Reviewed by Chris
TITLE: Sex in C Major
AUTHOR: Matthew J. Metzger
PUBLISHER: JMS Publishing
LENGTH: 426 Pages
RELEASE DATE: May 27, 2017
Stefan has … fantasies.
He knows chasing those fantasies is only going to end in disaster, but he can’t seem to stop his self-destructive spiral. He’s a transgender man struggling to come to terms with the intersection of his identity and his sexual fantasies as a submissive. He needs someone to take control before he loses it completely.
Daz can take control. He can teach Stefan everything there is to know about sex and submission, but for some reason, he can’t get inside Stefan’s head. Daz can stop Stefan’s self-destruction but not the fear that fuels it.
Stefan needs to know who he is before he can accept what he is. And it’s Yannis — Daz’s aromantic, asexual, stern, and sarcastic partner — who has the answer.
**Review and Book contain mentions/depictions of rape-fantasies, depression/suicidal thoughts, as well as hard-core BDSM with a Master/slave relationship. Please be aware of this before continuing, and if you feel these might trigger you, it would be a good idea to avoid both this review and the book.**
Stef lost his whole family when he came out as trans. Now all he has is a crappy flat, a stolen cello, and a box of illegal testosterone shots because he can’t see doctors giving him–the mess that he is–the real deal. And while the shots work–sorta–they also have fucked up his sex drive enough that he is almost constantly in need of sex. Which might sound awesome, but it is not. Especially when the kind of sex Stef wants is likely to get him dumped in a dumpster for some poor trashman to find three days later. If the fantasies of being owned and treated like nothing more than a sex-toy are not the thing that does it, then the dude finding out that Stef is trans–and mostly untransitioned at that–will probably do the trick. But then a night of drinking–and ill-advised blurting of said fantasies–lead him to Daz. Who might just possibly be everything that Stef has ever wanted–if Stef can ever actually admit the truth to himself, let alone to a man he desperately wants to call Master.
Wow. I don’t even know how to review this book. It was one of the most entrancing, boundary pushing, crazy beautiful, yet dark things I’ve read in years. The content can get so extreme at times that if the author had been even an inch less careful in the construction of the characters that it would have been a colossal mess, and yet…dear gods, and yet there were moments where it felt like I forgot how to blink, let alone breathe. This is a long book, but it never felt like it. There was an ever present need to keep pushing further into this story and these characters.
And these characters…oh gods, these characters.
Stef is so heartbreaking. He is a mess. Watching him battle everything inside him, tore out my heart. Because I could get it, even if it was also something I could never want. That the author got me to a point where I could understand Stef’s need to be nothing more than an object to his Master, is amazing. There were so many points where this book would push at my boundaries (especially the scenes where Daz ordered Stef to service other men, and a scene at the end which was painful to read because it was so over my lines), but there was never a moment I considered skimming the page. I needed to read it, to feel it all, to be there with Stef, even if a part of me was going “nope, nope, shit no.”
There really is not way to downplay how dark this book gets. There is a tonne of rape-fantasy, total-power-exchange, stuff in this book. It gets graphic. It gets painful. But ever part of it is also so real, so visceral, that I couldn’t look away. And because Stef is trans, there are a lot of scenes that involve Daz using every part of Stef’s body. Which were actually the hardest parts of this book for me. But also the way it affected Stef, how he reacted and was forced to deal with it, made it worth the way my stomach would get all twisted up by it.
This book is all in Stef’s point of view, which I think was at times hard, but exactly the right choice. There are very few moments of release from the tension and angst building up inside him and us as we go. Except for those moments where Stef is a peace–which was brilliant because it made me so tied up in the story that at times I forgot that I was not actually the one going thru all this. I can not emphasize enough how brilliant this book was in making you part of the story, even for the parts that were near painful to read because of how visceral the emotions were in some of these scenes. The part in the middle where Stef has his breakdown had me in tears. Part of it might be because there is so much about the truthful nature of the mindfuck transgender people can go thru, that I personally relate to, but it was also just down to the amazing writing in this book.
Also, I think this book has some of the best written depictions of aromantic relationships that I have ever read. Which, granted has been like a grand total of two books in recent memory, but still. It is fucking awesome. This book is not a typical romance in so many ways, but the relationships here are as real as anything I have ever read. This story embraced fully what it was, reveled in it, and made me so absolutely enthralled that I kind of want to recommend it to everyone. Even if I know that the content is going to mean that some people should probably stay as far away as possible. There is just so much here that is so good. The representation of cultures, gender identities, and sexual (or asexual) characters is so fucking amazing. Like I was stunned how good it was. I knew Matthew J. Metzger could write. I’ve loved the books of his I have read so far. But this. This fucking book, man. I was blown away.
I’m giving this story like all the recommendations that I can, but with the proviso you know exactly what you getting into when you pick it up. I am damn serious about the content of this book when it comes to the Master/slave and rape-fantasy parts. They are a major aspect of this book, and not just a scene or two. If that is not something you are willing to read, do not pick up this book. Stef is also dealing with some pretty heavy depression, along with a couple scenes of self-harm, and you need to be aware of that as well. This is a dark story, filled with some pretty graphic sex scenes, but it is also probably the best written BDSM book I’ve ever read. Read at your own risk, but the reward is also quite worth it.