Saturday, March 10, 2012

Cirque du Minuit by Annabel Joseph


Annabel Joseph writes complexity in a way you don't often see in BDSM flavored erotica. In Cirque du Minuit there is complexity of emotions, plot, performing arts politics, and basic human nature. There was even a plot I didn't realize was there until it slapped me upside the head about ninety percent of the way through.

Here's the blurb:

It’s no easy feat transitioning from the disciplined arena of competitive gymnastics to the artistic whirl of the Cirque du Monde. Kelsey Martin finds secret inspiration in Theo Zamora, a dark, taciturn trapezist--until his partner dies in a tragic accident and he decides to leave the circus for good.

Theo doesn’t understand why Kelsey reaches out to him, only that she compels him with her unique combination of innocence and recklessness. Before long the two are collaborating on an aerial silks act for a new production, the Cirque du Minuit. Theo’s impatience with Kelsey’s naivete is matched only by his passion for her, and the two soon become embroiled in a tempestuous, consuming romance.

But some still blame Theo for his partner’s accident, and danger wraps up the two performers as inevitably as the scarlet silk of their act. Theo and Kelsey must find a way to connect and trust one another as he leads her deeper and deeper into a dangerous world of control and desire.

Publisher’s Note: This erotic romance novel is approximately 70K words and contains sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play/intercourse, m/f/m menage, BDSM scenes, power exchange themes, and swinging/partner sharing.

See that last little bit? About partner sharing? Part of me didn't want to like that part (though the baser parts of me loved it - LOL). I've been watching the new TV show, Smash, and wasn't surprised when the director chose the girl who slept with him. As my husband noted when I griped about it, if you've got to have a tie breaker, that's as good of one to have as any. My point here being: Like it or not, that sort of thing is often a part of the performing arts. Even though Theo may not have liked it, he wanted it to be her decision, and he didn't want to hold her back from it.  Even at that, he had his limits as to what he was going to be okay with, and he was very clear about them.

BDSM elements:
  • Bondage and Discipline: There are a few bondage activities, but it's not a huge part of their play. However, the discipline most certainly is, enough I'll give this category a 3 of 3.
  • Dominance and Submission: Mmmmm. 3 of 3.
  • Sadism and Masochism: Again, a 3 of 3. It's beautifully written, with the perfect note given to show how painful ecstasy can work when done right. 
  • Extra Point: Oh, yes.
As for the writing elements: The plot was woven together beautifully, tying various aspects together in unexpected ways. Pacing was mostly okay, with a few snags (for me) based around the main antagonist. Prose and dialogue were beautiful - no one quite captures the emotions in an intense BDSM scene the way Annabel Joseph can. Character development was exceptionally well done, as was the world-building showing the almost closed system you get in some of the performing arts social structures.

One final note -- submissive does not equal doormat. If you've any doubt about that, read this book.

I can easily give Cirque du Minuit a 10 of 10. Great story, great characters, and off-the-charts sex. 
  • Book Rating: Cirque du Minuit: 10 of 10
  • BDSM Intensity Level: 10 of 10
  • Heat Level: 5 of 5
  Click here to see my reviews of other Annabel Joseph works.