*This week, Around the World in 80 Books is traveling from outer space to the underground world of kink and BDSM. See what I did there?*
If you’re new to Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners novels, you have to read The Red Years before you read The White Years. Start with The Siren and go from there.
That about sums up what this series has done to me. It’s been that way since picking up The Gift and meeting future dominatrix Nora Sutherlin, then still Eleanor, and Father Marcus Stearns – Søren to his friends. No other BDSM erotica will do. I want to be Nora and to kneel at Søren’s feet. Kingsley, however, never really pinged on my radar. Not until The Prince, book 3 of The Red Years, did we get more than a few–very hot and sexy– glimpses of him that weren’t from Nora’s perspective.
The King (Harlequin, November 2014) is book 2 of The White Years, book 6 overall, and gives the spotlight to Kingsley Edge, New York City’s king of kink. I love him. Adore. Want to play with him. Almost, but not quite as much as our favorite big, blond, sadistic priest. *I say that in my head, but in reality, I’d probably run away screaming.*
As with The Saint, we are into prequel territory. The book opens with present-day Kingsley visiting Grace, whom we first meet in The Siren, for reasons that I will not spoil for you. He tells her the story of how the king built his underground kingdom, what in the Red Years is New York’s premiere kink club, The 8th Circle.
“Vive le roi.”
What I love about The White Years so far is how Tiffany fleshes out these characters that have only been in our periphery for four books. Though I consider Kingsley a third of the “Unholy Trinity,” he’s always taken a backseat to Nora and Søren. In The King, we discover that behind the debauchery and aloofness is an actual man, who twenty years ago was on a suicide mission, having lost everyone he loves either to death or the call of the priesthood. He’s also plagued by nightmares and panic attacks stemming from his time in the French Foreign Legion. We get to meet the Original Sam, who’s been mentioned in The Red Years, and learn what role she played in building The 8th Circle. A few other familiar names make appearances, including a young, fiesty Eleanor.
Not until the idea of the club comes to him and, of course, his reconnecting with Søren do we see the Kingsley readers know start to emerge. In between battles with Reverend Fuller and his corrupt fundamentalist church, we get really great laugh out loud moments. I read this over Thanksgiving, at times surrounded by family. Not awkward at all…This is so far the funniest of the Original Sinners books, much of it coming from the Kingsley/Søren bromance. I might’ve enjoyed their platonic relationship more than their sexual one. Not really, but it was still funny and touching. The “baptism” in particular stands out.
And it wouldn’t be an Original Sinners novel without the hottest, kinkiest, grab-your-lover-and-work-out-some-tension-right-now-sex. Sex in these novels always serves a purpose, whether Kingsley is playing Russian Roulette with STDs or submitting to one kind of pain to heal another.
“He’s not a man of God. I know a man of god, and that man of God makes me think God might be on our side.”
What may be surprising to new readers is the inclusion of religion as a theme in these books. I once said and still believe that I’ve learned more about being a good Christian from these books than from going to church. Reisz does it without getting preachy or condescending, but the contrasts between Søren and Reverend Fuller will still be obvious.
I love this book as I’ve loved all the Sinners books and give it 5 stars. The Saint, however is still my favorite. I’m even more excited now for The Virgin and The Queen. Though this level of kink may not be for everyone, try it anyway. If you don’t like it, maybe you’re just vanilla, but that’s totally okay.