Review: The Island
The Island by Lisa Henry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Shaw is the anti-hero you will love. I loved this book! Ms. Henry is my favourite non-consensual m/m erotic writer. So far, she is two for two with five star ratings from me.
In THE ISLAND, I'm put through the proverbial ringer. Shaw is in Fiji facilitating the sale of a stolen piece of art. Vornis is the evil drugs and arms dealer. Ms. Henry does a fabulous job in painting the picture of a sadistic criminal who has no limits. Vornis captured a DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) agent, Lee, and proceeds to torture, rape and break this young pretty boy. Shaw is tangled in this messy web of criminal activity to further his career. If he could just meet a few of Vornis's associates and generate a relationship, his future could be made. He needs to rub elbows with these high powered men who fund the terrorist and use third world countries as pawn pieces on a chess board, and he would be set for life.
This story was hard for me to define as a BDSM story because it uses some of the more extreme fantasies of breaking a male into a slave. The total power exchange is extreme and completely non-consensual. Ms. Henry spares the reader the blow-by-blow rape and torture scenes, yet describes the aftermath with such clarity I wince in pain. The peek-a-boo shows Shaw performs with Lee are sweet yet mixed with such guilt it may be hard for some readers to stomach. I found them delightful.
I pitied Lee who was at the right place at the wrong time. I admired Shaw as he did his best to not cross lines he set for himself. This questioning of ethics hit me hard. At what point does a person hit the point of no return in compromising his own personal ethics? Shaw may facilitate illegal activity and procure stolen goods, but he won't rape a helpless person. But if he wants to become one of the movers and shakers, he must torture and rape an innocent person. His rationalization that Lee knew what he was getting into when he signed up to be a DEA agent allows him some comfort. Or does it? The story is enhanced by the plot's twists and questions it poses about our own ability to stick to our guns.
Another point I specifically want to call out is Ms. Henry's writing style. Her writing style appeals to me and speaks to me in pictures. I see clearly each character and every single building. I've just recently been to Fiji and her description is spot on. I could visualize every location. For me, her books are a vivid movie playing in my mind as I devour each word. I highly recommend this book to BDSM hardcore readers who enjoy m/m. This is a must read.
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