When modest, repressed Kari goes to Club Shadowlands with a date in order to take beginners' BDSM classes, she is excited for what she could discover about herself. The date doesn't really go as plans and Kari finds herself under private instruction from Master Dan. Master Dan hasn't been the same since his wife died. He still frequents Club Shadowlands, but he doesn't ever take on a sub for more than one night. He's frustratingly attracted to Kari, but is determined not to get involved. His fellow Doms, however, have other plans.
I enjoyed Dark Citadel
more than I enjoyed the first book, Club Shadowlands
. The writing felt more comfortable and natural, as though Sinclair found her stride easier in this one. I still had a problem with the use of the word 'womb', but aside from that there isn't really much that I have to say that's negative.
The premise of Kari going to the club for lessons was a lot less cliche than the car crash and storm of the first book, especially as it meant that Kari definitely
had an interest in the lifestyle. I also liked how Buck, the boyfriend who brought Kari there in the first place, was important throughout the entire plot and not just used as a way to get Kari into the club. If he's just disappeared after that first scene I would have felt rather cheated.
Once again, the novella switched between both Kari and Master Dan's point of view. This is something I loved in the first book, and I still love it in this one. It's nice to see what both characters are thinking, and the view changes are clear and not confusing. An interesting thing about them is that the view changes overlap slightly, so the last few moments of a view point are repeated from the other character's point of view. This knits the scenes together nicely, and helps ease the transition into another character's head.
The thing I loved the most about this book was the characters. :) Kari has a strong character, and, in my opinion, she is even more likeable than Jessica was. She is quite a repressed character, so Master Dan has to work hard in order to break down some natural boundaries, mainly due to going to a Catholic school and having a father who could lecture for hours on purity without mentioning the word 'sex'. I really liked how honest she was, especially her courage to tell Dan off when he got out of line. Much respect for her for that.
I liked Master Dan much more than I liked Master Z. He seemed much more intense and powerful (though Z certainly didn't lack those qualities). Master Dan shut himself off any time it was suggested he might find more than just a night of pleasure with Kari, but this hot-cold routine actually felt believable with him (unlike with Christian in Fifty Shades of Grey). For me, he had a strong reason to react the way he did, and it made my heart twist every single time. Also, this was resolved plausibly at the end of the novel - he didn't suddenly have a dramatic personality change or anything, so kudos for that, Cherise Sinclair! :)
On a similar note, I liked Master Z in this book more than I liked him in his own book. Not sure why - maybe because I loved how he looks out for and protects everyone (even Master Dan).
Buck was quite an interesting character, even though he didn't appear very much. He didn't seem like an awful guy, and I actually felt rather sorry for him by the end of the book. Not enough that I thought he deserved to be with Kari, but enough for a little bit of sympathy, at least!
The sex - what can I say about the sex? Cherise Sinclair certainly knows how to write a good sex scene. The sex scenes are neither too flowery nor too crude, but they're steamy, kinky and, well, damn, that Master Dan. *flutters* So yes, no worries on the sex front in this one! :)
At one point, Dark Citadel
actually made me cry. As in, I actually had to put my kindle down and find some tissues. For those who care why, it was when Master Dan really upset Kari and punished her by making her touch herself after she snapped at him. My heart hurt for Kari and the futile feelings she had for him
. I don't think there's really a higher recommendation for a book than being able to say that it tugged at your emotions enough and you engaged enough with the characters to be able to share their pain. Just wow.
One of my favourite bits was the Capture Gardens. The basic idea of the Capture Gardens is subs getting loosed in the gardens for their Doms to catch, with little matching glow-bracelets to identify each other in the dark (and to make it harder to hide...). Sexy and exciting at the same time. Seriously. :D
In conclusion, I really loved this book. I wish it was a lot longer than it was! If you've read Club Shadowlands
and enjoyed it, (or even found it kind of meh) give this one a try. You won't regret it! Mmm, Master Dan... <3