Captive by David Ellis.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
The perfect couple marry and go off on a beautiful honeymoon in South Africa. Hugo and Ben are a gay "power couple". They are in their mid-twenties and life is good. They love each other. They have great jobs and they are getting married! What more could they want from life?
With a set up like this, how can it go wrong? This story is just messed up for me. I'm not a big fan of cheating. It's one thing if it is an open relationship. Poly relationships are fine and actually quite arousing. In this one, it almost feels like a one-upmanship which is unappealing. Hugo and Ben come across as flirty sluts. With them being young, gorgeous and well hung, it's understandable. It also makes them rather shallow.
The characters in this story don't do it for me. I'm neither a fan of Hugo nor Ben. It's not that they make mistakes or that they aren't perfect. It's their lack of respect and consideration for their lover which is disappointing. They play into the perception that gay males are not able to commit because they will fuck anything in sight.
The plot of this story is what makes it interesting. The twists and turns do generate a good suspense. It keeps the reader guessing and wondering what will happen next. Some of the behaviours of the characters don't make sense. Hugo's behaviour with a hotel staff member and then later on at a club seems out of character. The secondary characters are also odd. Why would anyone offer up their home to a stranger to stay in? This is just bizarre to me.
The BDSM part is more to illicit shock than anything else. The gang banging and bondage scenes are definitely non-con. They fall in the spank bank fantasy world because these can't actually be done for this period of time without serious injury or death. There does happen to be death because one of the scenes is snuff play. Snuff is not one of the fetishes I enjoy. Reading about it doesn't arouse me. It's obviously popular as there are a plethora of BDSM snuff free fiction available. Not my kink.
While the BDSM scenes of torture can be considered graphic, they don't actually cause much emotion. This is because it's written in a manner which is a bit boring. It comes across as IKEA sex. Slip A into Slot B. Slip C into slot D. This is especially apparent in the spit roasting of Ben. Where's the emotion? Where's the dirty talking? If Ben were to describe his horror or if the "evil" kidnapper were to express their arousal at the depravity, it would have been more interesting. Perhaps describe physically how Ben feels as his ass is pummeled over and over again. Does his anus feel ripped up like glass shards stabbing into him? Does he feel his anal rim pulsing due to being swollen from all the hard thrusting? What about fisting? Does his eyes roll back and he scream raggedly as a thick meaty fist punches into his gut? Does he cry out as he feels the hard edges of a ring on a guy's fist as his raw insides are scraped bloody? No, no such details are provided. For a kidnapping rape-fest, this is rather mild with common sexual fantasy glossed over and fading into black.
This tale almost felt like two disjointed stories taped together. There's Hugo's sexual awakening after his marriage and life without Ben. Then there is Ben's kidnapping and mental breakdown. While these two characters are tied together by marriage, there is very little interaction between them to present a couple in love. They say it repeatedly, but it's not apparent. Because it doesn't feel as if Hugo and Ben are so closely bonded, their separation loses the emotional impact required to generate angst in the reader. This can be seen through Hugo's actions. Within days of Ben's disappearance, he's jacking off into a huge crowd at a nightclub and sleeping with other men. This is within a week of his marriage.
This story's resolution is a bit out there. While the journey from beginning to end is curious, the ending is a letdown. It's not a happily ever after which is fine. I feel disillusioned with Ben's behaviour, who he ends up with and how another happy couple's life is wrecked. And yet, Ben ends up with a good life. This m/m kinky tale is for those who enjoy unusual suspense with a dark undertone.
*provided by BDSM Book Reviews
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