Author: Alexis Hall
Narrator: John Hartley, Paul Berton
Cover Artist: Simoné
Story Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Narration Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Overall Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
Release Date: 04/17/2016
Length: 13 hours 00 minutes
Genre: BDSM, Contemporary, Gay Romance
Laurence Dalziel is worn down and washed up, and for him, the BDSM scene is all played out. Six years on from his last relationship, he’s pushing forty and tired of going through the motions of submission.
Then he meets Toby Finch. Nineteen years old. Fearless, fierce, and vulnerable. Everything Laurie can’t remember being.
Toby doesn’t know who he wants to be or what he wants to do. But he knows, with all the certainty of youth, that he wants Laurie. He wants him on his knees. He wants to make him hurt, he wants to make him beg, he wants to make him fall in love.
The problem is, while Laurie will surrender his body, he won’t surrender his heart. Because Toby is too young, too intense, too easy to hurt. And what they have—no matter how right it feels—can’t last. It can’t mean anything.
It can’t be real.
I had been waiting to read For Real for a while. When I saw it in audio, I had to finally get down to it. I regret not reading it earlier. Although the audio was excellent, I could have met Toby and Laurie so much sooner!
I loved just about everything about this book: the age gap (though not normally my favourite thing), the BDSM and power games, the characters, and the sex. I adored that Toby was the dom – unsure, short, skinny, acne ridden teenager that he was – it is something rarely seen but it worked so well. Out of the “bedroom” Laurie seemed more in charge – stronger, more capable, more mature – but his submission to Toby was beautiful and I never questioned whether these characters belonged in their roles. Their dissimilarities fit together so perfectly. They had such depth and nuance as characters, I could imagine them well.
Though I don’t regret spending time with these two, it did seem like it took a long time to reach the end. There is a lot of sex in the book, though none of it felt wasted. Each encounter had us learning something about the pair. It just added to the bulk of this long book.
However, the writing was superb! I melted at the phrasing and the weaving of this book. Alexis Hall has a way with words.
I highly recommend For Real, especially for BDSM lovers who want to see the dynamics shook up. It was a joy to read.
I liked the way this book was divided between two narrators to delineate the different character’s POV. I would have liked it if they alternated the voices in the same chapter so that Toby always sounded like Toby and Laurie always sounded like Laurie rather than the strict chapter flopping, but could see how this may have been easier to do. It was a great experience and I thought the American narrator did a good job of the English accent.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the audiobook of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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