Title: A Slow Process of Understanding
Author: Faith Ashlin
Genre: Contemporary/Alternate Reality/Dubious Consent & Rape
Length: Novel (263 pages)
Publisher: Totally Bound (December 19th, 2014)) Available for early download
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4Hearts
Blurb: How does a world that accepts slavery affect both master and slave? Can two people build a new life for themselves with a start like theirs?
It’s a world like this one except for the all-powerful State that’s very firmly in control and the fact that slavery is legal. Jimmy had never really thought about it or the fight for freedom going on around him. He was too busy enjoying his privileged life as an actor on a sci-fi show.
But what is he meant to do when he’s forced to permanently bond to a slave he doesn’t want just because he made one silly, drunken mistake? Does it change who he is, what he is?
Trouble is, Jimmy isn’t sure who he was to start with. He’d never thought about it.
And what about his slave, Nate? Can a slave force Jimmy into learning something about himself?
Product Link: https://www.totallybound.com/a-slow-process-of-understanding
Review: The fact this was alternate reality had me intrigued, added in the fact that this tackles the tricky area of slavery also had me intrigued. The concept of slavery in this in interesting because it’s not quite the slavery we know of the past from England and the Americas or even the serfdom seen in Russia and medieval Europe. It’s somewhere between ownership for cheap labour and a personal slave, crossed with compulsory sexual slavery.
Jimmy has committed a minor crime; maybe, he said something the government (The State) weren’t happy about. Part of his punishment is to become a slave owner – in order to make him more responsible and follow The State’s dictates. Basically, I saw it as like giving a little kid a pet and telling them to a responsible pet owner and look after the animal. Jimmy and his slave, Nate, are forced into what The State calls being bonded, which is pretty much marriage. Jimmy is all heart. From the start, although he sees the prospect of having sex with his slave a good way of getting no string sex (because bonding with a slave means consummation must take place). His vulnerability, or more accurately, his naivety comes up a number of times but he shows strength, regardless. He doesn’t want to abuse his slave like many people do. So it appears he is more a rebel to the State, perhaps just a bad citizen rather than a bad person.
As for Nate, he seems like a broken man, completely obedient and resigned to his life as a slave. It actually got annoying sometimes, because he also comes across as a sort of shrinking violet type of guy on a few occasions, despite the harsh life of a slave. The only other thing is that I really want to know more about what’s going in Nate’s head. Yes, he is meant to be obedient but I want to know what makes him tick. This is because Nate is an ever-evolving character throughout the entire story.
I also must admit that I started to get bored after a bit, then bam! Plot twist! This made the story for me. I partly feel sorry and used for Jimmy, but this is also, where I really wanted more from Nate’s perspective, because I went from liking him to starting to hate him. Nate also chooses to look over the fact that Jimmy put him through the best rehab for an injured leg he had before he was bonded to Jimmy. He doesn’t seem to want to redeem himself in Jimmy’s in too much of a hurry and it both annoys me yet I enjoy the tension. Call me twisted, but I love it. There is a second major shift in plot over the last third of the book, which works well because of the length. At the same time, it is the reason for the length of the book. I’m not sure if this second twist was entirely necessary, regardless of how well everything flows.
A couple of points on my mind: Jimmy’s sentence for his “crime”. Although to be fair, this same point is questioned by multiple characters in the book as well it’s never properly explained. All in all, I have some mixed feelings about this, but I suppose that has to do with the nature of slavery influencing my thinking. The other point is that so much emphasis is placed on Jimmy as “changing” when he was never inherently a bad person – at least to me.
This is well written and the characters develop nicely. At first I felt that Jimmy was selfish and Nate was sweet, then my thinking was flipped more than a couple of times throughout. There were a couple of times when one or the other needed a hit on the upside of the head. Ultimately, I was just on the edge of my proverbial seat; just wanting to known happens to this certainly unique couple. This book isn’t for the faint of heart and some scenes are just brutal, but still it flows so well.
The pace starts off a bit slow, but after Jimmy is released from prison the action and emotion picks up and follows nonstop through to the end. And if nothing else, the title of this book was aptly chosen.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *