Tuesday, September 11, 2012

REVIEW: Guttersnipe by Isa K.

Guttersnipe Guttersnipe by Isa K.
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

CAUTION: Long Review

Guttersnipe is a speculative master-slave M/M fiction about a rebel turned sex slave named Derek who learns that he has been a pawn between feuding masters.To make matters worse, he learns that the feud has risen to a conspiracy which threatens the foundation of a society where sex is heavily regulated. With twists and turns and mind games, I expected the book to be full of excitement.

That expectation was not met.

The Characters

+++ Derek

He was the protagonist. Barring 1 or 2 instances, the story was told from his side in 1st PoV.

I didn't like Derek from the start. His cockiness annoyed me, and his sexcapades disturbed me. Only after Derek got captured and raped that he then endeared himself to me.

Unwilling to accept his enslavement, Derek remained calm, kept his wits, and — this is the most important part — attempted escapes. Not one escape, but multiple escapes. Derek was defiant, confident, and resilient. His perseverance impressed me.

Unfortunately, Derek was the about the only character I liked.

+++ Marco

He was the guy who captured and raped Derek and became Derek's master. I didn't care much for him. I found his backstory contemptible and the reason for his fear of love absurd. I had a hard time believing he was a great schemer because he acted so glum and seemed like he moped all day long.

+++ Zach

Marco's servant was annoying. His cliché sob story of a past as an abused ex-sex slave got eyerolls from me. When Derek tricked and punched Zach to escape from Marco again, I had a hard time feeling pity for Zach.

+++ Evelyn

Marco's evil rival was exasperating. His characterization as this maniacal sexual sadist was shallow and devoid of imagination.

+++ Nick

I found Evelyn's sex slave almost as exasperating as Evelyn. I really wished Nick remained a forgettable side character instead of having an important role as Derek's love interest.

+++ Helios

He was the Derek's shadow sponsor, the master/society-elite who wanted to throw the city into turmoil. He had great potential to be an awesome villain but the plot botched it. The revelation of Helios's identity was anticlimactic, disappointing, and too predictable to be believed.

The Plot

+++ the plot forgot

The confrontation at the sex club between Marco and Evelyn baffled me. I didn't understand why Derek was forced into non-con sex with Nick. I thought trip to the sex club was to discover the identity of Helios, not to get sidetracked with Evelyn.

The couple chapters spanning that clumsy confrontation scene were dreadful. The plot forgot about Helios, a character who played such a huge role in the story that it was just mind-boggling how he could be forgotten. The plot also forgot that Derek was supposed to continue planning his escape, which put a dent in Derek's characterization.

+++ twists and turns

The story didn't consistently deliver twists and turns. Most of them were crammed near the end, and they were hardly good. The worst twist was the quasi-Romeo and Juliet one; I felt the urge to gag.

+++ the mind games

There were very few of them. The mind games between Derek and Marco were amusing, but sputtered after the middle of the story.

The mind games against Helios never happened, but instead was a simple contention. The story drove the expectation of cloak and dagger off the cliff. Worse, the core conflict (the Helios issue) wasn't steadily maintained but was pushed in uneven bursts. It made me questioned whether some scenes were necessary to the story.

The Romance

Derek fell in love with Nick after meeting him two times, qualifying the romance as insta-love. The romance with Nick was utterly passionless and senseless, most noticeable in their sex scenes. Marco raping Derek was somehow more love-filled than Derek making love to Nick.

I get that Derek was developing into the sex slave with a heart of gold but the story pushed that act too far. Honestly, every time Derek had a scene with Nick I skimmed.

In Conclusion

The world building was believable. The writing was good. The non-con sex scenes between Derek and Marco were hot. But these few good things about the story were barely half way enough to save the story from mediocrity.

I rate the book 1 star for I didn't like it. The half-hearted happy ending ultimately kicked the preliminary rating of 1.5 star down to a 1-star level. There were still a few issues left unresolved. The story tried to be something different but failed on many levels, at least for me.

I do not recommend this book for readers looking for a master-slave romance because Derek does not end up with Marco, for readers looking for erotica because the story does not have many sex scenes and some are dreadful, or for readers looking for a dystopian fiction because the story does not deeply dissect the social issues and the society does not change.

I probably recommend this book for readers who are tired of the same old BDSM story and want something new and challenging, even if it is simply to get out the rut.

Amazon GoodReads

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