Reviewed by Sarina
TITLE: The Ultimate Submission
AUTHOR: Zev de Valera
PUBLISHER: Self Published
LENGTH: 272 pages
RELEASE DATE: June 4, 2013
The Ultimate Submission is an erotic journey of discovery. As Diego makes the tumultuous transition from youthful innocence to introspective maturity, he will question his definitions of sin and righteousness. He will plumb the depths of sexual expression and learn to define for himself at what point fantasy ends and depravity begins; and he will ultimately discover the healing power of love.
Above all, Diego will come to understand that the truth does not always set you free.
This…was a really difficult book to get into for an almost alarming amount of reasons. Since I’ve enjoyed two previous books by this author, I totally went trolling for more and the blurb for this one caught my eye almost immediately. I honestly thought, based on what I’d read in the description, that I had a good understanding of what this book would entail but I have to admit that I was totally and completely wrong. While that can be a good thing, in this instance it wasn’t so much a good thing for me because while I’m obviously no stranger to books with a myriad of sexual situations in them, I was in no way prepared for the sheer amount of potential triggers that this book presented. With that in mind, and with all seriousness, please take a good long look at the trigger warnings I’m about to list because its kind of a doozy.
Content Warning: dubious consent, non-consensual situations, incest, underage, suicide, religion, abuse
Yes, I added religion as a content warning because, due to the nature of the situations in this book, the interactions with certain members of the clergy and the setting could be a problem for some readers.
I have never read a book with so many trigger warnings and even with them not being personal triggers, this book was hard to get through. Told through journal entries written by the main character, the book is a journey through his first realizations about his own sexual identity and experiences all the way up until he’s more settled in his own skin and has faced his demons head on. Needless to say, not all experiences were pleasant but all added together to make Diego the man he grew into. The first portion of the book is really a myriad of sexual situations one right after another which, besides featuring those all important trigger warnings, also provided me with a number of examples of things that just flat out made me go ‘ick’. Hygiene. Hygiene is really, really important. Just saying. If you can stick through the first half or so of the book things do get a little more complicated and what looks like more of a plot develops. Like, hey! There’s more than sex in this book! Family drama and murder and yes, more sex, oh my! Needless to say, I liked the last half of the book much more than the first but it still wasn’t the easiest read. (The ending and getting to see a character get what he really deserved were my favorite part.) I can’t remember the last time I had to put a book down so much and just go do something, anything, else before I was decompressed enough to continue, however.
While I try and stay away from previously written reviews in order to keep myself judgment free, in this instance it would’ve been a good idea to have had a gander before I had decided to give this one a try. There are obviously quite a few people who thoroughly enjoyed this book, and totally good for them, but I really wasn’t one of them. I waivered on the rating for quite a bit with this one, as well, but stuck with my current choice because I did kind of see what the author was trying to do with the story and I did finish the book happier with it than when I had started. With that in mind, however, if you aren’t interested/prepared to read a darker story with a lot of potential triggers or if you don’t enjoy books where religion and its various themes are a stronger presence than expected, I’d take a pass on this one and go read something unashamedly fluffy.