First things first, when an erotica novel makes you cry (multiple times) because of All The Feels, you know you’ve got a good book on your hands.
Two and half years ago, I read my first-ever erotica novel, The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. I blogged about that experience on my old blog, and you can find it there on Life’s Distractions. You can also find the article I mention, “You Can Take the Smut-Peddler Out of the Seminary but You Can’t Take the Seminary Out of the Smut-Peddler,” on Huffington Post. Based on that article title alone, you can probably tell what kind of author Tiffany Reisz is, that is, a very talented and funny one. The interactions I’ve had with her on Twitter alone will testify to that, but her books will even more.
Back to those, her books. Or I should say, back to The Mistress specifically, the 4th and final book in her Original Sinners: The Red Years series. (She started a prequel series, The White Years, and the first of those books is up next in my queue.) I wrote a review about the first book in this series, and here is my review about this last one, but you’ll notice that I’ve not written anything on the two books that come between The Siren and The Mistress: The Angel and The Prince. Let’s just say, some shit. goes. down. in those books. Which, for the sake of spoilers and ruining almost literally everything that happens to all of the characters, I won’t get into too many details here. But, I will reiterate what I said in my review of The Siren: the characters are what drive these stories. They’re so layered, they’re so complex, they’re so real. When you take such different characters as Nora, the dominatrix turned erotica author; and Wesley, her teenage roommate/intern; and Soren, her lover/ex-lover/lover; and Kingsley, the king of NYC’s underground BDSM scene, and make them all likable and dislikable as appropriate (sometimes the same character at the same time), and make the reader care about all of them in some capacity and pray for their happiness, that’s a book worth reading.
I enjoyed The Mistress because of the characters the most, and it’s important that I followed them on the whole journey. You can’t read out of order or skip books in this series, that’s for sure. I became pretty attached to the characters from book one, so their journeys
climaxing coming to a head culminating here in this book had me gripped from page one (it helped that The Prince ended on a huge cliffhanger). I read a review on Goodreads that said they didn’t love The Mistress because it felt like the characters had lost themselves. I disagree. In fact, I think the exact opposite: I loved The Mistress because it felt like all of the characters had found themselves. There’s a great deal of tension between the characters I mentioned above (plus a couple more ladies), and in The Mistress they’re forced to spend time with one another under truly dire circumstances. Their frustrations and misgivings with each other build over the whole book, and each one is forced to come to terms with what they truly want, what they need, and who they love. I believe some people may not enjoy The Mistress because they don’t get the ending they want. But I believe the characters all ended up where they’re supposed to be and who they’re supposed to be with (Despite an interesting little hiccup there with that ending. Thanks, Tiffany.) And that makes a very satisfying read to me.
Another important note to make is similar to one I made in my review of The Siren: the sex scenes in the novel serve to further the plot, not to
service serve the reader. And there are relatively few sex scenes in The Mistress. In 458-page novel, I think you can count all the sex scenes on one hand. And there’s a large chunk in the middle where there is nothing at all. As I mentioned, some shit has gone down in the series, and as it all culminates here, there’s not a lot of room for sex when you’re fearing for characters’ lives.
Yes, an erotica novel where you’re worried not all the characters you love are going to make it through, and the danger has very little to do with whips and canes in the bedroom.
Seriously, this is one hell of an erotica series. I can’t recommend it enough. Start with The Siren, get drawn in by the characters, get a little beat up, and come out on top with The Mistress. You won’t regret it.