Book Review: Asking For It (Asking For It #1) by Lilah Pace #GTBA15
*** Asking For It covers some very difficult subject matter, both socially and psychologically. This review is SPOILER-FREE! ***
This book has the potential to catapult the non-consensual sex romance subgenre into the public spotlight, and bring awareness to the knowledge that many women have fantasized about rape—and still do. Asking For It clearly defines the distinction between playing out a scenario and the reality of such an act actually happening. It is important to stress that, with non-con and other lesser-publicized kinks like humiliation and shaming, the desire which playacting can stir in a person who craves the fantasy is completely separate from the potentially devastating scarring and life-altering effects of a real non-consensual situation. This book and subject matter are not for everyone, but for those who enjoy the non-con subgenre of romance, Asking For It is a rare find.
Jonah and Vivienne’s relationship evolves so naturally and carefully that every step is believable and each new boundary they push is edgy. Yet still safe—still truly consensual—while playing at rape. Jonah is so very well written. Here is a man who can flip between cruel, brutal aggression and genuine, tender aftercare in the blink of an eye. Reserved and mysterious, our Jonah is slowly unwrapped as the story progresses, and his personality is both frighteningly magnetic and unreservedly kind. Vivienne could be any woman, she’s that easy to relate to. As they begin to explore their fantasies together, we get a glimpse into the lives of people living with and shaped by the memories of traumatic sexual experiences. Their path may be healthy or it may be detrimental, but that choice is up to each individual, and each reader is likely to experience this book differently depending on her own past and interpretations of the story. Ultimately, Asking For It is about two people with deep emotional scars trying to find comfort in each other and falling in love as they explore their mutual expanded possibilities. And it’s beautiful, in a sometimes brutal, sometimes tender sort of way.
This may seem like a strange thing to bring up in a review about non-consensual sex, but I’ve read my share of supposedly authentic depictions of Austin, Texas, and this one is by far the most grounded and realistic. The author doesn’t spew out the names of trendy places like a roll call, nor does she ignore the little details that make the city so unique. If Ms. Pace hasn’t spent some quality time living and socializing in the heart of Texas’s capital city, I’ll eat my hat. And hats off to her for a scene very well set, too!
Asking For It does not have a happy ending, but it’s not sad either. It’s merely a bridge to the next chapter in Jonah and Vivienne’s story. Which I fully intend to read.
Note to readers
Asking For It strictly follows the prime directives of kink: Safe, Sane, and Consensual. The characters use safe words, negotiate limit lists (both what they will or won’t do for “now” and for “ever”), and pre-plan their scenarios. There is an intimate level of trust established that is sacred and binding, and both characters respect what that represents and how it protects them while also binding them together even as total strangers.
This story is NOT for readers who are sensitive to rape or non-consensual sexual situations in literature.
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Asking For It is…