December 29, 2015

RELEASE DAY REVIEW: Mastered (The Enforcers #1)

Mastered (The Enforcers #1), by Maya Banks
Publish Date:
December 29, 2015
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Format: e-ARC, provided by NetGalley and the publisher
Genre: adult erotic romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(Synopsis) What he wants, he takes with no remorse or guilt.

She stood out in his club like a gem, unspoiled and untouched. A lamb among wolves, she clearly didn’t belong. Drawn to her innocence he watched as she was surrounded by men who saw what he did—but no one but him could touch her. He summoned her to his private quarters. He sensed her fear. He also recognized the desire in her eyes. And he knew she wouldn’t leave before he possessed her. She had no need to know his secrets. Not until he had her under his complete and utter control.

What he wants, she isn’t sure she can give him.

The moment he told her want he wanted, she couldn’t resist. Instinct told her to run, but her heart said stay and walk the fine line between pleasure and pain. Though she wasn’t sure she could ever completely surrender, the primal part of her wanted to try, even knowing this man could break her in ways she never imagined. Because once he possessed her, he owned her and it would be too late to turn back. She can only pray that he doesn’t destroy her in the end.

There was a lot that I liked in Maya Banks' new erotic BDSM series, The Enforcers. There was also a lot that didn't quite work for me. As it turns out, one of my favorite parts of this book was not the relationship between Drake and Evangeline, but rather the introduction of his crew of bodyguards/right-hand-men/BFFs (The Enforcers - DUH). These guys seem really interesting in their own right, and I'm excited for where this series is going to go with them. But, as such, Mastered, was Drake's and Evangeline's story, and, well, I just didn't connect with them as much. 

If you are not a fan of insta-love, insta-infatuation or any other insta-anything in books, you may want to look elsewhere. Because as soon as Drake sees Evangeline in distress due to her ex's torment in the middle of Drake's club, he swoops in as her knight in shining armor and declares her his. He moves her into his penthouse

To her credit, Evangeline has lived a very sheltered life. I do actually like those stories where the innocent, sweet girl is dirtied up a bit by a worldly, experienced, alpha male. So, that part of this story was one I definitely liked. Drake and Evangeline were definitely on two polar ends of the spectrum. She was one of the most sheltered characters ever, and Drake was one of the most commanding. So, I'm not really sure what drew him to her in the beginning. 

But, as he got to know her, it became clear that Evangeline's innocence and goodness was what caused him to fall in love with her. No woman had ever broken through his carefully erected walls to get to his heart. I also loved this part. There's something so awesome about a story where a stony, stoic man is affected by the most unexpected woman. That trope is definitely in play here. 

Now, in my favorite BDSM books, the man is the boss in the bedroom, but outside of the bedroom, his woman has her own life, her own friends and her own mind. That is not the case in Mastered. Evangeline is owned in every way by her master Drake. She lives to please him, even if that means her friends don't want to associate with her anymore. It's just so hard for me to respect a woman like that, and therefore, I didn't respect Evangeline. Not even a little. She seems like a doormat to me, which was a constant source of annoyance. I realize this is my own hangup - it's absolutely no fault of the author. I just don't prefer this type of relationship. If you do, then you will enjoy this book far more than I did. 

Despite the nature of their BDSM relationship, this was still a crazy sexy book. Drake has some moves, and he's very eager to teach Evangeline. Even though he's too controlling in regular life, he was sex on a stick in the bedroom. 

Drake's muscle - the Enforcers - are completely taken with Evangeline. Although it was almost funny at times how they fell all over themselves to do things for her and spend time with her, it was also sort of sweet. They each have their own story that affects their mannerisms and attitudes now. I have no doubt that those stories are doozies, and I can't wait to get to them. 

But, first, we must get to the end of Drake's and Evangeline's story. Despite my troubles with some parts of the book, the last 10% kept me on the edge of my seat right up until the horrifying, get-wrenching cliffhanger ending. It completely guaranteed that I will be snatching up book 2, Dominated, when it comes out in May 2016. 

I think Mastered will definitely appeal to people who like their BDSM of a certain flavor. Although that flavor was not my own, I still found things that kept me moving through the story, and the explosive ending sealed the deal. 

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