Monday, 9 July 2012

Review: Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome

How do you want to push boundaries?
What does that mean?
What's different this time?
What if I don't want to?
How do I know I will be okay?
Are you crazy?
Am I crazy?
- Destined to Play by Indigo Bloome

Destined to Play is not necessarily a romance novel. It is not necessarily an anti-romance novel. It is a book about a woman who is persuaded by her former lover to let go of her sexual inhibitions over the course of a weekend and start a journey of self-discovery. Dr Alexandra Drake is an intelligent, capable woman of thirty-six, who is married with two children. The sexual side of her relationship with her husband, Robert, has cooled since their children were born. Enter Jeremy, Alexandra's former lover from her youth, who proposes that they meet in Sydney one weekend, while Alexandra's husband and children are away on a survival course in the Tasmanian wilderness. After recalling some of the details of some of their wild sexual encounters, Alexandra is easily seduced by Jeremy. Then he makes a shocking proposal. Jeremy wants Alexandra to surrender her eyesight and become totally dependent on him in every sense for the next forty-eight hours ...

When I received the review copy of Destined to Play I had no idea what to expect or what the book would be like. It was for this reason that I was quite eager to read the book. I was not disappointed. As a reader, what kept me hooked was not the graphic depictions of sex, but the suspenseful element of the book. As Alexandra spent most of the novel blindfolded and unaware of her surroundings (without giving too much away, I will reveal that Jeremy tricks her on a couple of occasions,) I was pulled in as I tried to figure out where she might be and what was happening to her. It was this--and some of the very imaginative results--that kept me wanting to turn the next page and learn more. There were a few things about the story that bothered me--in particular I would have liked it if in the early parts of the novel if the author had of shown Alexandra to feel some degree of guilt in the early part of the novel and wonder how her decision to meet Jeremy again might impact on her relationship with her husband and children. Overall though, it is an interesting concept for an erotic novel and the cliffhanger ending left me wanting to know more--which is ideal considering that Destined to Play is the first in a three part series known as the Avalon trilogy. The sequels, Destined to Feel and Destined to Fly will be released later this year. Destined to Play is a sexy, fast paced novel that will no doubt enjoy some mainstream success while women's erotica (sorry, I just can't bring myself to type Mummy Porn,) remains topical. 

As previously discussed on my blog, Destined to Play will probably enjoy a large share of mainstream success, thanks largely to the popularity of Fifty Shades of Grey (and it's sequels,) and the recently coined (but ultimately degrading,) term "Mummy Porn". Like Fifty Shades of Grey, and perhaps surprisingly, Twilight (the book that inspired Fifty Shades,) Destined to Play explores the concept of a woman putting aside her free will and having all decisions about her future and welfare made for her by her lover. Just as Bella Swan achieves eternal youth by marrying a wealthy and sparkly vampire and Ana Steele never has to worry about her career or the other many uncertainties faced by college graduates, Alexandra does not have to worry about her husband or addressing the issues surrounding her failing marriage. All of these women have stern by supposedly loving men who make every decision for them, because the men, apparently, know what is best for their lovers. These men are also rich, and at least in the case of Ana and Alexandra take charge of purchasing their lovers clothing (which always results in the characters looking fabulous). These books explore the concept of a woman finding herself free of decision making. It might be an appealing idea for an escapist novel, but perhaps we should all stop for a moment and think about O from Pauline Reige's novel The Story of O who willed herself to die after her sadistic lover lost interest in her. (Fortunately, he granted her permission to do so.) I'm not convinced that this would be such a great idea in real life--in fact a relationship where one partner did all the decision making, rendering the other to be helpless and dependent on him would be considered abusive. Fortunately, outside of her and Jeremy's sexual adventures, Alexandra appears to keep some sense of self and is able to make decisions about her welfare. 

Destined to Play is the debut novel by Indigo Bloome and was sold to HarperCollins for an a six-figure sum (an achievement worthy of much respect). The author (who may very well be using a pseudonym) is married with two children and has lived in the United Kingdom and Australia. She started to write Destined to Play a year ago. For a wonderful interview with the author, I suggest that you click here.