The Machinist : 3 stars
Ummmm…I have mixed feelings on this one…
Part of my brain thinks: my, my, my! Adrenaline and dark erotic fantasy! Dubiously consensual, absolutely insane, and definitely not safe.
The story is good, opening straight on the action, fast-paced, leaving it up to you to catch up and snatch flying details of a dystopian world where Avery’s fate seems to be freed only to run for his life and jump out of the frying pan into the fire all over again. Think cell. Towers. Gunshots. Rain. Glowing eyes. Gunshots. Mud. Claws. Corridors. Blood. Screams. Gunshots…The writing is clipped, with a few repetitions that show the drawback of using short sentences – you quickly run out of synonyms for the subject – but it’s overall tense and quite efficient in the action scenes, if not powerful.
The story pauses for breath one brief moment and shifts, and that’s when the other part of my brain chimes in and says “meh”. I’ll grant you that dub-con is not my top favourite kink, and that it needs some work to get me all worked up, but the awaited scene left me cold. The mood swing is not convincing, the sex scene covers very basic feelings and sensations only; I fear that this is the limitation of a predominantly descriptive and minimalist writing style that would need to expand a bit to suggest and evoke.
Still, a fair part of the story was rather enjoyable, and I am intrigued by the dystopian world, albeit a little wary. On to “The Inquisitor” then, and perhaps I’ll be able to decide if I like it or not.
The Inquisitor : 2 stars
As far as I am concerned, the story died at the 50% mark. A new one raised from its ashes with a brand new shape, and I am still wondering what happened to the first one and its characters.
I enjoyed the action in the first half, but had the same reservations I had for “The Machinist” regarding the writing. The author aims at covering more ground, at taking us farther into the dystopian world, at giving more insights on the characters and showing development in the relationship; but the story is not coherently built, and the characterization is superficial. As a result, the whole is inconsistent and frustrating.
I wanted to, but there is no doubt that I didn’t like it.