I didn’t care for this first book in the Stark Trilogy, but I am going to read forward in the series in the hopes that it improves beyond being a derivative work, which is the main issue I had with J. Kenner’s “Release Me”. It’s pretty much a knockoff of “Bared to You”, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, the movie “Secretary”, among other derivative erotic works. I wasn’t impressed with the similarities at all, albeit loose.
If there was one positive factor about Nikki – she’s a hard working woman with double degrees, and learning her respective history was probably more rewarding than some of the threadbare knockoffs I’ve read in the erotic billionaire boom I’ve seen in this genre (this book was a heck of a lot better than Sara Fawkes’s “Anything He Wants”, just as an example, but I wouldn’t say the narrative pulled me the way Sylvia Day’s “Bared to You” did.) Nikki’s not a clueless heroine, but the fact that she yields to Damian Stark’s touches and whims so easily at times made me see red. She has a tragic past to boot, on the measure of someone having a controlling yield over her in the past. Leave it to Damian Stark to carry on with his “control” over her.
And nope, I didn’t find a single thing about Damian Stark attractive. Just another billionaire fantasy boy toy who seems to be around every corner, have every connection, and every whim for the heroine at her behest. And some scandal about a former lover of his who mysteriously died. *yawns*
Look, I’m okay with reading stories about millionaire/billionaire lovers, in and outside of romance or erotic romance but seriously…I’m pretty sure there are far more story seeds to sow than the rinse, cycle, wash and repeat that I’m picking up with some of these novels. It’s like they don’t even try to go a different direction. Is imagination in this genre so farfetched that people don’t want to reach beyond the Fifty Shades template? Or is it about money? Or is it about trying the formula and trying to write it “right” where E.L. James did not? I honestly have no idea, but believe it or not, I am going to finish out this trilogy since I have the ARCs for the second and third books.
I just hope I don’t see where the next books are going as easily as I did this one. Kind of saddens me that I finished this and said “Wait, that’s it? Really?” when my reaction should be “I can’t wait to read the next book, let’s do this!”
Here’s to hoping it becomes something more, but I think my expectations are low.
Overall score: 1/5