Sunday, August 27, 2017

Tantalized by Nenia Campbell

Tantalized by Nenia Campbell

4 stars

*Before 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.

I 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

These 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

This 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! 

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