Monday, February 12, 2018

Servicing the Target by Cherise Sinclair

This is book 10 of the Shadowlands Series. While this is part of a series, it can work as a stand-alone book. Sinclair does a good job of explaining the parts that need one so that someone new to the series will be able to keep up. However, some of the descriptions became tedious if you already knew the information. The series follows members of a BDSM club called Shadowlands.

I love Sinclair's writing style. The characters are fully developed and have believable backstories. As the focus of each book shifts from one couple to another, the character traits of the others remain. Sally will always be mischievous, Andrea will always be stubborn, and plot points from previous books are often touched on. Like a character who is pregnant in one book will still be pregnant, or deliver the baby, in the next. It helps with continuity of the overall story. I like that the characters don't have sudden personality shifts from one book to the next and that we can follow the whole group, even though the focus of the book is on a single couple.

I do, however, have some pet peeves about this book. I was excited to see that Sinclair was breaking from the mold of male Dom/female submissive. However, I was disappointed in how much of the book revolved around the other characters. I can see where, for the storyline, the other characters need to be involved. But I object to entire chapters of Anne and Ben's story being devoted to dealing with another couple. In previous books, Sinclair limited the other characters to being talked about - not getting their own section or chapter. It makes me wonder if Sinclair wasn't comfortable writing those type of scenes and needed to go back to scenes she knew she could write well. And they are well written, very well written. But I wanted to read about Anne and Ben - not book 2 about the other characters. If Sinclair did write a book two for the couples I would probably read them. Some of the couples I really do ask "And then what?"

Some of the new characters were also very over the top, bordering on non-realistic. No one walks around work and openly uses excessively vulgar language. Even if their father owns the company. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen. Sure they may say it in private, or under their breath or at the bar with their buddies after work. But not in the middle of the office with multiple witnesses. That particular character lacked the usual depth and attention that Sinclair develops.

There were other sections were the group dynamic seemed a little too perfect. Sure calling everyone in to help someone move was one thing. But when all work at the same shelter, or with the same teen group? That's a bit much. I did like that we got to see more into the personal lives of the characters, to see how the lifestyle, at various levels and stages, worked. But to believe that the entire group (up to 10 couples) does everything outside of work (except in cases where the psychiatrist sees them as a patient or one hires the other for a job) together is very far fetched and borders on ridiculous. It's ok for some of the couples do not want to do the group activity. And with all this non-profit stuff and the club and work, when do they just get to relax and be with each other?

While the majority of the book had a good flow the ending seemed rushed. Like Sinclair was on a deadline so it needed to be wrapped up, rather than thought out and finished. It's not technically a cliffhanger - it does end - but it feels like one because so many questions just don't get answered.

I love Sinclairs writing, although I do prefer the Dark Haven Series, and I will read more of her work as she publishes. I just hope that future books will be more dedicated to the main characters and that she will be able to finish the storylines because they finish - not force an ending to meet a deadline.