Sunday, 10 November 2013

[REVIEW] The Last Rebellion by Lisa Henry

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Recommended for: Mindfunk and Twisted-love aficionados and Stockholm fans too.
Read from November 06 to 09, 2013 — I own a copy

4 Stars for the Chocolatey Goodness. I want to lick it all off Miller tho.

I still think they should go for Sensory Deprivation it is more effective and elegant than all that mighty ass-plowing. They were trying so hard to break the prisoner's back-door plumbing. Mayhap it's the theme and genre of this book as well as its premise that prompted such acts to be included. I just thought the back-door torture scenes was a little over enthusiastic. Note that I am only referring to the quantity. There are afterall, many ways to break a prisoner than sexual torture. Like Miller says... "The isolation was enough to make most men desperate to talk. Otherwise, there was starvation or torture or rape. There was water. There was electricity. There was, in every man, a desperate crawling need to say anything to just make it stop."

My take on the Characters:
The tortured prisoner-of-war MC, Rho Smith is as stubborn as a mule, prideful and suffering a one-track-mind mentality with an overly bravado attitude. Rho's bravado is only a shield of his choosing to sustain himself throughout his tortured captivity. He sees it as his only defense. Nevertheless a shield based only on anger alone isn't the best defense especially when it was countered by a sociopath interrogator with a demented set of logic like John Miller, best known as The-Silhouette-Man.

Miller was drawn to Rho's case when he received reports on an unbreakable prisoner of eighty-four days captivity which is an unprecedented record. He was fascinated with Rho's resilient spirit and was obsessed with unraveling it by all means possible, for his own personal gain.

This is Miller's brand of interrogation technique:
“Every time they fuck you,” the man says after a while, “I will be here.
Sometimes you will see me, sometimes you will not. I may talk to you. I may stay silent.
But you will feel me, Rho. Even when I don’t touch you, you will feel me.”

Rho needs a different approach than most men.
Most men, Miller would reward for answering, but he is reluctant to do that with Rho.
He is unsure how much is instinct and how much is the sheer fascination of seeing that body twist in pain.

Regardless, it was a kindness.

This way, Rho is allowed to hold onto his anger, the source of all his strength, for just a little longer.

Miller will take it when he’s ready, but not until he’s decided what he can replace it with.

Miller certainly has a warped sense of kindness. He is wayyy more fascinating than Rho. Rho is much easier to define and he is quite a flat-character and we only get to see another side of him towards the end of the story. Miller on the other hand is a multi-faceted character. At least, I had fun trying to define and identify his motives. Sometimes Miller is very much like a young child fascinated with a peculiar bug, enjoying experimenting with it; pulling its legs off one by one watching it struggle piteously to get back up again.

In essence, Miller is a sociopath. He is charismatic, manipulative, domineering, self-serving, self-justifying and lack of true remorse or guilt. Empathy really isn't his forte. I am seriously doubting what he did for Rho was actually love without recompense.

I had to say, this Miller guy is so much better than that Toreth guy in The Administration by Manna Francis as an interrogator. Although he might not be as cunning and intuitive as Warrick.

I failed to see how Miller would even find Rho to be fascinating when he is plainly predictable and nondescript. His bravado can be a little tiresome at times too. It feels like Rho isn't the main lead in this story as he is more of a supporting character. I guess Miller's strong presence and eccentricity overshadowed even Rho's hardship.

Frankly, Miller is the one holding my attention throughout the book. Rho is just a broken man waiting to be dispatched for good since he had only one goal ever since his incarceration; he prayed for eternal oblivion as he could no longer see any way out from his current hell on earth. Hence, there isn't much to look forward to when a character has already given up. He isn't cowing to his oppressor but he has effectively chosen death from the very beginning. That's why he would feel this way at the ending:
Rho never saw it coming. - as he clearly didn't expect to live on and find someone who knows him well enough to be able to provide him with a sense of security he craves for. Someone he could let go completely and submit to without losing his pride. He is after-all a submissive who yearns to be dominated although it is a fact unbeknown to even he himself. He never did understand as to why he would submit to Miller his tormentor.

