Sweet Surrender is the first book in Maya Banks Sweet series. It's a series of D/s (Domination/submission) romance novels. This review is not going to contain anything overtly sexual but if you do find female submission or D/s relationships offensive this is your warning to click the back button.
Gray is on a mission to find the man who killed his partner, instead he finds Faith. Faith is supposed to be the key to finding his partners murderer but she becomes much more than that to him. Gray wants a woman who will be submissive to him, Faith wants a man who will dominate her in and out of the bedroom but both fear that the other is just playing games. When Faith finds out that Gray's using her to find his partner's killer will she ever believe that he really loves her?
I rarely buy new books, I always shop in charity shops or use book swap websites but I've never managed to find a second hand copy of a Maya Banks book that doesn't cost as much as the new books. Her books aren't cheap, I got this book at the discounted price of £6.48 but I've enjoyed Maya Banks' books so much in the past that I thought it was worth paying for. I have to say though that if it wasn't for the fact that I sold the book for £5 I would feel like I had wasted my money.
I felt that at times this book was a bit boring. This is supposed to be an erotic romance novel, the crime plot should be there just to push the romance along. I found that the crime plot took up a lot of the book and I found it boring. I just wanted to focus on Faith and Gray and their relationship but had to get through pages of Gray being detective and I just didn't care. From the beginning you know who the murderer is so it's not like you're wondering who did it. I felt that Banks struck a very strange balance in this book, instead of weaving the two elements of the book together they seemed to be separate and I didn't think that either element complimented the other.
At times the romance was really gripping but then Banks would move on and I would lose interest again. She really failed to maintain her hold over the reader and that was a big part of the problem with this book. I would get really into it, lose interest, put the book down and then have to get into it again. You know how with some books it takes a couple of chapters to get into the book? With this book it felt like I was starting one of those books every time I picked it up.
The main attraction of this book for me was the D/s element of the relationship. Gray and Faith's idea of D/s is a lot different to my own, which is fine, I read and enjoy a lot of romance novels that have relationships that I would never want for myself. What I did have a problem with was how judgemental they were of other people. At times they showed disdain for anyone in a D/s relationship that isn't like their own and I just thought this was unnecessary. I thought that the portrayal of D/s relationships was very simplistic and Banks fails to explore the complexities of this kind of relationship.
The sex scenes were enjoyable enough but for a BDSM book the kink was minimal. A bit of light bondage, a threesome and some spanking is pretty much as kinky as it gets. A bit disappointing in this kind of book but I read it for the relationship more than the eroticism. Banks makes a big deal out of the fact that Gray dominates Faith in all aspects of her life, not just in the bedroom which is all well and good but I would have liked for Gray to be more dominant when they were having sex.
The characters were likeable enough. There was some character development with each character having a fairly extensive history but lacking much in the way of distinguishable personality traits.
Overall a disappointing read. There were parts of this book that were very enjoyable but Banks failed to hold my attention for long periods of time and the lack of kink was disappointing. I thought that she failed to strike a good balance between the murder plot and the romance. After devouring the last Maya Banks book in one night this just didn't live up to expectations.