Author: Willow Winters
Series or standalone: Series
Series Number: 1
Genre: Romance, Drama, Erotica, Mafia Romance
Age Restriction: Mature Audiences only (18+)
Total Time Read: 5 days
Recommendation: See commentary below
Merciless follows the story of a powerful man, Carter Cross, and a daughter of a mafia boss, Aria Talvery. The story begins with Aria who finds herself at a bar to retrieve her precious sketchbook (though it’s not the sketchbook that is special but what is inside). Everything goes south from there when she is caught in a crossfire and taken captive by a guy named Romano who trades her off to our supposed male lead, Carter Cross. Aria hopes to be saved, will her believed savior and captor show her mercy or will she submit to his every command?
I was hoping to get this book down before New Years, but at least I got it down as my first book for 2020. As someone who rarely reads erotica (especially those that features or glorifies BDSM), this was quite interesting in a way that it was both gripping and well crafted enough for me to not put down, and with that being said, I can understand why it is quite popular.
I love how as we read further, we peel the layers of each character and empathize with each of their inner struggles and personal dilemmas. It also makes you think of your kinks and biases. While I don’t condone violence and glorifying kinks and sex I can see how it may appeal to audiences both in fiction and real life. It also made me think about how other people would look at it if it wasn’t a kink or sexual preference.
To the eyes of other people, it may look like abuse. Honestly, it is hard to describe it but I allude it to watching the Netflix TV series, “YOU”. Joe is a downright serial killer, but what makes us watch (and lowkey support) him when we know he is a bad person? One would say that if he wasn’t funny, charming, or entertaining he would just be a creepy stalker and we wouldn’t want to keep watching, maybe even pelt the guy with pebbles if he was a real person.
It was the same feeling I had when I was reading the book (or any BDSM book really). Although it was entertaining to read if we peeled the layers of entertainment the story was nothing more than emotional and physical abuse. Yes it is a kink and both of them liked it at some point in the story, but there wasn’t an established consent in the beginning and although the story is good, it doesn’t mean that if the story was a real-life story makes it right.
Now I know what you are thinking, “It is a work of fiction, chill!”. Yes, and to each his own, this is just my opinion I wasn’t asking anyone to agree with me. I’ve read a similar story featuring BDSM which talked about BDSM as a form of art and both parties should have consent and a safe word when limits are crossed.
What makes this book special then if there are some controversial issues behind it? As I’ve mentioned, it was gripping/entertaining and well crafted. If it wasn’t then I wouldn’t have cared about the story or the fact that I even tolerated the fact that the story elements displayed toxic relationship elements (physical and emotional abuse). It makes me sad that we popularize or glorify stories like this, but if stories like this and “YOU” weren’t so entertaining there isn’t any reason for me to read or watch it.
I gave this book a 4.5/5 because it kept my interest throughout the story. I could have rated it lower for failing to realize that it would end with a cliffhanger and was actually part of a series (I hate book series, I love the sense of finality by reading a standalone) and I could have been biased by forcing my ideals that the relationship they had was abusive, but no. Reviews should be based on the storytelling and how well crafted the story is, so this story deserves a 4.5/5.
It made me empathize and be emotionally invested in the characters, it also made me consider how I judge or see the world. BDSM is not for everyone. Some would frown upon it, others might need it to satisfy their sexual needs, desires, or fantasies, so who am I to judge? I wish I knew it wasn’t part of a series though as I’ve already gotten myself invested/interested in the story when I’m not sure when I’ll get my hands on the second book. We’ll have to see once I get through my entire TBR list and go back to the series.
Will I recommend this book?
If you are 18 or older, love erotica, BDSM (or looking to explore your sexual fantasies, desires, or kinks) this book may be for you. I would only recommend this book to the genre’s target audience in case they haven’t already read the story. Other than that I wouldn’t recommend it to younger audiences or those hoping to read clean romance novels. If rape or abuse triggers you or makes you feel uncomfortable, I would highly suggest that you avoid the book altogether.
Happy New Year to you and your family! Thanks for reading my review for Merciless by Willow Winters. Please expect another review on another book I’ve finished reading over the holidays: A Christmas Ghost by JD Winters, and flick reviews on:
- The Walking Dead (S1-S8)
- YOU (Season 2).
On another note! I’m very pleased to announce that my book Undeniable Desire will be free from January 1st to January 3rd! You can get it here:
Cheers, and have a good one!