Review: Power Play: Resistance
Power Play: Resistance by Rachel Haimowitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What happens when a strong man with hidden submissive tendencies comes across a powerful man who wants to dominate him? What happens when the experienced dominant forces a vanilla man into submission without a shred of teaching? Resistance is the answer. Brandon is a stubborn construction manager who is picked up at a bar by the self made man, Jonathan. Jonathan and Brandon’s chemistry is like lithium in water, explosive. Jonathan chases Brandon and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. Brandon needs the money and is willing to give six months of his life as a sexual slave to earn the money he needs to buy the construction company he wants.
This story is an intense BDSM story which clearly demonstrates how a BDSM relationship can turn so wrong. It is stated over and over again that Jonathan is a much sought after Dom who trains submissives very well. This may be the case. Here’s the interesting thing. He’s only ever trained willing submissives who are in the BDSM lifestyle and want to submit. This key element is what makes this story so painful to read. Brandon is neither versed in the lifestyle nor is Jonathan teaching him anything other than pain, humiliation and abuse.
Jonathan’s domination style is very hot and a Dom I’d be willing to submit to for six months. This is only because there would be negotiation up front and I would know what I’d be signing up to experience. I would be a willing sub with known hard and soft limits. The negotiation scene in this story is maybe two sentences. There were no discussions of hard or soft limits. All Brandon asked for was no blood. This shocked me since Brandon doesn’t even want to be in the BDSM lifestyle. Jonathan did nothing to prepare Brandon whatsoever.
Jonathan is also a Dom who is tired of playing with one sub after another. He wants a relationship. He wants what his friend has found – a soul mate. He thinks Brandon is the one. He wants Brandon as his 24/7 slave. Never once did Jonathan explain what his expectations are and what he wants Brandon to do. He expected Brandon to figure it out. This is like teaching a blind person to paint a landscape he cannot see. This entire travesty of a story is Jonathan’s fault. At no point is this Brandon’s fault for the terrible abuse at Jonathan’s hands. Yes, it was Brandon’s choice to stay. He is stubborn; perhaps a bit too stubborn for his own good.
The reason why Jonathan couldn’t connect and find a submissive for life, is because he has built no relationship on trust. To have trust, there must be communication. Now, D/s people in the lifestyle have different opinions on what makes a good D/s relationship. My personal perspective is, without open communication and trust, there will be no D/s relationship and there will be no TPE. This story demonstrates my perspective crystal clear. I hurt for Brandon. He is betrayed over and over again by Jonathan. Jonathan is not an evil or bad person. He is an inept Dom for training a vanilla man who isn’t sure about BDSM let alone being kinky.
Jonathan’s response to Brandon’s inability to conform to his submissive expectations is to beat Brandon more. The one time Jonathan offers open communication, he immediately punishes Brandon for his open honesty. How is this not a slap in the face and kicking the guy when he is down? How is this not abuse of power and a complete breach of trust? The line Jonathan crossed beyond any realm of acceptable Dom behaviour, is when he beat Brandon to a point that Brandon relived flashbacks of his abused childhood. That Jonathan was unable to apologize for this and felt he was still in the right; this caused me to lose all respect for him. Jonathan at this point is the monster vanilla people think all BDSM Doms to be. The vanilla folks would be right in this case. Jonathan did turn into a terrible monster whose tactics are no different than prison guards for prisoner of wars.
In Resistance, Jonathan’s worst flaws are exposed in high definition while Brandon is the collateral damage. Not only does Brandon have to break the deal due to his starved body and physical damaged, he is now out of a job. He took a leave of absence which meant he was immediately replaced. Jonathan cheated Brandon out of a livelihood in addition to adding to Brandon’s emotional trauma and physical deterioration. Jonathan left Brandon worse off after meeting him. What Jonathan did was reprehensible and completely vile. Jonathan deliberately set up Brandon to fail. One could argue Jonathan did it unconsciously. It does not matter. Jonathan is the experience Dom who wanted a green behind the years sub. It is Jonathan’s responsible to lead and guide. Brandon has no idea what questions to ask and no one to help him understand. The way Jonathan treated Brandon is similar to watching a two hundred pound man kicking a seven pound abandoned puppy with steel toed boots.
Despite my loathing of Jonathan, the BDSM scenes were pretty hot. They are accurate in many senses. It is sad that they were used in a negative way. The tools and lifestyle are not the issue. Jonathan and how he approached it was the issue. This story clearly shows, that not all Doms are perfect and even the ones who are so experienced can really fuck it up. Even after all this abuse, Brandon is the bigger and better man. Jonathan doesn’t deserve him. The ending of this story is a cliffhanger to the follow up book. I am eager to read the next book to see how this train wreck can be salvaged. This book is recommend for hardcore BDSM lovers who enjoy an emotional rollercoaster punctuated by physical trauma which will make even the hardest of hearts weep.
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