Review: The Flesh Cartel #6: Brotherhood by Rachel Haimowitz, Heidi Belleau

The Flesh Cartel #6: Brotherhood (The Flesh Cartel #6)

  • By Rachel Haimowitz, Heidi Belleau
  • Editions: ebook
  • Published: April 1st 2013 by Riptide Publishing
  • Genre: MxM Slavery / Violence {Extreme}
  • Source: review copy
  • In the season finale of The Flesh Cartel: Fragmentation, Nikolai sets into motion his plan to break the bonds of brotherhood between Dougie and Mat. Time and again, Mat and Dougie have proven they’ll do anything to stay together, anything to spare the other misery or pain. To sever that thread, Nikolai plots a strategy more cruel and clever than he’s ever employed before. And to pull it all off, he enlists the help of a willing accomplice: Mat.
    You see, Mat and Nikolai have come to an understanding. Or rather, Nikolai has come to understand what makes Mat tick. How to wind him up. How to make him stop. And how very much he’s willing to sacrifice for his brother’s happiness.
    But Mat is still a loose cannon, and there’s no telling how Nikolai’s plan will unfold. One thing’s for certain though: Nikolai never fails, and with Mat’s cooperation or without it, Dougie will be his.

    This title is part of the The Flesh Cartel, Season 2: Fragmentation serial.
    Word count:24,400

    ~ Goodreads

  • Bomy’s Flutter: a VERY hardcore read, I don’t advise trying it out if you’re not of a VERY solid constitution

  • Maybe it was the state of mind when reading it, it certainly was the masterful horror of the content and psychological shenanigans Nikolai is up to in this episode, but I’m seriously and soundly warning you: this installment of the series is a mindfuck waiting to happen. You’ll say, yeah, but wasn’t the whole series such a stellar study in the filth of human nature? And I will tell you, you’ve yet to touch the bottom of how deep this thing goes. Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau take this right into the core of the abyss for me with this installment. It’s horrifying and a masterpiece. Those 24,4k words pack a hell of a punch.
    So I’m not pumping interest or making it a forbidden fruit or whatever, I’m telling you if you’re not very sure of your ability to stomach un-stomach-able things, think very well before reading this.

    To make things clear, this is a 5 butterflies rating, and in my opinion Rachel Haimowitz and Heidi Belleau are geniuses for managing to pull off many firsts for me with this part of the story. On some of my bad days I can be quite a misanthrope, and I rarely get truly shocked at anything anymore. Well, excluding real love or real kindness, I guess. I probably walk a thin line between schadenfreude and sadism on my bad days, and I can easily roll with a lot of violence if it’s given the right spin. What that ‘right spin’ is depends for each of us, and this was the first time I’ve read anything on the hardcore level of things and truly felt absolutely nothing had that right spin for me. Not even the seriously masterful mindfuck Nikolai proves to be able to give. And I often find some right spin elements on these themes, so this is my first. I didn’t like what it did to me as I read it, the state of mind it took me into or the feelings it engaged, but it did a hell of job doing all that.

    Another first is that for the first time, probably ever since I was a kid, I don’t like the villain – Nikolai. I’d actually be very tempted to do things to him, if you catch my drift. Not nice ones, either. And we have another first, because getting my violent side to wake up is a very freaking hard job. This read managed it. I was practically raging as I read it, like fists shaking and gut seriously and soundly roiling. No, those are not figures of speech. This is how formidably filthy and brilliant this installment was.

    Now, if you’ve been reading this series, or parts of it so far, you know this is a very in your face and brutally honest study on the slavery theme. This goes far, far beyond some non-con or dub-con (of which I’ve read plenty, might I add) and it stands out as one of those things that are so freaking horrifying that they’re genius. I’m not saying they’re equals, but for me reading this part was comparable to watching Antichrist by Lars von Trier. If you watched that, you’ll know what I mean. I was mindfucked for a couple days after watching that movie, and I think I’ll be mindfucked for a couple days after reading this.

    The question at this point is, do I want to go on. After watching Anthichrist, to keep the comparison going, I wanted to watch Melancholia. I’d never say I liked Antichrist, it was a very strong experience I’m glad I had but that I would never want to have again. I enjoyed Melancholia, but it’s on another vibe. A way other vibe. Anyway, do I want to keep up with what happens next? I’d probably say no right now, because the mindfuck is still way too fresh. Let’s wait until the dust settles and the horror subsides. The next one comes out in June. Chances are I’ll lose this state of mind I’ve got going by then and will probably get curious about it. I’m not sure at this point though.

    I’d never, ever, in my life try watching Antichrist again. I can watch a lot of gore without flinching (though I can get disgusted and deal easily), I loved a lot of movies other people thought were very hard on the mind, but Antichrist struck that last frontier cord in me that’s a hell no. I’m having a very close reaction about Brotherhood right now, and we’ll just have to see how it evolves.

    The writing in this series is very strong, unapologetic, brutal and chillingly honest. There’s a lot of violence, a lot of abuse, a lot manipulation. There’s a lot of everything, especially on the dark side of human nature. It’s an absolute in many areas. While the playful element was stronger in some parts, the dark and brutal in others, I think in this one the dark shines. This is freaking pitch black. If you like the very dark, dare to get lost in the utter darkness of Brotherhood.


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