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Into the Closet: Cross-Dressing and the Gendered Body in Childrens Literature and Film (Children's Literature and Culture)
Victoria Flanagan
Club Mephisto (Club Mephisto #1) - Annabel Joseph This was my first foray into total power exchange (TPE), and I found the experience... intriguing.

Molly's master is going away for a week, so he arranges for one of his old friends to look after her for that time. Master Mephisto is, however, very different to Molly's master, and Molly will learn a lot about herself and her submission.

Well, what to say about this one? In hindsight, after reading the other two books in the series, I feel like I would have liked this book a lot more. As a standalone, however (and it can be read as a standalone), it wasn't amazing. I enjoyed it, but not as much as I liked its sequels.

This book was from Molly's point of view, and Molly's point of view was a strange place for me to be. I have no problem from reading books from the pov of a submissive, but Molly went beyond that. I can't really explain it, though I much preferred her under Mephisto's brand of domination to Clayton's. There was a bit more of a spark there, I think.

Actually, I think my main problem with this book was the Molly/Clayton relationship. It felt devoid of affection on Clayton's part, with Molly loving with all her heart and not getting much in return. Mephisto, on the other hand, is a very passionate (albeit slightly frightening) man, and he brought something out in Molly that Clayton didn't.

Which is why, when I read the story from Mephisto's point of view, I was glad to find out that Mephisto and Clayton set the whole thing up (in part) to find out if Molly was really happy in the relationship she was in.

I don't know, I felt like the Molly/Clayton relationship was set up in such a way that the reader would not be surprised if Molly/Mephisto ended up together in the end. Which they don't in this book. Because, you know, I couldn't like Clayton. Kudos for not having him being an abusive butt (as so often happens in erotica when one of the 'destined pair' is already in a relationship).

It was also hard to get a handle on the characters' personalities, seeing them, as we did, through Molly's eyes. Molly sees the masters, and not the real people. She also squishes her own personality away in a little box in her mind in order to be the perfect submissive, though we do see the occasional flash of it here and there.

In hindsight, this book is full of foreshadowing. And Clayton seriously needs a slap. It'd be quite interesting to reread it knowing what I know now. I know it's annoying when you have to read other books in a series to fully understand the first one, but, in this case, I'd recommend it.

Also, I cried a couple of times. Particularly towards the end. For some reason, I always cry when subs get in big trouble. It was quite carthartic, though.

This book is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. TPE relationships are intense and perhaps hard for someone outside of the lifestyle to truly sympathise with. It's not the Fifty Shades style of mild BDSM, that's for sure.

In conclusion, I did like this book when I first read it, but I like it a lot more with the benefit of the knowledge gained from the other books. Three stars is the rating I would give it as a standalone, however. If you can get past Molly's personality and her relationship with Clayton, this is an interesting insight into total power exchange (and Mephisto is a wonderful master *fans self*). If you got any sense out of my rambles up there, I salute you.