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I have been getting pretty personal on the blog lately. Here I go again! Rather than go snarky this week (which fellow read-alongers have got covered, and they do it so well,) I’m going to talk about the bits that made me uncomfortable.
My first couple of serious relationships were emotionally abusive. At the time, I would have said the same things Pia says about Dragos, “he’s controlling” or “he’s just really jealous,” and of course “it’s just because he loves me so much.” These “rules” are really familiar to me:
- Pia isn’t allowed to go anywhere on her own. When the elf dude invites Pia to visit him, Dragos literally puts himself in front of her.
- Pia isn’t allowed to have secrets. How many times does Dragos harp on knowing about her mom? She’s not allowed to have an inner life or anything that belongs to her – NOT EVEN HER OWN MEMORIES.
- Pia is only allowed to have friends that Dragos pre-approves. She’s allowed to hang out with the sentries and Tricks. These are all people who are more loyal to Dragos than they are to her.
- Until she isn’t. Even when the friends are pre-approved, if they like her *too* much, it’s not okay. The section cuts off just before Dragos flies off the handle because he catches her sparring with his bros (which he suggested she do!) This was the most triggering scene for me – remembering so many fights about who I was friends with, what I was doing with them, does this guy like you, did you sit beside him, did he touch you, on and on – and this was the “pre-approved” friends! Forget anyone I knew in the past.
I’ve been reading reviews on Goodreads and they’re full of women swooning over how Dragos is so “alpha” and “possessive” and “stalkerific” and I’m going to assume none of these women have been in an actual relationship like this, or else they’re still stuck in one, because it’s not fun, it’s not romantic, and it is abuse.
Okay. Let’s not end on a heavy note. The Good, The Bad, and The WTF worked pretty well last week, so let’s go:
- Pia “shutting down.” This was realistic – I like that she is portrayed as having limits and not being able to push through like some kind of super hero.
- I liked the idea of the Elven Wafer thingies, except for the fact that they never come up again. Though I kept thinking of “they’re wafery thin!”
- I appreciate that the first sex scene wasn’t the usual man-on-top penis-in-vagina sex for 2 minutes = multiple orgasms.
- Enjoyed drunk-Pia and drunk-Tricks. I totally made a flow chart of who slept with who when I worked at the mall (Everyone with everyone. It was gross.)
- This is one of the few passages I genuinely liked in terms of the actual writing: “An intact sister to the damaged Winged Victory of Samothrace, housed at the Louvre, the sculpture depicted a beautiful, powerful goddess with a stern face. She was draped in flowing robes, with her great wings swept high into the air behind her. She held a sword in one hand, while the other cupped her mouth as she called a battle cry to unseen troops. The statue was from ancient Greece, but the inscription in the modern pedestal was in Latin, and very simple. REGNARE. To reign.”
- Of course the goblins leave Pia and Dragos alone and unguarded. Of course.
- Emo Dragos: “Maybe you will someday, just as soon as I understand myself.” Bitch please.
- The creep factor. The fact that Dragos had all of her belongings moved into his penthouse is super disturbing. Later than day, he removes her clothes while she’s sleeping! NOPE NOT OKAY!
- The obvious set up (for a sequel?) that Pia will become the head of PR for a multinational company. I’m sure her bartending experience will be really helpful there.
- The sex scenes are boring as hell. What does it say about me when a dragon sex book is too vanilla for my liking? Seriously though, it’s like every romance/erotica I read is either WAY too boring (50 Shades, this one) or WAY WAY WAY over the line (The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty.) Is anyone writing sex scenes that are not totally boring but also not totally disgusting?
- There’s a lot of hissing when they have sex. Do dragons hiss? Because I’m picturing a cat hissing and it’s pretty hilarious.
- Pia is super impressed by the vegan meal she gets even though it has no protein which is a major pet peeve of real actual vegans. Throw some beans or tofu in there, for god’s sake!
- Presented without comment: “She looked into his eyes as she curved a hand around the broad mushroom head and stroked. “
Tune in next week for the merciful end.