Thursday, October 4, 2012


Pages: 326
Date: 04/10/2012
Grade: 4+
Details: no. 2 Eighty Days
            Received from Orion
            Through Book Geeks

“Doms, subs it happens gradually, almost without your being aware of it. Until the day comes when you assume it fully, accept it, banish the personal doubts. It’s nature, not nurture, you see.”

Except that in reality it is never that simple. Rarely do we grow into something new without some obstacles getting in the way as Dominik and Summer are about to find out in this, the second instalment in the Eighty Days trilogy.

Violinist Summer Zahova is happy in New York. She is enjoying her time with the orchestra, especially now that it has a new and attractive conductor, Simón. Having left Victor behind her after his games in “Eighty Days Yellow” went too far for her, she is enjoying a few days with Dominik, the man who gave her the beautiful violin she cherishes and introduced her to the kinkier side of relationships. She never tells him about her times with Victor, even though Dominik knows Victor and they had an agreement to share any encounters with third parties with each other. When Dominik has to return to his life in London, Summer finds herself alone and unable to really connect with people. Dominik taking a sabbatical from his job in London to pursue a residency in New York appears to be the answer to the yearning they both feel for each other. But it isn’t long after he arrives before a solo performance by Summer is such a success that it results in a world tour, taking her away from Dominik once again. When Summer at last returns to America it should mean a happy reunion but it appears that Victor still has some games to play with the young musician. And this time it might well result in the death of her relationship with Dominik.

Anyone who has read my review of “Eighty Days Yellow” knows that I felt kind of ambivalent about that book. I’m happy to say this second book in the trilogy worked better for me. As we get to know the two main characters better we also start to understand what it is that motivates them. That may not mean that they become anymore sympathetic than they were in the previous book, but, because they are consistent in their behaviour, they grow on the reader.

Maybe it is time to be honest and admit that my reluctance towards liking these books is a result of the level of realism in them. Most works of romantic fiction and erotica appear to be written as if they are fairy-tales. Not so these books. No first meeting with sparks flying followed by romantic courtship, interrupted for a short while by some sort of issue or misunderstanding only for everything to come together in an easy happily-ever-after in this story. These two main characters, though drawn together, have almost more downs than ups. It is their own behaviour as well as outside influences that throw obstacles in their way. These aren’t almost too good to be true fantasies we are reading; these characters are flawed, selfish and at times stupid. In short, these characters are so real that you would like to slap them occasionally if only to wake them up to how careless they are being with each other and with their own feelings. And that I guess is a credit to the authors. As frustrating as I found the characters in this book at times, they do come across as very realistic in a way that characters in romances usually don’t do.
I do wonder though if this is a work of erotic fiction (as in a tantalising story) or a cautionary tale (as in, be careful what you get yourself into because it can easily come back to bite you).

Although this book, like its prequel, comes with a fair amount of graphic and quite kinky sex scenes, the story seems to be more about the emotions behind the physical needs this time. To me it felt as if the feelings the characters had about their sexual needs, and the desperation those needs sometimes caused, was far more important than the actual acts of intimacy. We get an insight into the need, the confusion and also the shame the characters experience. This gives the book more depth than the average work of erotica usually has.

The shifting story-telling perspective that I had an issue with while reading "Eighty Days Yellow" is still the same. We still shift from Dominik (in the second person) to Summer (in the first as well as the second person). But I must have gotten used to it. While these shifts pulled my out of the story in the previous book they didn't bother me at all this time around. I'm still not sure why exactly Summer's story is told from two different perspectives, but I can live with it.

Now that I’ve read two of the three books in this series I find myself very curious about how this story might end. While it would seem that the two main characters are destined to be together eventually it also seems clear that both of them would have to learn a lot, about themselves and about each other, if we’re ever to reach that (possibly) happy ending. I now can’t wait to read the concluding book: “Eighty Days Red”.

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