Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Jen's Review: The Virgin and the Beast

Are you ready for a good, ranty review? OF COURSE YOU ARE.

The Virgin and the Beast by Stasia Black
Publisher: July 30, 2017
Series: Stud Ranch, 0.5
Genre: Dark Erotica

They say good things come to those who wait.


My whole life has been about waiting. Playing it safe. Be the good girl, don’t color outside the lines. Put in the hard work trying to prove myself to Dad, then to my college professors, then to my boss at New World Media. Just waiting for the day when it will all pay off.

And right when it was all starting to—I finally had the house, the job, I was even thinking about getting a cat—boom!—my life explodes and suddenly now I’m here and—

“All done,” the doctor interrupts my thoughts, pulling off her gloves with a loud snap.

Even from the bed where I’m lying, my legs spread like the Thanksgiving turkey, I can hear the impatient growl of the man standing in the doorway. If you can even call him a man. More like a beast out of a friggin’ fairytale. “Well?”

Her pronouncement echoes throughout the room while the speculum is still inside me. “She’s a virgin.”

Where to Buy*:
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Jen's Review:

I paid 99 cents for this and I begrudge every penny of it.

Look, in theory, we all deserve to read whatever we want. IN THEORY. But in practice, some books have harmful and dangerous representation, and The Virgin and the Beast is one of them. I will die on this hill. This is a book about a woman who agrees to one thing, and then is forced into a submissive role to a man without her consent, without a safe word, and without any escape from her physical circumstances. I read the first quarter of the book and the last two chapters. I would not recommend reading any of it.

First of all, the blurb is completely unclear about what the book contains. Yes, it’s labeled a “dark erotic tale,” but I would also like to point out that the Amazon blurb ends with, “Intended for mature audience. Steamy romance with dark themes.” That is hardly enough to warn the reader about what they are about to encounter.

The set up for this book is that Melanie’s father is a Bernie Madoff-like character. He’s just been arrested for running a huge Ponzi scheme and swindling people out of millions. In order to help him escape to a non-extradition country, Melaine agrees to spend a year with a man who wants to have a baby. She’ll live with him, become pregnant, give up the baby, and leave.

Once she arrives, Xavier lets her hang out for a few days getting used to the house in the middle of nowhere. Of course she has no access to the internet or the outside world. He ensures her father’s safety and then he has sex with her. Honestly, fine. Whatever. I wasn’t that into it, but at least she agreed to it. But then the book goes off the rails ENTIRELY in a way that was not forecast at all by the terms of their agreement. I’m going to make a bullet list because it’s hardly worth it to make sentences.

Xavier insists, without her consent or agreement, to the following:

  • That she eat at his feet and be fed by him. She can’t feed herself. 
  • That she call him Master and that he will call her Pet.
  • When she doesn’t agree, he locks the kitchen and will not let her eat. He arouses her and withholds orgasm.

When she continues to refuse, he takes her out to the yard, puts her in a dog pen, continues to withhold food, and makes her sleep outside.

He tells her numerous times that she is like a horse, and that she must be “broken” for her own safety.
I’ve thought a lot about why I even made it this far, and it’s because Melanie kept fighting him. I do not care what kind of hideous circumstances a heroine finds herself in, as long as I believe in HER, I will keep reading. When Melanie finally gives in, because, you know, she’s freezing and starving, she promises herself that she’s going to just fake it so that she can eat and be warm. And I was thinking, “Good plan. Then you can bang him upside the head while he’s sleeping, make your escape, and meet a more worthy man.” Alas, no.

When did I give up on this book? After getting out of the literal dog pen, she quickly gives up on her vow to fake it and instead thinks he’s treating her well, and it’s okay to be forced to eat from his hand, and think it’s nice that he calls her Pet. Melanie never consented to this relationship and arrangement. I know I said this already, but it bears repeating: she never agreed to it, they never discussed it, she was never given a safe word, she cannot physically leave. She agreed to have sex with him and be pregnant. This is not a romance, this is abuse. Xavier “breaks her” and we are told that she loves it and that she is in love with him? And that he is in love with her? No. All the nos. A million times no. A fiery white-hot raging inferno of no.

I skimmed the last chapter and the epilogue to see how it would end. It has all the hallmarks of a classic HEA. Melanie has the baby and they say they love each other and live happily with the baby. Of course, she is still happy and in love despite her subservient and subordinate role. Her father gets his HEA living on an island somewhere, which in 2017, the idea that the HEA includes the softest possible landing for a billionaire who rips off others was also disgusting. The idea that they could raise a happy and healthy child was ludicrous. The idea that this is a happy relationship with a future was beyond belief.

Consent. Consent. Consent. That is all that matters. Every romance, every book of erotica marketed to romance readers, every romance reader, every woman, every girl, every person---bare fucking minimum is that we should have the right of first refusal in our bodies and in our relationships. I know it doesn’t work out that way in real life. But we must hold the line on it in romance. This isn’t dark. This is dangerous. 

 0 STARS! 

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Jen bought this -- and regrets it.

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Thanks for the review, Jen!

Um, I want to kick this book off the highest cliff, drop it into the largest pile of animal shit I can find, and then set the entire fucking thing -- shit pile AND shit-pile book -- on fire. AND I DIDN'T EVEN READ THE FUCKING THING.

Nope. Nope. NOOOOOOPE. Like Jen said already, there's a difference between dark or extreme kink that is based around the SAFE, SANE, CONSENSUAL requirement of a kink relationship --- scratch that, ANY RELATIONSHIP, EVER -- and this non-consensual piece of shit trying to call itself a romance.


Until Next Time,

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