By Rachel Haimowitz, Heidi Belleau Editions: ebook Published: March 4th 2013 by Riptide Publishing Genre: Adult MxM Contemporary / Slavery / Non-Con Source: review copy
In episode five of The Flesh Cartel, Nikolai is well on his way to undermining the bond between Mat and Dougie, but there’s still a long road ahead. Training slaves is a process full of setbacks, and with these two, the situation is more complex and precarious than usual.
Walking the line with Mat is especially challenging. Too severe a hand leaves him fearful, even broken, but too light a touch leaves him disobedient and full of fury. Dougie, on the other hand, wants desperately to end his suffering and loneliness and fear. But his unwillingness to disappoint his brother means he can’t bring himself to submit.
Controlling Mat with pain alone is futile, so Nikolai must take a defter route by decoding Mat’s deeper desires: why does he fight, and why does he want so badly to win? By contrast, Dougie may need a firmer touch than the pleasure and affection Nikolai has so far shown him. To convince Dougie of how much he stands to gain by giving all of himself to Nikolai, he must first teach him how much more he has left to lose.
This title is part of the The Flesh Cartel, Season 2: Fragmentation serial.
Bomy’s Flutter: interesting but less gripping then the previous ones
World Building: Everything is centered around Nikolai’s ‘home’, neither of the brothers leave their rooms. Main elements of the world remain violence and abuse.
Characters: This time I felt both Dougie and Mat evolved less then in previous installments. Their plights didn’t quite reach like they did last time. Perhaps because it felt like the inner conflict aspect for both of them didn’t escalate from the previous part, it felt like they both took a step back this time – returned to their previous inner conflicts. I thought things would escalate, but they didn’t.
Nikolai gained more substance, I think, since he reveals mare about himself through his training of them.
Plot: The nature of action turned more inward as the brothers react to Nikolai’s evil methods. The overall installment felt slower then previous ones because a lot of what happens is psychological.
Writing: As good as in previous parts of the story. This time it didn’t chill me as it had in the past, but it might be on account of me getting used to the world/nature of events already.
Curb Appeal: I’ll most likely keep reading this series, I’m hooked.
All in all, Wins and Losses was an interesting development but, for me, it didn’t pack the same punch as some of the previous parts of the story. I am very curious to find out what will happen next and what The End will be like for Dougie and Mat.