All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Silver Chain – Primula Bond

on July 7, 2013

Silver ChainThe Silver Chain (The Unbreakable Trilogy #1)
Primula Bond
AVON/Harper Collins UK
2013, 400p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Photographer Serena Folkes is new to London and she wants to make it big. She’s putting together a portfolio to take around to the galleries and on Halloween, she’s lurking around doing a little night photography. She meets Gustav Levi and they exchange some banter and a drink before Serena has to go and meet her cousin for a party. She realises that she’s left her cameras behind in Gustav’s possession and contacts him about getting them back.

Gustav has taken upon himself to look through some of Serena’s shots and he likes what he sees – he also owns a gallery and he wants to offer Serena a deal. To benefit both of them professionally, he will show her photos in his gallery and he also wants her to become his exclusive companion, bound by a signed contract. He wants to explore the attraction both of them experienced upon meeting and perhaps a few other wild desires as well. After Serena agrees and signs the contract, Gustav presents her with a silver bracelet to which he can attach a silver chain. When the silver chain is attached, Gustav owns her and she is his to do with what he pleases.

It becomes clear to Serena that Gustav has demons. Although their relationship is increasing in intensity and Serena now wants nothing more than to remain with him permanently despite the time limit on their contract, she is plagued by thoughts that Gustav might still be devoted elsewhere. She wants to help him break the chains she still believes hold him but she could sacrifice her own happiness in her attempt.

This isn’t an easy review to write because I’m not sure I’ve ever had to bluntly state something like this before. Honestly, this is one of the worst books I’ve ever read since I started blogging, possibly ever. It’s marketed for 50 Shades of Grey and Crossfire fans but it’s a long, long way behind either of those. I was invited to review it on NetGalley (as was I think, everyone that has an account) and I did it mostly out of curiosity, to see where these “inspired by” or “for fans of” books were at. And the mark is depressingly low.

There’s no story here. There are gaping holes everywhere in the plot and the most important thing in an erotic romance, a sizzling connection between two people that is often inexplicable, is no where to be seen. To be honest, Gustav is weird. He lacks a lot of the compelling charm that some of the other erotic romance heroes have and instead comes off as awkward, wooden and at times, creepy. The scene in which he finds Serena dressed up in his ex-wife’s BDSM gear is extremely distasteful to read and even though Serena claims to “want” what happens, it reads as almost rape, but more like he’s raping the vision of his ex-wife, who apparently forced him to participate in things. I don’t know, the whole thing is quite frankly extremely messed up. He shows a real lack of feeling towards Serena, taking her to his house in Switzerland near the church where he married his ex-wife, allowing her to find all his ex-wife’s possessions and other things. He asks her to go to this house to ‘fix him’ but then abandons her to arrive there alone. His help/chauffeur just leaves her there, locked out of the house to await Gustav’s arrival. After Gustav arrives and the whole visit is entirely disturbing,  he leaves her, chained up in the house and goes to Italy for the day.

I have to admit, I also didn’t get the silver chain. The whole idea seems random – he clips a chain onto her bracelet at the public showing of her photography and no one seems to really notice. He clips the chain on at other random times but it really adds absolutely nothing to the story whatsoever. It might as well not even be there. It just seemed like a way to have Gustav pretend to exert some sort of control but really he doesn’t actually do anything. The sexual scenes are also very odd – it takes a very long time for them to even have penetrative sex and it’s the weird forced scene I referenced earlier. None of the scenes are very erotic and for a book that looks to be marketed to be similar to 50 Shades et al, it’s not exactly littered with sex scenes. Now think about those books what you may (for the record I enjoy the Crossfire series but I wasn’t a huge 50 Shades fan) but they have sold a huge amount, millions and millions of copies. It’s hard to expect books to stand up to those two and I really think there’s a danger of setting a book up to fail, quite frankly. Because this book lacks a lot of what people would’ve loved about those two other series’, namely that sizzling chemistry that compels two people one or both of whom are damaged, to be together and that deep down, they love each other for better or worse. I don’t get any of that with these two. I don’t know why Serena comes to believe that she loves him, she knows very little about him because he doesn’t tell her anything. And Gustav treats Serena with disdain a lot of the time, worse than you would an unwelcome rodent. And Serena’s tragic backstory is so painting-by-numbers that I can’t even really care. There’s no attempt made to understand why she was treated the way she was, it makes no sense. Nothing in this novel makes any sense.

Honestly? This is what writing-for-the-market feels like. Trying to craft a book in the image of successful ones to appeal to those fans in order to be successful themselves. And it’s not very fun to read.

2/10

*Note: The last page was the most interesting of the whole book, the only time where I felt emotion come through the pages and where I thought the author had successfully planted the earlier seeds for a moment such as this for a big reveal. That one page was more interesting to me than the rest of the book, so 1 of my marks out of 10 is for that page alone.

Book #166 of 2013

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6 responses to “The Silver Chain – Primula Bond

  1. Have read rave reviews for this one. So interesting to read the opposite side of the coin. However you look at it, it does seem as though this was written to ride on the zeitgeist of Fifty and it’s many imitators and line extensions.

    Is that what readers want? Danger, danger, like any fashion, when its over, it’s drop-dead over.

    • I’ve read some rave reviews too… I know that reading is very subjective and everyone has a different response but I wonder what they see in this that I don’t? I always question myself when I don’t like a book many others do, wondering where exactly I went wrong that I didn’t “get it”! Maybe it satisfies a craving for more 50 Shades-esque stuff, I don’t know. I don’t have that craving so possibly that’s why this didn’t work for me so much.

  2. I have nothing but disdain for the 50 Shades of Grey series so I highly doubt this would be the sort of book I would enjoy. Jennifer Armintrout articulated better than I ever could precisely why I think those books are absolute trash, and even worse, dangerous in her “Jen Reads 50 Shades of Grey” series. As you mentioned, it sounds like this novel was written to capitalize on the inexplicable 50 Shades of Grey fervour. I had absolutely no intention of reading this particular story and am even less inclined to do so after reading your review.

    • Yeah, I really don’t think you’re going to miss anything! I read 50 Shades before it was picked up by Random House and although I thought it was okay in that there was a compelling chemistry between the 2 MC, it wasn’t explored satisfactorily enough for me WHY that was… a bit like Twilight. Unsurprising, given it was basically that story rewritten to include some ridiculously basic bondage.

  3. […] Review: The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty Review: Lick, by Kylie Scott Review: The Silver Chain, by Primula Bond Review: Seduction, by Kate Forster Review: Enshadowed, by Kelly […]

  4. […] Reviews of The Silver Chain: Basically Books | 1 Girl 2 many books | Madness and […]

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