Review of Torn: A Dark BDSM Romance Novel (Shattered Lives Book 1) by Lexie Syrah

torn2

Author: Lexie Syrah

Genre: Dark Erotica, Romance

Purchase link: http://amzn.to/2kgAcCc

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Blurb: “That’s what love is, isn’t it? It’s when you go to sleep every night hoping that you are less happy than your lover; it’s hoping that you’ve given everything you could to them so that their day could be just a tiny bit better.”

I was so innocent then. So naïve. I thought that I’d been hardened by my time living on the streets, but I’d had no idea how broken I could become. My story is a hard one, full of hope, grief, love, and anger, but it’s a story that needs to be told.


I was only 20 when I first met Mr. Sheffield. He saved me. He gave me a chance. Until I met him, I’d been living on scraps of food from dumpsters and wearing the same filthy clothes that I’d worn when I failed out of college. I was the animal that passed by unseen by the people of the world.

But Mr. Sheffield saw me. He was a handsome older gentleman, but that wasn’t what was important at the time. Out of the goodness of his heart, he gave me a job cooking and cleaning for him. To you, it may seem like a menial task below your station, but to me it was a chance at a life worth living.

Little did he know, I couldn’t cook or clean. Again, he showed his good nature by teaching me, as a father teaches a daughter, with strict punishments and just rewards. He could have forced me from his home like another worthless piece of garbage, but he gave me chance after chance, and in the process, he showed me a world that I’d never dreamed of.

If you’re looking for a story that will warm your heart and make you see the good in the world, look elsewhere. This is about the darkness that lies behind the mask that we all wear. Other stories may bring you romance and candles, but this is a story with claws and teeth. It is raw. It is passion. It is real.

Review: Whenever I think of dark erotica the first associations coming to mind are those of blackmail, coercion, ugly, abusive relationships that drive the characters and readers to the point of madness and toxic feelings presented as love story. In the first volume of her series Shattered Lives Lexie Syrah puts her characters through emotional whirlwind and just as the title of the series promises it leaves us shattered. However it also presents a truly gut wrenching, heart breaking love story, complicated adult relationships and flawed people instead of cardboard cliches. The darkness mingles with the beauty and light, the despair flirts with hope and the story is carved on a much more solid foundation than the traditional “naive young woman gets introduced to kink” drivel.

Reading Torn was a very similar experience to watching the film Shame a few years ago. It felt deeply personal, it made me feel heated, excited, it caused me to sense every emotion going through the mind of both the hero and heroine, it touched many well covered sore spots and nearly made me cry. It also made me ache for more. I wasn’t ready to leave the world of Shattered Lives at the last page.

Maggie, the young homeless girl, was never prepared for the world that quickly lured her innocence with temptation and pleasure, which lead to her downfall. Mr. Sheffield, the older wealthy benefactor, never expected to find diamond in the rough when he extended a hand to help her out of the dark hole of despair she was living in.

I loved both these characters, for their faults, imperfections and all the mistakes their made on the road that eventually drove them apart. While Maggie was inexperienced in the dream like world that Mr. Sheffield leads her into she wasn’t just a blank space Mary Sue meant to “save” the leading man. She had her own history, personality and set of issues. Maggie could see beyond the surface and was pretty reflective, a direct consequence of her life on the streets. But she was overwhelmed by doubts and fears that often dominated her common sense and caused her to act irrational. Mr. Sheffield was a pretty compelling man as well. He was kind, caring and protective as well as raw and primal in his most basic needs. I could clearly see why everyone he encountered was so drawn to him and how easily he could get what he needed. I really loved that the author didn’t follow the usual tropes such as “someone broke my heart so I became hardcore Dom who doesn’t love” or “my ex-wife was a frigid, vanilla bitch”. Still, Mr. Sheffield was so used to hiding his true self that it turned into a second nature for him. He couldn’t be fully open even with Maggie, which is quite ironic. I saw him as someone who has been seeking for understanding all his life. And when he finally found it the fear turned out to be stronger.

The erotic scenes in Maggie’s sexual education were exceptional, from the first spanking on. What could easily become the ugly non con story in which the man with too much power exploits and abuses the girl with no options turned out the start of a journey to self discovery for both of them. There was no sugar coating of the pain and roughness involved, the sex was as realistic as it gets and all the time that I was going further in the story I felt like I was actually in Maggie’s place, her emotions were so easy to identify with.

The sex is getting kinkier as the story progresses however don’t fool yourself. The darkness from the title has nothing to do with the BDSM, the different sexual practices or the pain shared between Maggie and Mr. Sheffield. It comes entirely from within those lost souls, their own fears that eventually break the communication. By the end of the book I really felt like they weren’t talking but just covering themselves behind violent outbursts. The intimacy proved to be too much and the fear and escape way too tempting. My heart really hurt for both of them and till the last page I wished they’d get over their emotional inhibitions. But sometimes love is not enough.

The writing was stellar and made me experience every aspect of the world Lexie Syrah created – from the dirt and grime on the street to the hypnotic ambiance of the Elysium club. I can’t think of anything that would make the story better. Perhaps it would be good if we could see more of Mr. Sheffield’s point of view through the course of the story but that would have killed some of the suspense of his true motivations. It was good we could catch a glimpse of his mind that was not put through Maggie’s perspective.

I recommend that small jewel of a book to anyone who is not afraid of looking at the dark recesses of their mind and hearts. It is emotionally wrenching read but I can promise it would be worth it and you’d be left begging for more of that dark magic. I’d even go as far as to say that some day Torn and its sequels may find its place with the classic erotic literature.

I can’t wait for the second book.

Buy Torn today on Amazon!

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