J.R. Ward is my ultimate crack, including Stacia Kane. Now I can say that Tiffany Reisz is.
The Siren is not for everyone. This is some dark, disturbing material here. If you’re looking for “vanilla” love scenes and in some cases, uncomfortable sex acts, turn away from this book. We’re talking dark, sinful chocolate type of reading. This is true and pure hardcore BDSM erotica that deals with everything from bondage to whippings, beatings and sex with multiple partners. Then when you think you've read it all, Tiffany throws in the ultimate zinger mainly because of the religious aspects involved. The ruler, the god of the BDSM underworld showcased here is a Catholic priest who can only get off by inflicting pain on others, mainly from his submissive of almost twenty years, dominatrix and erotic romance author, Nora Sutherlin. This alone should make me shudder and gag in disgust, also over some questionable sex acts dealing with an underage youth and the lengths Soren, the Catholic priest will go to keep Nora in his control, which leads to him not only whipping her, but also smacking and hitting her to the point she has cuts and bruises on her face and body as his form of discipline and control. But the way Tiffany has written this relationship between Nora and her priest of her heart, her soul mate and one true love will make you a believer that everything these two do together is conventional and cements their bond they have until the day they die.
In The Siren, British Lit-Fic editor, Zach Easton has come to the states for a new job. He and his wife, Grace of ten years have separated, and it looks like they may get a divorce. Zach is beyond broken up about it because he loves Grace desperately, but feels they need the break. Zach’s boss wants him to be Nora’s editor on her new book she’s writing. Zack as a low opinion of Nora and her writing because he thinks it’s straight up smut. He’ll edit her but won’t give her the publishing contract to sign until he feels her work is up to snuff. He goes to her house to meet her and is not only shocked that she has a nineteen year old intern, Wes, who he assumes she’s having a sexual relationship with, but the notorious, larger than life woman who always wears scandalous red in public and is a well known flirt, and in some circles has a not so wonderful reputation, is wearing men’s style pajamas and is witty, open, honest and refuses to back down from Zach. Soon she and Zach have a working relationship together and from that Zack reevaluates himself, his own sexual experience and his relationship with Grace all because of Nora.
Through Nora’s professional writing and journal of sorts, we see who the true Nora is. Nora is the top dominatrix in Manhattan and is worshiped by most in the S&M community she’s a part of. Nora can be a switch, both a dominant and submissive who unleashes pain but almost welcomes in receiving it. But Nora refuses to be a true submissive for anyone, except Soren, better known as Father Marcus Stears. Nora and Soren have known each other since she’s been fifteen. He’s now forty-seven now, and was not only her priest, but her first lover and her master. She left Soren six years ago for reasons not explained and everyday she regrets it. She yearns for Soren, he’s her addiction, as he does her, but she needs to be by herself and live by her own rules. She also knows if she goes back to Soren, she can’t have Wesley, who is what most in her S&M community think if as a “vanilla”. Wes, including Zach don’t understand why Nora would allow herself to be abused and degraded during sex which includes whippings, beatings and others harmful acts that leaves bruises, cuts and trips to the hospital. Nora even brings Zach into her world to show him her favorite club and the environment there and why she loves it. It’s all about hurt, no harm and how some people can’t function sexually without pain. And that’s where Soren comes in. The moment Zach meets Soren, he too is both dumbfounded and awestruck by this man who is treated like a god. Zach thinks he can help Nora turn away from this lifestyle and from Soren, including making her into a better writer, but Soren is always there to pull her back in. And Nora goes all too willingly.
There’s so much involved in The Siren where my jaw dropped in both good and bad shock. I absolutely loved every single character in this book. Nora is a character I can admire so much. She has this feminist ideal to her, but is willing to compromise and sacrifice her own wants and needs for others. This is shown with Zach and how in order for him to forgive himself for the breakdown of his marriage and his failure with Grace, he must in turn hurt Nora. Their therapy session, per say, is unlike any I've heard of before and I'm not sure it made sense when all was said and done. Wesley is there to help Nora find that innocence she lost at such a young age. She feels he’s her gift and her way to have a normal life. But Nora will never be normal or vanilla because of Soren.
Ah, Soren, what an enigma of a man. A BDSM Catholic priest who some may feel abuses the woman he loves is so wrong and a sacrilege. The morale implications are very questionable regarding Soren not because of his kinkery, but his role as a priest. When the point comes where we’re introduced to Soren like Zach is, and we find out that Soren is a priest, it’s beyond shocking. It’s something no author in their right mind should ever think of doing. Right? I can say with such strong conviction that what Tiffany has done with Soren and the use of religion, such as the Catholic faith and intertwines it with the S&M element in this book is brave, courageous and takes major balls. It’s one awesome payoff that works because of the writing skill of this author.
The Siren may be Nora’s story, but it’s the world she inhabits that’s the true star, and that of her relationship with Soren. Soren and Nora should be considered unhealthy because of what they are to each other and how far they will go for sexual release, but again, Tiffany’s skill at explaining why Nora will allow Soren to do whatever he wants to her in the name of love is beyond powerful, and in the end make perfect sense.
I can't really explain why The Siren hit me hard. I should have closed The Siren and wanted to rush and take a shower because it should have been left me dirty. But it’s the complete opposite. The Siren is beautiful and shows many different sides of love and that devotion one has not only for their lover, but perhaps for multiple lovers at the same time. Lines are crossed between many in this book, mainly from Nora who embodies the Madonna/Whore complex and of Soren who allows her the freedom to do what she wants while he waits for her to return to him. Soren’s devotion to not only his faith but to Nora is truly a thing of beauty, albeit a disturbing one.
The Siren has slayed me, beaten me into an emotional mess and has me coming back for more, which I did with the second book, The Angel that goes way beyond what’s acceptable, but still has cut me to my very core. (my review for The Angel will be posted closer to it's release next month)
I’m giving a call to action here. Do whatever you have to get your hands on The Siren. This is a must read book for 2012 and one that’s staying on my keeper shelf. Babies, I want to have babies with this book and might just tie Stacia Kane's Chasing Magic for my favorite book this year. (Mira)
Final Grade: A
A few other The Siren reviews:
Badass Book Reviews
Feeling Fictional Review
A few other The Siren reviews:
Badass Book Reviews
Feeling Fictional Review