My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Quite a few years ago now, when I got my hands on my first Kindle, I went on a free-book rampage. I’d not long been a member of GR, but I was loving my newly found access to loads of free books and adding them to my (very small at the time!) TBR shelf. Now, I’ll own up, a LOT of them were Kindle-smut! I’d discovered that a lot of freebies, ironically, came at a price, being that 80%+ of them were utter rubbish!! But, occasionally, there was a diamond in the rough, and Shadowland by Radclyffe was one of them.
After recently reading many thrillers, horrors, historical fic, etc, etc, I wanted to read something completely different. So I hunted through my Kindle and decided to read this, and it hooked me in, handcuffed my attention to the bed, and promptly impressed the hell out of me!
Shadowland, in a nutshell, is a complex story about a group of gay women who have more baggage, secrets, flaws, and attitude than ANY bunch of characters I’ve ever read about. Radclyffe has written the most brilliant character-focused story I’ve come across in a long, long time. I don’t read much at all in the LGBT fiction genre, but the character dynamics are first class. Having no men around makes for an absolute knock-out read! Even the women don’t understand the women, so I don’t think men have much hope, that’s for sure!
Now, onto the more gritty side of things.
Trigger warning, a BIG part of this story evolves around, some might say, unconventional lifestyles. In that there’s BDSM, total power exchange (TPE), D/s (Domme/sub) relationships and leather, lots of leather 😉 There is also mind-games, occasional drug use, edge play and a variety of sex toys that inflict both pleasure and pain. So if you’re after a cute lesbian romance, this book isn’t for you. However, if you’ve got an open mind and just fancy reading something a little darker, without that typical ‘alpha male’ throwing his weight around, choose this, there’s ‘alpha females’ instead. How refreshing!
So, going back to the smut side of things, this one stands right out from the crowd. The author didn’t feel the need to use profanity hardly at all. The sex scenes are erotic and loving, with very little essence of titillation for titillations sake, just the right amount of description to set the scene and paint the picture bold enough for the reader to capture the imagery perfectly.
When a plot is this good, when the characters are this strong and when the writing has such flow, I’m completely sold. This is NOT smut. Or pointless, crass sexploits purely written to get the reader ‘off’! This is a great character driven story by a brilliant author.
I really can’t fault it. My only disappointment is that none of Radclyffes other books are free!!