“Why do you love me so much…?”
He smiled down at her.
“Because I met you.”
WHAT. A. BOOK!!!
First before anything…. I have to say: #TeamSøren
Omg, so completely, utterly, and irrevocably #TeamSøren.
(Lol, apparently I’m a switch. Hehe. Get it? 😉 )
Gah. My poor heart!!! But just… #TEAMSOREN
ALL. THE. WAY!!!!
My feels have been toyed with, my mind has been fucked with, my emotions are now so tangled up that I went from being a 100% solid #TeamWesley gal, to being so completely on #TeamSøren that it’s hard for me to accept that I was ever not on his team. I honestly didn’t believe this would happen. I kept seeing everyone all in love with Søren while I was just eyeing his warily but NOW I GET IT!!! I really do!!
Please be sure to read the first 3 books in the series (or at least my reviews of them) before reading this because… this book isn’t a standalone and I think you should have least the tiniest bit of context. So first check out The Siren (my review), The Angel (my review), and The Prince (my review), m’kay?
OK. On to the review.
First things first: THE. WRITING. IS. BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!! Literally some of the best I’ve ever read.
Just absolutely fucking amazing!
The story is the most boundary-pushing one I’ve ever read. You have to understand that I went into this series completely blind (by choice). And by that, I mean that I literally did not know anything!!! I didn’t even read the blurbs. Usually when I read a book, I know who ends up with who and the general direction of the storyline (I’m not a fan of surprises) but with this series, because it was already so far outside the box, I decided to just accept whatever it dished out and try to remain as open minded as possible.
So this book starts off right after the giant freaking heart-stopping cliffhanger that the previous book left us on that threw the world around Nora into full-out crisis mode. It was so powerful to see the way all these characters that we’d gotten to know over the course of the series come together in this desperate time to work together to help Nora. ALL THE FEELS, I tell you. All the feels.
I’m not going to go into detail on what this crisis is that they’re facing but just trust me that it’s about as dire, dangerous, and deadly as you can imagine. Everyone’s worst nightmare coming to pass.
I started this book rooting for Nora and Wes (as I had been feeling at the end of the previous book), but I have to say that that little part of me that had started warming up to Søren in The Prince was beginning to grow with every page I read. There was just no denying that Nora and Søren had this kind of soulmate forever-til-the-day-I-die love for each other. But my heart still broke for Kingsley and his unrequited love for Søren. What a heart breaking emotional tangle it was.
There was such a intricate web of characters, all bound together by some degree of sexual separation (which alone is fascinating if you think about it), but also bound together by varying and differing measures of the deepest love you can imagine. This is the first time ever that a series has presented and used the concept of people genuinely being in love with (and I mean romantically) more than one person in a way that I not only accepted, but also began to believe and understand.
Oddly enough, some of my favorite scenes in the whole book were Søren’s chats with Grace. Grace is the wife of Nora’s editor and one of Nora’s few female friends it seemed so she was there to help as best she could. The thing is that everyone, other than Nora and Kingsley, was in some way or another terrified of Søren… so I feel like that naturally meant that it was harder to get to know him as a character. But Grace has this kind of calmness to her that just allowed Søren to be himself around her. I almost feel like the way she was around him turned him into a real person if that makes sense. He never treated her with the dominance of the Underground world because she wasn’t a part of that, he never had reason to intimidate her because she posed no threat, he didn’t have to cause her pain or humiliation because he wasn’t trying to sleep with her, she was happily married so there wasn’t really any sexual awkwardness between them… and with the thing he held dearest to him in dire jeopardy, he already had everything on the line and she was trustworthy so he genuinely had no reason to hide, there was just no real reason for his walls to be up. So we got to see him. It was the purest form of him as a person that I feel that we’d ever seen so far in the series. No masks or pretences or games. And I loved it. If I had to pin-point the moment that I joined #TeamSøren, that was it. That’s when I fell for him, and when I most truly understood his love for Nora.
At first I hated myself for moving to #TeamSøren. I felt all kinds of weird guilt. Like I was betraying my own emotions. Ohhh, my poor mind was so thoroughly fucked with. No, it wasn’t even a mind fuck, it was an emotion fuck. A total feel-tangle. Up became down, everything I thought I felt went right out the window and was replaced with this overpowering knowledge that Søren and Nora belonged together.
I feel like I want to go back to my previous reviews and erase everything and just replace it with #TeamSøren #TeamSøren #TeamSøren #TeamSøren #TeamSøren but… that wouldn’t be honest. The truth is that reading this series was a journey of discovery. Along the way, I felt different things based on what I knew, what I thought I knew, and the things I thought I wanted for these characters.
I think I get it though… these characters have so many layers to their histories that as you’re reading the series, you can only form opinions on what you know. And up until this point, what I knew led me to be #TeamWesley… but after learning everything that this book showed me, there left no doubt in my mind — not even a little — that #TeamSøren was the only team.
I feel like I’ve definitely come away from this series with a much deeper understanding and respect for the psychology behind BDSM. I mean, I understood it mechanically and very basically from other books I’d read prior to this… but this series opened my eyes to it in a much different way. For these characters, it wasn’t just a game, it was a lifestyle. I just feel like I really understood where they were coming from and what fuelled their desires so much more.
And OMG. The way the story built up to the climax was so intense!! My heart was racing!! There were a few moment that I even broke right down crying with the sheer beauty of it. I took deep calming breaths. Even took a tiny break but only a little one because I just COULD NOT STOP READING!!!!
Gahhhhh!! Them in that corner at the end. Just wow. There’s just no choice there. No teams. Just them.
Ok now at this point in my review, I’ve covered the book up until the 85% mark. In the book, this is the conclusion to a big “section” of the book. It has a resolved ending and truly if I had stopped reading at this point, my rating would be a very easy 5+++++ STARS!!!!!!
But the book went on… and honestly, I had several strong issues with a lot of the things that happened after this point so I feel like I need to separate the book’s rating up into 3 parts.
0 – 85% in the book: 5+++ STARS
85 – 98% in the book: 3 stars
98 – 100% in the book: I’m just going to pretend this didn’t happen
Ok, there are HUGE SPOILERS in this next part of the review, so I’ve hidden them. You have to click to open them. If you have not yet read this book, I do not recommend you read them. I’ve written them more for the other people who have already read these books because I kinda just needed to get my feelings out. If you have not read this book or series yet, I still highly recommend that you DO try it. Enjoy the first 3 books and the first 85% of this one with all your hearts, and take the rest of it with an optional grain of salt, but don’t allow my feelings on it to stop you from reading this book because it truly is AMAZING!
Ok here goes… click the spoiler below to read more…
Regardless of anything in that spoiler though, the fantastic thing is that 0 — 85% of this book is a whole, solid story (it even ends in such a way and is long enough that you could argue that it feels like a complete book) so I would still whole-heartedly recommend this series as a TOP FAVORITE!!!
This series really makes you think. It’s thrilling, erotic, and this book had the ultimate emotional mindfuck. This is one of those books you just can’t put down. I hung on to each word, drinking in every new secret and revelation. I was in awe of how this author wove so many intersecting storylines together and kept me on the edge of my seat always desperate to turn the next page the whole way through.
The Mistress wraps up The Red Years part of this series. The next four books are called The White Years and they essentially are prequels to The Red Years even though they should be read after. Right now, I’m going to take a little reading break from this series (possibly even waiting until the final book is out in November) and then I’ll likely binge-read the last four books together the same as I did with these first four. But I will be back. FOR SURE!!! I love these characters, I love the writing, I love the series, and I absolutely recommend them for anyone who wants something fantastically well written, intensely erotic, and that doesn’t play by any of the rules. But rather, it makes it’s own… and it comes out on top.
*** SERIES READING ORDER ***
Click the titles or covers to purchase.
*** FAVORITE QUOTES ***
Note: I “hid” these in a spoiler tag but they’re not really spoilers. I only hid them because there are a lot and I thought it would be annoying to just have them out there. It would be best if you read the first two books first I think, but there’s nothing in here that’s overly revealing. It’s about as safe as quotes from a fourth book in a series can be. Take a look if you want 🙂