interpretations.

So to return to my opening point: why do I like this book’s portrayal of BDSM so much? And to answer, I would like to take a look at the crucial sequence where Rick arranges a “scene” to help Matt find his sub-space. It’s a long, gorgeously erotic piece of writing that also demonstrates the depth of Xanthe’s connection with her characters. Like the best erotic scenes in fiction, the sex is transformative for the characters, obviously for Matt but for Rick as well, helping each of them get in touch with key and buried parts of their sexuality and personality.

I also liked the scene because Matt’s particular problems are ones that I have thought a lot about, especially in trying to understand my own and other people’s fascination with BDSM fiction. The basic problem is that Matt can’t let himself go—he goes through the motions of his submission, choosing safe doms who won’t push him past his boundaries. He comes to realize how much his fear is holding him back, both from experiencing sexual pleasure and also from connecting deeply with his partner. But he also realizes that as long as he has a safeword, he will stop things before he can reach his sub-space.

In a fit of incredible rashness, he tries to arrange a scene with a stranger where he will have no control at all—no safeword. He’s desperate, and we understand why he acts this way, but his actions also chillingly demonstrate the risk of submitting: what happens when the other person is not trustworthy, when they don’t have your best interests at heart?

That’s where Rick steps in, rescuing Matt from a situation that would have been disastrous for him, and offering to help him: hence the scene. Rick refuses to go through the scene without a safeword, BUT he also effectively agrees, if not to ignore it altogether, at least to do everything he can to persuade/force/help Matt continue the scene if he does safeword.

As I said, I think Matt’s dilemma highlights some of the reasons BDSM, non-con, and dubious consent fictions are so popular. Most people have inhibitions, whether sexual or other--fears that hold them back and interfere with their full experience of what life has to offer. It’s not surprising that people would fantasize about finding someone strong and caring and trustworthy enough to force them to push past those inhibitions. Not coincidentally, that psychological process—of fighting yourself and being forced past a boundary in a way that leads to a feeling of catharsis—parallels/echoes orgasm itself. It’s also important to point out that you don’t need to have any real-life connection to the BDSM lifestyle to find depictions of this process personally relevant and satisfying. (That goes for orgasms too by the way.)

Of course, since this is a Xanthe book, this incredible scene of connection and catharsis comes at the half-way point, and the reader still has hundreds of pages of misunderstandings, banter, and idiot choices to get through before our heroes are allowed their final HEA. It’s an unusual way to structure a book to say the least, but there’s no point in complaining. Xanthe’s books are long, but they are also unique, scaldingly sexy, funny, touching, and most surprisingly, very wise.

Bottom line: Hopefully the mini Master's thesis I just wrote will be enough to make clear that I highly recommend this.

Rating: Five Stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads: Link to Amazon)

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