The prequel in Parker’s ‘The Compass’ series is the connecting story of India Burke and Hunter Vaughn. These stories do connect and you should definitely read Book 1 and 2 in order. From the beginning, I never liked India and I’m still no a fan of India nor the kind of kink that she likes, but Parker’s a good storyteller. I still believe that in all good fiction, there’s a truth and believability that writers have to use to captivate their audience; Parker does that here. Actually the entire series has enough conveyed emotions to make the plot and characters feasible.
This story, although it ties in nicely to the series, can be read as a stand-alone. I’ll give you fair warning – this is not an HEA, it’s not even an HFN and the content includes BDSM (heavy on the s/m) and f/f.
After reading the other 2 books in the series, I thought India was a class-A jerk and to be honest, reading about her time with Hunter didn’t change my mind one iota about her. But like I said, I’m a sucker for a good story, and Parker’s writing is engaging, witty and descriptive.
So if you’re familiar with the series or not, you don’t have to be, India’s voice is still the only POV we get. At 18, she’s a freshman at Princeton. Her mom’s sent her there to find a husband, but that’s not the future that India sees for herself. She’s smart and she knows she’s smart. That’s one of the many things I don’t like about India, she’s a braggart about being smart. That’s one of the things that Hunter seems to enjoy about her though – it’s a skill that he can show off, you know, like you would a well-trained dog. But I digress.
During her first week of on campus living, India meets Rey. Reyes Walter is a Dom and he recognizes something in India that it seems only other people into that lifestyle will recognize. India and Rey strike up a friendship and over time he becomes her Dom-in training. Small hiccup, Rey is gay and has no interest in India as anything other than a submissive and a friend. So one day, Rey takes India to a party where she meets the enigmatic Hunter. She’s in lust at first sight and he’s immediately and equally infatuated.
The connection between India and Hunter is instantly gratified. There’s no reason for romance with these two, they have a contract in place and those terms are strictly adhered to. India’s college years are filled with the time she spends with Hunter and studying. The dynamics between her and Hunter somehow sets the tone for the way that she’ll continue in the next 2 books. The physical beatings that she gets somehow ground her to be able to focus, which in turn promotes her continued success. It’s an interesting dichotomy that I don’t understand especially based on her background with her sister. I can’t say that I found any of Hunter and India Dom and sub sessions to be sexy -– yeah, nope. Keep in mind, there’s nothing that’s remotely ‘traditionally’ romantic about these two. They provide a service to each other. That’s it. Love might come but it’s not in the traditional I want you to meet my family, marry you, build a home and have a family kind of thing.
Can I tell you how much I disliked Hunter? But I didn’t dislike him for the way he treated India, she got what she wanted out of him. She stayed with him too long, under contract, and with Rey’s support for too long for me to have sympathy. I disliked him for his general disregard of anyone’s feelings but his own – true sadist there. Dude is seriously a douchetard and for my own personal gratification, I wish she had kicked him in the balls, at least once.
I still see Rey as some kind of procurer of goods and service. There are people who want a service and he provides said service. And I’m not convinced that he’s not a pimp.
If you enjoy erotica with strong BDSM elements, this would be a good pick.
Happy Reading folks!
*Book provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Tamsen Parker
Release Date: June 15, 2015