Moonlit Surrender is a novel by Kitty Wilder.
Finished on: 1.1.2021
[I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewer contest.]
Content Note: dubious consent
Lucy is trying very hard to balance her work life with the night classes she attends at community college and to still find time for her boyfriend. But when a mixed up classroom leads her to Professor Johnathan Wright, everything changes. Not only does Lucy find herself drawn inexorably to Johnathan, and vice versa, but Johnathan isn’t just a simple professor at a community college. He’s a vampire and his world is dangerous indeed for a human like Lucy. But the supernatural is only a part of the world that Johnathan opens for Lucy. The other part is sexual power exchange and submission.
Moonlit Surrender is a quick, engaging read with an interesting main couple that lost itself a little for me in the second half. It suffers a little from “not like the other girls” syndrome, and adds a daddy kink in the second half that I wouldn’t have needed. But I read it in pretty much a day and I did enjoy it overall.
Moonlit Surrender divides itself into two parts for me: the first part is Lucy’s introduction to Johnathan and his world, and in the second part, Lucy gets caught up in vampire power politics. I did enjoy the first part mostly, but the second part fell a little flat for me – it felt more dreary than anything else. Since I felst so differently about both parts, I will talk about them separately here as well.
But first something that irked me in the entire book: The book has some serious internalized misogyny issues here, with Lucy being the coolest girl around because she is nothing like all the other women on the world. She is a goth. That framing, paired with the fact that the book has three women in total, one barely making an appearance, one the pathetic counterpoint to Lucy’s coolness and Lucy herself, really got on my nerves.
Now to the first part: My biggest issue here is that it doesn’t start chronologically. Instead we get thrust (pun intended) into the story with the first time Johnathan and Lucy have sex, and only after that do we learn how they met and what is actually going on. I think I would have preferred a chronological unfolding here. Especially because I felt that they didn’t talk enough about the kinky parts before actually doing them.
The second thing that didn’t work for me in the first half was the way Lucy’s relationship with her boyfriend played out. He is a misogynistic ass who is just waiting for Lucy to have his children and become a wifey. But the way it is portrayed here it seems that the bigger issue is that he isn’t into BDSM and his reluctance to choke Lucy – a request she springs on him – is painted as a weakness of his, as him not being a “real man”. And just NO.
But other than that I had fun in the first half and enjoyed reading about Lucy and Johnathan got together.
The second part was another thing. Lucy gets abducted and her abductor is into her but doesn’t want to acknowledge it and Lucy uses her sexuality to get some power in their relationship. And while I’m not here to say some kind of puritanical “she debases herself” shit, I’m less than enthusiastic about Lucy’s desperate attempts as a kind of empowering strategy – especially since the consent is absolutely dubious here with her being held fucking captive.
Apart from that, the second half was just a little too long and a little too repetitive, and Johnathan’s “you go, girl” reaction to Lucy wooing her captor felt a little disingenious to me, given the whole dubious consent situation. To top it all off, their relationship here takes a turn into daddy kink territory and that just really isn’t my thing.
Now, I have written a whole lot of complaints about the book, but I have to repeat that I did enjoy it. Really! I read it in a day and that is something I very rarely do. The writing style is nice and easy, and despite the lengths of the second half, the book has enough momentum to carry you along. I may not be prepared to read an entire series about Lucy and Johnathan, but I did enjoy reading about them for the duration of this book.
Summarizing: I have definitely read worse.