The Subs Club by J.A. Rock
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really, really liked this book. The Subs Club was a two-pronged story for me. The primary storyline is the romance between Dave and David and how both men “find themselves” as they let each other in. The secondary storyline is a more honest approach to BDSM then I typically find in romance novels and whether it was the author’s intent or not, I believe it delves into why BDSM romance novels have become so popular in recent years. Of course, the storylines do intertwine because Dave is a central player in both of them…after all, this is his story.
If you read the blurb, then you know that Dave’s best friend Hal died a year ago at the hands of an incompetent dom and the book opens with Dave and his circle of friends returning to Riddle, the club that Hal died at. Upon discovering that said dom has been allowed back to Riddle, Dave feels as though their safe haven is no longer safe and, in a fit of outrage, establishes The Subs Club – an online community for subs to talk about safety issues, compare notes on their experiences, and rate doms in an effort to identify “unsafe” and “dangerous” doms. A great idea in theory, not so much in reality. But Dave resolves to take on the dom whose Fetmatch profile contains danger sign after danger sign in his opinion – The Disciplinarian aka Pornstache aka David – and reveal him for the heavy-handed irresponsible dom his profile indicates he is. Despite Dave’s antagonistic attitude and a rough start, he finds that The Disciplinarian isn’t as bad as he expected and comes to realize that he severely misjudged David. As David pushes Dave’s limits and “forces” him to open up to the submissive experience, Dave is breaking down David’s walls and forcing him to see a future past the agreed upon six sessions. Rock does an excellent job of showing how their relationship gradually shifts from the strictly D/s sessions to more friendly interactions between sessions until they begin to “see each other” and agree that they want more than the D/s sessions. Of course, it wasn’t a big surprise when Dave’s worst fear about The Disciplinarian learning of The Subs Club was realized, but Dave’s handling of the fallout did surprise me – in a good way.
As for the secondary storyline, I loved what Dave was trying to do with The Subs Club blog. His reasoning behind it was sound and it could have been a great resource for subs in their community. However, he and his friends underestimated how much work would be involved in moderating such a forum and what started out as a resource, quickly devolved into a gossip group that gave the “mean girls” within a place to be snarky with little consequence. But it is during Dave’s presentation at Riddle about what they had intended The Subs Club to be that one of the doms makes a statement that I felt is revealing as to why BDSM romances are so popular: “How about bottoms ask for what they really want?” Even in this day and age when we’re supposedly more open about sex, people still have a hard time talking about sex, especially about what they want from their partner. But in BDSM romances, the dom almost always knows what the sub wants and/or needs and gives it to him or her without lengthy discussions. Obviously we know this isn’t how it works in the real world, but in romances the sub doesn’t have to ask for what he or she wants because the dom just knows and I think this is what most of us want – an intuitive partner who knows us better than we know ourselves and is not only willing to give it to us, but wants to. And while Dave loses control of the meeting a time or two as the audience engages in heated discussions, it serves to point out what we already know about relationships in general and BDSM in particular – the importance of communication by both parties. Although this is not an uncommon theme in BDSM romances, I really like the way that Rock presented it. I thoroughly enjoyed The Subs Club and am looking forward to the next book in the series as I want to know more about this group of friends…and hopefully catch up with Dave and Pornstache to see how they’re doing.
I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Check out The Subs Club (The Subs Club #1) by J.A. Rock blog post on Crystal's Many Reviewers.
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