“For a while there is silence except for the sound of my laboured breathing. And then I hear that tell-tale sound of the crop moving through the air and I know that the last strike is on its way.”
– Submission at The Tower, Locations 555-556
From Amazon: After a chance encounter with a handsome stranger introduces her to The Tower, an institution that trains women in submission, Janie McClusky is irresistibly drawn to the place. But admittance comes at a price, and soon enough Janie is utterly bare and fully on display, blushing crimson as the men at The Tower thoroughly explore her body, bringing her pain, pleasure, and shame as they see fit.
As Janie’s training begins, there is one man among the group who seems to know her own needs better than she does, and before long she finds herself yearning and even begging for his touch. But if she relinquishes control completely to this captivating stranger and allows him to break down her remaining defenses, will there be any coming back at all?
The only way that this was going to work, in illustrating to the reader what being a submissive is really about, was through a first person narrative. Ms Brandon made the right call here, because the story isn’t primarily about love or breaking the rules for love but about Janie’s experience and her internal struggles with what it truly means to be a submissive.
“His voice sounds croaky with need and impatience. At this moment I realise that for all of his pegs, binds, and crops, the power dynamic between us has subtly shifted. Now he needs me. He needs my mouth to consume him.” Locations 718-720
“…But I can manage the situation and make sure that you’re primarily my charge. I can direct your training and submission, and I can supervise if other men in The Tower want to play with you. The question, as always, Janie, is will you consent to this?” Locations 996-998
“A small moan leaves my lips and I’m aware of a rumble of appreciation amongst our audience. I feel him playing with me and I will him on, desperate to be used, even if it’s ultimately not for my own pleasure.” Locations 2213-2215
The attention to dialogue and detail made this an easy read. The narrative flowed very well and I appreciate the way in which the author tried to approach the subjects of submission and dominance. It’s not easy to explain the ideas, needs and wants to someone who has no desire to be completely dominated. It seemed like great care was put into trying to explain the character’s feelings regarding her submission but also the dominance of others, for others.
“Alive with every possible sensation my body can throw at my mind, I feel the weight of the paradox bearing down on me as though every sexual desire I’ve ever processed has all been leading to this one pinnacle moment. For the first time in too long I feel alive.” Locations 2221-2223.
The problem with books like 50 Shades of Grey and its ilk, is primarily its misrepresentation and demonisation of BDSM. I went on about this at length in my review of 50 Shades and won’t rehash all of it here. I will say that it made BDSM into an all-round, deviant evil. It purported that if you enjoy kink that there must be something intrinsically wrong with you. It did all this while simultaneously having no real BDSM in it. A rather impressive feat.
Submission at the Tower may be a bit extreme for some people to fully understand why individuals want to submit, be used, be punished, be humiliated or even physically hurt. This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. If you are looking to spice up your bedroom antics with some fuzzy handcuffs, maybe this isn’t the best place to start. However, if you are curious about the psyche of someone who is willingly submissive, and you are interested in understanding why consent is the cornerstone of all power-play dynamics, then definitely give this a read.
Don’t expect a warm and fluffy love story where the guy gives up his “deviant” ways for the heart of a girl “who just needs real love”. You are in for quite the sexual ride, so to speak, if you read this book. The “erotica” was really fantastic, the BDSM was believable, but most of all, I enjoyed the depiction of the psychological and physiological “come down” after playing. Pain, pleasure and the need to please can be extremely powerful tools in sexual relationships.
My rating: 4/5
Buy Submission at the Tower on Amazon.
You might like:
NOT 50 Shades of Grey