Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome
21st Aug 2012
In that, its publication could not have come (excuse the pun) at a better time: Fifty Shades of Grey seems at times to have convinced every other woman to indulge in a little bit of saucy fiction with some serious S&M themes – regardless of literary merit.
Bloome’s contribution to what might well be on the way to becoming a more mainstream genre is set in Sydney.
Dr. Alexandra Blake – a married mother of two – gives a lecture in the city before meeting up with an old university flame, Jeremy Quinn.
But after a couple of glasses of champagne in his hotel suite, he presents an intriguing offer: stay with him for 48 hours but relinquish her sight and her ability to ask questions, in exchange for the most sensual and extreme experience of her life.
What follows is certainly extreme – but not too much so. Sexually, this will appeal to anyone who has ever dreamed of being tied up or had some ice rubbed over them just as much as it might titillate a long-term connoisseur of whips and chains.
Even if you can’t relate to S&M at all, the description of the heights of Alexandra’s pleasure alone will be enough to raise your pulse a little.
In a characteristic typical of erotica, Bloome sticks with the less-is-more rule: Alexandra and Jeremy are never really described at all.
I don’t even know what colour hair she has. The beauty lies in making them into whatever you want them to be – you, your partner, Channing Tatum… The reader has the opportunity to take control of the fantasy, making the book incredibly accessible.
But there are issues to contend with: to start with, if you’re not into playing the submissive role, then there are elements that will raise objection.
Alexandra is depicted as incredibly naïve and even rather dense at times, totally unable to anticipate what Jeremy is going to inflict on her next – something he finds highly amusing – and at times, she hyperventilates from fear. Not sexy.
Jeremy tricks her into agreeing to his terms by refusing to continue pleasuring her at the crucial moment (shall we say) until she promises to comply, but as soon as her orgasmic high has settled she becomes panicky.
Attempts to reason with him or back out result in him physically pinning her down at one point when she considers escaping – something that many, including myself, may find disturbing rather than enticing.
However, Bloome does write erotica exceptionally well, in particular because she extensively covers vaginal, clitoral and anal pleasure, so the potential 75% of women who don’t orgasm through intercourse alone for once feel genuinely represented.
Don’t buy this expecting to be floored by the beautiful prose. The writing is basic, at times too colloquial for me, and some of the description is laughable (seriously, she calls her vagina her ‘southern tunnel’? No one has ever done that).
That said, there are some serious elements: for one, there are genuine feelings involved – this isn’t just sex. And as both Jeremy and Alexandra work in the medical field, the book also explores the lack of research into female sexuality, adding a thought-provoking context to all the sexy times.
This goes beyond Fifty Shades – way beyond – and the exhilarating cliff-hanger ending bodes well for the sequel, Destined to Feel, due out towards the end of the year.
Recommended for: Fifty Shades fans (apparently, there’s a lot of you) and those who like their loveplay a little (or a lot) on the kinky side…