Monday, October 5, 2009

Bound to Him by Ava March

TITLE: Bound to Him
AUTHOR: Ava March
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 30k)
GENRE: Gay BDSM historical erotic romance
COST: $4.99

For six months, Lords Oliver Marsden and Vincent Prescot have been lovers, their longstanding friendship now even more intimate after their true desires were revealed. Through it all, Oliver has hoped that his feelings will be reciprocated, that the deep love he’s always felt for Vincent will be returned, but even now, Vincent refuses to acknowledge the depths of their relationship. When familial responsibilities force Vincent to make a drastic choice, both men are thrust into deciding what paths their lives will take…

Because of the HFN nature of the first novella featuring these two characters, I was eager to see if they would be able to manage some sort of HEA in the long-term. While their relationship is more richly delved into in this sequel to Bound by Deception, I found some of the character’s weaknesses more grating this time around, making it harder to fully appreciate the romance.

Oliver has been in love with Vincent for years and years, and in the first book, his yearning was so heartfelt and passionate, it catapulted me through the story. Six months later, his yearning has taken on a slightly different tenor. He is, justifiably so, a little frustrated that Vincent seems to be standing in one place regarding their relationship. Their sex life remains great, but nothing deeper ever happens, a status quo Vincent is perfectly fine with. But the empathy I felt for Oliver in the first story didn’t materialize. Instead, his clinginess and whining reminded me all too much of a nagging housewife. I suspect it’s because I didn’t read the stories back to back. It’s been almost a year since I read the first story, and while I had impressions of it with enough remembered details to certainly not feel lost, that was it. I think if I’d read them consecutively, Oliver might have seemed more sympathetic, but based on his actions just on this story, he’s not for me.

Vincent doesn’t fare much better, I’m afraid. The walls he had erected in the first story are still there, and now, with the advantage of time elapsed, they paint him as a user rather than a man afraid of consequences. He’s fully aware of Oliver’s feelings for him, and yet, he gives little more in return. It’s not until he gets caught between a rock and a hard place when his father makes the demand he marry, and the repercussions of that, that he starts to become more human for me, but by that point, Oliver, too, is starting to grow up a little and return to the same person I loved in the first story. They are both far stronger by the end, with a clearly defined character arc, but my initial impressions lingered too long to make this a real winner of a romance. The erotic scenes are still the highlight, with sensual BDSM elements thrown in, but they are overshadowed by the negative emotions.

I’m glad to see them work through their relationship, though. For readers seeking closure, this will provide it.


8/10 – Clean and rich with historical detail

Hero #1

6/10 – Oliver’s initial neediness and weakness gave him room to grow but made it very difficult to empathize with him this time around

Hero #2

6/10 – Until he had his turnaround, felt too much of a user to genuinely like

Entertainment value

6/10 – The eroticism is well-done, but it’s harder to root for the romance when neither man provided enough of an anchor for me to love

World building

9/10 – Incredibly well done and rich



No comments: