Tantalized by Nenia Campbell
I start this review, it is important to state that I’m friends with the
author, Nenia Campbell, but this has no sway over my feelings or
thoughts of this novel.
Tantalized follows Jessica
Abrahams, a nineteen-year-old who is suicidal and dropped off by her
parents at a prestigious university— despite her psychiatrist’s
protests. Jessica is reckless when she isn’t on her meds and she is
capable of doing anything for fun. She decides to seduce her Comparative
Literature professor, Alexander Delacroix. Jess knows she is “fucked
up”, but what she doesn’t know is that Professor Delacroix is, too. An
intense battle of sexual domination and submission ensues and it may
just break Jessica. I read this book three years ago, but I still think
about it every now and then. Mainly because this booked is Fucked Up,
with a capital F and a capital U. Incredibly Fucked Up. Naturally, it’s
my type of book. If you didn’t know, I love dark literature. Some of my
favorites from the genre are: Comfort Food,All the Ugly and Wonderful Things, Nine Minutes,
and Nenia Campbell’s Horrorscape trilogy. Darker themed novels that
make me twitch with distaste, feel icky while flipping the pages, and
leave me with a feeling needing to take a shower are some of my favorite
novels. Novels that make me feel uncomfortable and gauge emotional,
psychological pondering, and physical reactions are usually novels that
become favorites. (It’s why I love Stephen King so much.) If dark novels
aren’t your thing, then steer FAR, FAR away from this book because it
gets intense really fast and it is an uncomfortable read.
read this book in a day. I brought my Kindle to school and read it in
classes because I had to know what was going to happen next and what
would be the next outlandish and horrible choices Jessica was going to
make. I’ve always read Nenia’s books very quickly, but I flew through
this one at rapid speed. Nenia has a great way of pulling the reader in
and keeping the reader hooked. As much as I usually really enjoy her
writing, the sex scenes in this novel were choppy and a little hard to
read. However, considering the graphic level of content and sexual
situations that is to be expected in a dark erotica novel.
Whimsical Writing Scale: 4
characters are absolutely horrible. You won’t root for Jessica, but you
also don’t want to see her suffer. However, a lot of her suffering is
brought on by her own masochist love of pain and she enjoys hurting
herself, both physically and mentally. Alexander Delacroix is one of the
most uncomfortable romantic leads I’ve ever come across and I love that
I felt captivated and uneasy of all the same time. Nenia continues to
write strong, detestable characters that are compelling.
Character Scale: 4
Villain Scale: 4.5
novel is depressing and originally, I was conflicted on the ending, but
I just reread the ending and I actually think it’s very fitting. If I
were to compare this book to another I would compare it to Beasts
by Joyce Carol Oates. Both are novels about student-professor affairs
that turn exceedingly darker and more obsessive as the story progresses.
I enjoyed both of them immensely and I think that since reading Beasts,
it has made me like the ending of Tantalized a lot more. I definitely
suggest reading the trigger warnings before picking up this novel
because, like I said, it’s dark erotica and it also follows a
psychologically unstable protagonist.
Plotastic Scale: 4.25
Cover Thoughts: It’s a typical erotica cover, but it is darker in context than some and it fits the tone of the story.
What are some of your favorite darker novels? Are you fan of darker content or do you stray away from it? Let me know down below in the comments!