REVIEW: The Deep End by Kristen Ashley
SYNOPSIS: Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman's every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one's darkest desires will become a sensual reality.
Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.
When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.
GENRE: Erotica, Romance, Contemporary
SERIES: Honey #1
RATING: ★★★★☆ / 4 kinda surprised how much I liked it stars!
REVIEW: Okay, if you're a Kristen Ashley fan, you may or may not like her newest book/genre exploration. And that's okay! You are by no means required to like this new direction that she's taken. Don't worry, if that's the case, she's still writing her other books and series like normal too. There are plenty of words to go around.
If you ARE in the mood to try something new and on the kinkier side though, or this genre just appeals to you in general, I will say that this book surprised the heck out of me. I wasn't quite sure how this new direction was going to appeal to me, and it ended up being even kinkier than I thought it would too, but it was a gradual progression and I really enjoyed it by the end.
Let's start with the basic things you probably want to know, without giving any big spoilers. This book is a twist and about-face of the rich alpha male Dominant, because in this story it's the woman, Amelie, who carries the title, Domme, and who happens to be rolling in riches. And isn't that a nice change of pace? The Bee's Honey Club is a fancy and upscale establishment but that doesn't mean there aren't scholarships (sounds a little funny to say but this is contemporary romance book world and these things are what fun books are made of), enter the sub and hero of the story, Olivier. They meet, it's electric, it's complicated...it's entertaining.
The first chapter was a little slow, I won't lie. It was actually a lot of exposition about non-judgement and the to-each-their-own statements. It sort of felt like the author saying all the things she probably has always wanted to say or explain about her love of romance and reasons for joining the kinkier side of writing. After chapter 1 though, it quickly picked up and the story started really moving.
We also meet a lot of secondary characters and start to learn little important tid-bits about them that we hold on to for later books. As the first in a series, these are the characters that will eventually be taking center stage in later books. Sometimes it feels like this slows the main story down but those moments are very fleeting.
Most of the character growth that happens in this book is with Olivier. Once again, it's sort of nice to have the main female character being absolutely secure in who she is and what she wants. That doesn't mean that their aren't growing pains for them as a couple. It's an interesting relationship and dynamic that creates adversity for both Amelie and Olivier. And it creates a very engrossing love story for us, the reader.
And did I mention that it's kinky? It seems like such an inadequate and overused word here in my review, but it bears repeating and it's just so apt! I honestly did not see the direction that their sexual escapades were going in and I don't want to go slapping labels on things because that would give spoilers to those who don't want them and because all-in-all, as far as labels go, it's very mild (gosh I hope that makes sense). In true KA fashion though, the romance and romantic play was built gradually and giving top marks for entertainment.
I'm incredibly excited for the next book in the series. There are a number of different characters that have been set up to take the lead and I can't wait to see who's next.