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By Sylvia Day

Eva Tramell moves to Manhattan fresh out of college, eager to start her career in advertising. Her first day on the job brings her face to face with owner and billionaire Gideon Cross. Floored by his mouth-watering good looks and cold disposition, Eva immediately flags him as ‘dangerous’; precisely the type of man whose face was good for her fantasies but she could never date. Gideon relentlessly pursues Eva not swayed by her insistence that she is not interested. The undeniable attraction between them sparks a flame not to be ignored. But can Eva ignore all the shadows in Gideon’s past? Or worse, can she keep her own shadows from coming back to haunt them both?

From the beginning two things were apparent in this book: 1) there are WAY too many plot similarities to ‘50 Shades of Grey’; and 2) the heroine, Eva, is much more likable and has much more chutzpah than Ana (the heroine in ‘50 Shades of Grey’). While the author insists that she had not read ‘50 Shades of Grey’ before writing her novel, the plots are closely parallel in every way, from the main characters (hero: aloof billionaire, heroine: aspiring college grad) to subtle plot points (jealous exes, stalkerish tendencies, haunting nightmares, etc.). Thus, as a follow-up book to ‘50’ it really has very little to offer. While Eva initially seemed stronger-willed and spunkier, as the novel progressed she also became more and more insecure and lost all of this reader’s empathy. Eva continually misreads situations and victimizes herself constantly putting pressure on a budding relationship. What’s worse, she never grows. The same insecurities continue to come up and this reader simply got fed up.   

This novel is a Contemporary Romance with hints of BDSM (and when I say ‘hints’ I really mean hints!). What this novel portrays the best is simply an extremely active and adventurous sex life. If that was what the author was trying to accomplish then I commend her. However, the sex was so frequent and rather unvaried that this reader was frankly a little bored. Just as the relationship between the characters doesn’t evolve much, neither does their sex life. Reading the same thing over and over again (even if it is spicy sex!) just leaves a reader unsatisfied. There were a few scenes that do stand out in this readers memory, specifically one exhibition scene where Eva is completely dominated by Gideon. This scene involved double penetration, exhibitionism  power play, and some great dialog. While this reader doesn’t expect every scene in the book to be so thrilling, this reader does have high expectations on writing quality and plot structure which is still necessary even in erotic fiction. Just because ‘50 Shades of Grey’ was a successful novel does not mean that Erotic Fiction should solely limit itself to bland plots about millionaires with fucked up pasts and young insecure girls. This reader is ready for something new.

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