Power Exchange

Power Exchange - A.J.  Rose I should stay true to my word and quit with m/m. Bitching my way through book after book won't make anyone happy.
(Whom am I kidding? Of course I won't.)

Don't get me wrong: This is a good read for anyone new to BDSM. Yes, there is a certain BDSM 101 feel to it, especially in the beginning – but the explanations are well done and worked organically into the investigation and Gavin's sexual self-awakening. The BDSM scenes are emotional and ring true, Ben and Gavin make a good couple, and I could believe in their attraction and developing D/s relationship. I'm no newbie, but it even helped me to gain a better insight in the submissive's POV. While I get S&M and the joys of pain, while I mostly get Dominance (I think), submission remains more of a mystery to me. The author did a good job at showing Gavin's needs. In that regard, the book deserves all the praise.


The murder mystery didn't work for me. Gavin's much too busy coming to terms with being gay and submissive to actually recognize a killer who's advertising himself with big, flashy neon-signs. Now, stories where the investigator is too caught up fucking to really investigate can be entertaining (*cough* [b:Mind Fuck|2112823|Mind Fuck (The Administration, #1)|Manna Francis|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328214829s/2112823.jpg|2118233] *cough*). More often they're just annoying. The investigation in Power Exchange isn't all that bad, but I could never believe in Gavin as a competent cop.

Also, I didn't like how the author handled the situation with Victoria, Gavin's wife. Granted, we see the whole story through Gavin's POV, so we just get his side of the story. But I got the impression that the author was trying very hard to sell Victoria as the bitchy, cheating wife from hell. And that's a trope just all too common in m/m romance. I'm so fucking tired of it. To make matters worse, Gavin handles the whole situation with the maturity of a 5-year-old who got his ice-cream stolen. Instead of trying to sort things out with the people involved, and, I don't know, actually talk to his wife for a change, he goes whining to his boss. And keeps on blaming bad, bad Victoria. Way to go, boy! (Really, Victoria's much better off without him. Gavin's not exactly what I meant when I asked for a "competent, mature sub".) To give the author some credit: The story is partly about Gavin finally developing a backbone and standing up for himself. I just wish his own contribution to his failed marriage had been acknowledged, and Victoria had been treated like a human being, not like a necessary causality who doesn't matter anyway.

So, my biggest problem was I had no respect for Gavin as a cop, and I could find no respect for Gavin as a person – and Ben was just a tiny bit too perfect to be true.
Also, the writing is serviceable at best, sometimes straining the limits of 1st person POV beyond believability.

While the BDSM is emotional, and there's actual communication and negotiation (!!), the sex is also the typical, boring, m/m hyperbole: Fists fisting everywhere but where fists are supposed to be fisting, mouths letting go of cocks with an audible sound, dicks dribbling pre-come everywhere and spurting "thick ropes of come" (really now?), and men always coming together or almost together. Blah-di-blah. And the scenes are so frigging long! (And Ben and Gavin are both not into edge play. What a shame! *disappointed pout*)

Anyway, I'm told book #2 is better, and addresses some of the issues I mentioned above. I might give it a chance after all. Till then, I'll withhold my rating.