Reading this book was like trying to watch a show behind a thick pane of glass. What do I mean by that (because what a weird metaphor)? Basically, I felt like I never really got what was promised. I was given this potentially interesting story, but it was always a little out of reach, always only skimming the surface. Some of Kara’s and Dante’s issues were never fully explored and we’re given pat explanations for their feelings and actions. There also weren’t any to-dos in the plot, so that when their relationship is going through highs and lows (usually because of Kara, mind you), it seems completely random and out of the blue: Wait, why is she storming out right now? Didn’t they both just admit they might have feelings for one another? Wasn’t she happy two seconds ago?
If I’m giving the impression I didn’t like anything in the book, that wasn’t the case. The chemistry was definitely there, and if Berlin can write sex scenes that I find sizzling when I don’t even like one of the lead characters, then she’s obviously doing something right. The constant mention of Kara going into “subspace” did get on my nerves though, and sometimes it read a little awkwardly when Dante called her “beautiful girl,” his favorite pet name for her (in CRs, I’m more of a “baby” fan myself ;-)).
I found Dante to be very likable. He’s a Dom and I don’t read much BDSM, so though I sometimes found him too overbearing or controlling (I know, he’s supposed to be, apologies!), I also thought he was sweet and sexy. Throughout the book, Dante is much more open and honest than Kara, both with her and with himself (and thus the reader). Some parts of his backstory are very cliché, but he’s interesting and I think even more could have been done with him.
Kara, on the other hand, was rather prosaic. She was a little bland for the first part of the book and towards the end outright annoying. She goes on and on about not wanting to be the stereotypical clingy and emotional girl, that that’s not who she is. Not only was this sexist in my view (yes, a woman can say something sexist against other woman), but the truth is that she does come off as clingy and emotional. Kara obsesses, stomps off, goes quickly from being super happy to very sad. She doesn’t give Dante clues as to what she’s thinking, but I guess expects him to use his ESP powers to figure it out.
She has the common romance heroine role of decrying the hero’s unwillingness to express his feelings and commit to her, but here it is completely misplaced and if anything the situations should be reversed. Dante puts himself out there, admitting that he is feeling things he didn’t expect and that this relationship is like none other he’s ever had. He steps way out of his Dom role and makes himself vulnerable to her. Kara gets upset that he hasn’t said “I love you,” but neither has she. What also drove me nuts was that twice Kara tells him to do something—“don’t stop me” or “leave me alone”—and is then sad and angry when he obeys.
The ending was melodramatic enough to induce serious eye-rolling (reads like a therapy session) and rang false for me. They’ve been doing it like rabbits on steroids, but have yet to really go on a date with one another and have only gone to three meals together in public in 2 or 3 months—one of which was a rabbits-steroid demonstration. They’ve apparently had nice long talks in bed in between the rabbit rounds, but most of what we hear throughout the book—especially from Kara—is admiration for the physical beauty and sexiness of the other. So how is it, exactly, that these two supposedly emotionally closed-off people went from being cold loners to having crazy amounts of no-strings-attached-sex to realizing their deep and profound love for one another? The answer is: I have no freaking idea.
My Favorite Quote:
“That’s the problem, Kara.” He took a step toward her, but when her shoulders tensed, her features hardening, he stopped where he was. He said quietly, “I can never get enough of you. And it scares the shit out of me.”
His breath was hitching in his lungs. Painful, to say it out loud. To admit it to anyone, even himself.
Desire’s Edge by Eve Berlin
September 6th 2011 by Penguin