Joint Review: Kinked

kinkedReviewed by Jen & Carrie

Jen: One of the things I like best about this series is that Thea Harrison really makes every book different. Yes, they’re all set in this fabulous, sweeping world of the Elder Races and they feature the same core cast of characters.  But the hero and heroine of each book are markedly different from those who have come before them. Their adventures are different –and so is their path to happiness.  But this is also why some people may find the series uneven.  What you love, love, love about one book –one couple– won’t be in the next book; and invariably, some trope you can’t stand is going to pop up.

For me, that’s BDSM.  I’m sick of it.  Just… sick. Of. It.  I know it’s the thing right now, but I really felt like the whole element of it in this book was so unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a huge thing. It doesn’t overwhelm the story or anything. It was just enough to annoy me.  That being said, with the exception of about three or so scenes, I really did enjoy this book.  (How’s that for burying the lead?)

Carrie: Here’s where I had an issue: Aryal states right off that she doesn’t want to put labels on what she is/likes but then goes ahead and says, Oh it’s BDSM – which it really isn’t.  Short of two minor scenes, what Quentin and Aryal are in to is the power exchange.  I agree with you, Jen.  I think it would have further strengthened the argument of their non-conformity if the words BDSM (and the crop scene) were left completely out of it.

Jen: I’ve heard a lot of people say they didn’t like Aryal before this book and I can understand that, but here you see she more of who she really is. She is an unapologetic bad-ass, who is powerful, loyal, and comfortable in her own skin.  Does that make her a bitch?  Well, I guess that is in the eye of the beholder.  She’s like a dog with a bone, to be sure.  But she is as old as time, and she is smart.  If something has set off her radar, it’s for a reason.

Carrie: I love reading women who are comfortable in their own skin, know who they are and own it.   Aryal might not have been my favorite character at the beginning of the series, but once she and Niniane became friends in book 2, she got under my skin.  Give me an Aryal over a simpering virginal Mary Sue any day of the week.

Jen: Aryal knows Quentin is hiding secrets, but he’s not the bad guy she thinks.  He’s done some unscrupulous things, but nothing in the realm of true villainy.   Harrison does a great job, though, setting up both sides of their enmity for one another. And when their head-butting reaches a breaking point, Dragos sends them on a mission alone together, designed to force them to work through their issues.  Ha! And boy, do they ever.

I love that both these characters are so strong –but that neither has to become less than the other for their relationship to come together. So often, one character (usually the woman) has to sublimate her strength to fit the parameters of the romance, but not here.  Aryal stays Aryal… only she does it while falling in love with Quentin.

Carrie: Yes!  It’s awesome when two strong characters can figure out how to be together without losing that essential part of their makeup.  They’re snarky and biting and they don’t let up on each other.  Whether in hate or in love, Quentin and Aryal continue to push each other to strive to be the best.  Isn’t that what makes up a good relationship?

Jen: Absolutely.  I loved Quentin’s evolution when he let down his walls and laid himself bare. He addresses is own past mistakes and, with Aryal’s help, begins to make peace.

And the sex is hot.  Even before there is actual sex, there is great sexual tension.

Carrie: Oh yeah!!  Every time they said “hate sex” I got the tingles.  I thought Harrison did such a marvelous job with the tension that I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to read their second bargain.

Jen: Me too.  Such a tease.  I thought the adventure was fairly good too. Lots of action and danger.

Carrie: Here’s where I’m going to disagree.  I thought it all happened and then was resolved so quick.  Maybe I’m disappointed because I was expecting Dragos and/or team to appear for the smackdown?  I feel like this book was way more focused on the romance rather than the action.

Jen: I also really loved the fact that Aryal’s animosity toward Pia is addressed.  They resolution on this was one of my favorite things about the book!

Carrie: My favorite part was watching Aryal struggle with a possible life changing event.  For such a solitary being having to accept help and lean on nearly every other character in the book was transforming.  I hope we get to see more evidence of this down the road.

Jen: Overall, I did enjoy the story.  I just wish we could have left the BDSM (and that stupid crop) on the cutting room floor.

Jen’s Rating: B
Carrie’s Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Berkley

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Thea Harrison
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Publisher: Berkley


  1. Jen, I’m with you on the BDSM thing. I’m so sick of it.

  2. Shelly Browne says:

    Well done on the review. I enjoyed the exchange.

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