Moments that made me go Ooh, Aah and Yeowch!:

- Swooning much from the above passage alone.
“Stubborn.” Miller puts a hand around Rho’s throat and presses his
thumb into his windpipe. Gentle at first, and then with increasing pressure.
Slowly cutting off his air...

- Woah, asphyxiation edgeplay.
He’s turned again, shoved against the wall again, and flinches as the man rips the zipper up. He stands there, panting, so fucking relieved that his dick didn’t get caught in the zip.
- This actually made my heart skips a beat. I know I don't have those dangling bits but I just can't help cringing at this paragraph. O.o Weird that this little scene here is affecting me more than those rapes. *perplexed*

Wrapping up:
There is much gray areas in this controversial pair's relationship which I think is a good thing for us readers as it serves to intrigue us, making us want to read on just to find out more. To me, this is what a good engaging book should do. Makes life more interesting than black and white.

I truly enjoy Miller's way of taming Rho. Drawing forth his submissiveness slowly, silently, albeit surely. Here, I am only referring to the mindfucking part, not the excessive despoilment utilized to break him as that serves no purpose other than to humiliate him and in my opinion would only further fuel his stubbornness. Such a method is counterproductive for a man like Rho. I am impressed by Miller's use of...
...the foreshawdowing method to distract Rho's focus on his anger.

“Is that what you meant?” he asks as he stands in its shade. “You put the tree in my head, back in that place, not to remember, but to—to foreshadow?”

I am actually quite conflicted on the rating part as I don't care for first half of the book much. It's the last half that did it for me. I was going to go with either 3 to 3.5 stars initially. What raised the bar for me was the eroticism in the last quarter of the book heating up the pages. It was delicious. I appreciate it very much that I had to declare a 4 stars rating cos of it.

This book would suit those who loves twisted-love and psychological games; the bending of one's mind to the will of another. Would Stockholm be a better word for it? Read it and decide for yourself.


Title: The Last Rebellion
Author: Lisa Henry
Publication Date: September 1st, 2013
Type: Short Story (approximately 18,922 words) - FREE READ
Genre: M/M, Gay, Romance, Contemporary, Abuse, Torture, Dominance-Submission, Dubcon, Noncon, Hardcore
Tags/Keywords: anthologies_n_short-stories, bondage_use-of-restrains, captured-kidnapped, contemporary, dark-fics-or-story, dmc, dominance-submission, dubcon_noncon, dysfunctional-relationships, freebies, gay_mm, in-library, maledom, mindfuck_mind-games, not-for-faint-heart, twisted-love, romance, sadism-masochism, violence, young-man_youth, abuse, abusive-violent-partner, alpha-dominant-male, alternate-universe, anal-sex, author-female, bittersweet, brave-tough-protagonist, captive-captivity-confinement, forced-seduction, genitalia-torture, hand-job, hea_happily-ever-after, humiliation-or-degradation, injury_bodily-harm, manipulative-character, military-themed, multiple-partners_threesomes-n-more, oral-sex, pain-pleasure, physical-torture, prisoner, psychological-fiction, rape, rape-with-inanimate-object, rebelious-protagonist, reluctant-forced, rescue-damsel-in-distress, resentful-indignant-irate, restricted-freedom, rough-sex, scorching-hot, sensual_erotic, sense-of-hopelessness-despair, sexual-torture, slow-burn-romance, soldier, stockholm-syndrome, stubborn-character, submissive-protagonist, thoughts-provoking, traumatic-traumatized, tyrant-dominant-male, unwilling-slave-pet-sub-partner, voyeurism

Rho is a prisoner of war. Miller is the man who intends to break him.

Warnings: contains scenes of violence, torture, and non-consensual m/m sex.

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