fiction, review

Bared to You

Indonesian edition’s cover

The book industry is currently being peppered with erotic romances. Not that the genre has never existed before, but I always have a feeling that we are now overwhelmed by it. I’m not into it, and I don’t know anything about it. But the hoopla brought me to trying to read one of its products, Bared to You by Sylvia Day. First published in 2012, it tries to bring up BDSM theme, which is so highly favored these days like you wouldn’t believe. Only it fails in some ways, leaving the reader wondering if it is truly what it claims to be.

The story is about Eva Tramell, who has just moved to New York and got a new job. In her workplace, she meets the handsome, sexy, dark and dangerous Gideon Cross. The man happens to be the owner of the building in question, unabling her to run for cover after he blatantly declares his fervent desire to get her into his bed. But lust at the first sight happens, as always in any kind of romance, and Eva cannot deny the fact that Gideon’s handsome and sexy figure haunts her everywhere she goes. Gideon keeps chasing after her and approaching her in any way possible to get what he wants, while Eva keeps running and resisting Gideon’s strong sex appeal. But she terribly fails to do that, so they agree to have sex with no strings attached, without any bond tying them. Problem: Gideon loses control, and he never loses his control. That goes to show that there’s something more in their relationship, even though it is so subtle that not any one of them realize it. However, slowly they start to feel bound to each other, and it’s just about time. But they’re so afraid of taking a further step, looking at what happens in their pasts and the trauma they both have to bear.

Eva Tramell is the embodiment of a pretty, sexy, strong career woman of today’s America. Her quick temper and jealous nature make her look a little bit childish, and her insecurity is unmistakable. It’s so normal, I think, to have such quality since most women have the same problem, be it in reality or in common romance novels. I will not say that her character is so usual, neither will I say that she’s so different from other romance heroines I’ve encountered in love stories so far. I can only tell that her character is very much annoying, making the reader feel not even one iota of sympathy for her. Her childish manner and upsetting jealousy are so unbearable. And I really wonder why many romance writers I know like to couple a woman like Eva to a man as stubborn as she is like Gideon Cross. And his character is even more common than I think Eva’s is. A handsome, sexy, gorgeous, intelligent billionaire, Gideon reminds me of any “romance man” I know of, at least so far. Therefore, I don’t think I will be talking about him further. What becomes my interest here in Bared to You is the character of Cary Taylor instead, Eva’s bisexual friend. Not only that he is a bisexual, but also he is a very troubled, damaged person. I like how he is described unable to decide what he really wants, confusing one thing with another, and plunging himself into an uncertainty of sexual taste. Taylor is definitely an interesting, quite memorable character.

Saying that all romances, and its sub-genres, are just the same would be too cruel, for I myself haven’t read enough romances to say so. But, to be honest, I don’t think Bared to You has offered anything new, nor been distinctively different. The plot, the characters, the love story, the whole narrative are all so typical. The fact that it’s bringing up BDSM issue doesn’t help any as well. Reading it only gave me a feeling that I read a romance, a typical one, that’s it. However, putting that feeling aside, I have to admit that Bared to You has a few good qualities: an intricately difficult relationship between the main characters, heartwrenchingly troubled pasts, and a superb style of storytelling. I can say that I enjoyed the book, not in a way I usually did other romance books, but in an unexplained, emotional way. I was drawn into it, unable to get out until I finished and closed the book. This is a new, strange experience to me. I’ve never felt quite like this before when reading a romance. It must have been Day’s smashing style of writing, or something about it. What so unfortunate is that Bared to You implies a very unacceptable idea: when you have a problem with your significant other, turn to sex. Making any comment on this would be very ridiculous because it’s a romance, an erotic romance, but I can’t help thinking that it’s a very narrow-minded notion, as if sex can solve everything, not only our unruly sexual hormone.

In conclusion, Bared to You is nothing but a romance book with many typical aspects, yet inevitably gripping. I have nothing more to say.

Rating: 3/5

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