The Word Master
** POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT **
From the opening line, Luke sets the scene for what promises to be a powerfully written story. Immediately, strong characterisation is achieved and certainly you feel the strength of the male point of view and in that, the strength of Jericho James’ character.
Story and character details are rich and plentiful, engaging the reader immediately. Luke’s storytelling embodies the cardinal rule of writing: “show, don’t tell”—you can feel the mood of the scene, you can envisage the physical appearance of the characters, and you can hear the dulcet smooth tones of Jericho James.
Luke’s storytelling voice is strong and commanding, yet comforting at the same time. It’s that very feeling you get when pulling on an favourite jacket to feel it’s enveloping comfort and warmth.
The story itself is peppered with touches of Australia that I found very endearing—the accent, the colloquialisms, references to great Aussie musicians, and what was a very entertaining reference to Vegemite. Luke’s humour also showed through in that jovial, not-taking-myself-too-seriously Aussie way which is entertaining and palatable.
The content of The Word Master centres firmly around the BDSM lifestyle, a topic that has certainly endured much discussion of late. The premise of a mid-dawn radio program that centres around the discussion of sexuality is an interesting concept and one that offered a great amount of context for the discussion of BDSM. That discussions surrounding the semantics of the BDSM lifestyle are being had is one thing, the disclosure of tangible and accurate advice is quite another and what Luke provides in The Word Master is an adulterated male perspective on the questions that many women and men have. Luke reiterates the ‘safe, sane, consensual’ mantra that defines safe BDSM practices but further to that also offers insight into the safety mechanisms (both physical and emotional) that are required for safe play. I believe that though fiction, this story may serve as empowering for women within the lifestyle. Additionally, Luke’s portrayal of the BDSM scene goes some way in dispelling some misconceptions about the lifestyle which will hopefully serve as a positive outcome.
Luke sets up and defines the D/s dynamic well, and indeed with two separate characters inside the story (though I will mention only one was an actual relationship). I couldn’t help but feel that his arrangement with April was an invested arrangement (Jericho was very certainly falling for her from the outset) and the other with Nancy, though defined as an agreed upon arrangement, was one that was of convenience or perhaps one that he wasn’t entirely invested nor interested in.
The dynamic of each relationship was considerably different; so much so that it brought up a couple of concerns for me in terms of Jericho’s behaviour as a Dominant. Notably in his relationship with Nancy there was no determining of limits (hers or his), no agreement on safewords (hers or his despite Jericho’s initial hesitance about their compatibility), and perhaps most disappointingly no after-care. In a story so heavily steeped toward the ‘safe, sane, consensual’ aspects of BDSM relationships I feel that these points should have been addressed even if only fleetingly. By contrast, his D/s relationship with April (though different in its structure) was respectful and intimate without so much as a physical sexual move being made between them. Therein lies the complexity of BDSM relationships.
My final thoughts on finishing the novel were:
– Can we find out more about Jericho and April – I loved the dynamic of their relationship, and
– Perhaps Luke should turn his hand to non-fiction and pen a guide for men (perhaps even couples) looking to make the transition into a BDSM relationship. Certainly Luke brings to the table a significant wealth of information about the semantics of the lifestyle, but additionally he has a firm understanding of the emotional requirements and complexities of the lifestyle.
– J’aimee Brooker, AusRomToday
BECOME AN AUSROMTODAY VIP MEMBER—MEMBERSHIP IS FREE: