The Submissive by Tara Sue Me | Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5)
“You were the goddess I longed to worship. My unobtainable dream. The relationship I could never hope to have.”
You may recognize this little guy by its title or even by the authors name–especially if you once frequented FF.net anywhere from 2007-2009. That would be because; once upon a time, before Fifty Shades of Grey made its splash and earned itself some notoriety as a pop culture phenomenon, there was another immensely popular Twilight fanfiction by the name of The Submissive.
Although each have similar characteristics and plots, their stories are entirely different. I obviously prefer this one and always have. Don't let their similarities sway your judgement, however: they simply mirror one another given their conception–and that’s okay.
Like countless other readers, I adored it at the time of its original release. I waited patiently for updates and counted down the days until its next chapter. I was always itching to get my hands on more fanfiction and The Submissive snuck up on me one day while I scrolled through a friends favorites list. It was everything I could have asked for.
Its sexual content was only a plus for a then-teenaged (but still legal) me. Who could resist some smutty goodness, am I right? I’m totally right.
I was, however, a little nervous to be reading something so far out of my comfort zone–as I was only eighteen, the relationships between a Dom and Sub were completely foreign to me; but the tone of The Submissive captivated me from the start and was overall fun to read. And so, so easy to devour.
I was absolutely devestated one day when I went to look for it online and found it missing.
But I was also thrilled to see it be published.
Tara Sue Me is the queen of smut so when I heard she had published the story as its own novel and made changes to it here and there: I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.
Nostalgia and excitement hit me head on and I knew that I needed to (re)read it as soon as possible! I remembered so much of it so vividly and couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.
I was nervous that its original spark would be missing and that the characters would have changed beyond my recognition, or that my interest in it would be different now that so many years have passed since its time on FF, but I was thrilled to see it unfold in this new format and was delighted to find that in spite of its changes, it was still the same story I’d read and loved all those years ago.
My only complaint was that it felt to be lacking an overall connection and plot. There were a lot of moments in which the characters lacked development and things seemed to be rushed in terms of connecting with Nathaniel’s family. See, it was very easy to love it in its original form as a fanfiction and to overlook its flaws and pace, but something felt to be missing this time around as its own story.
This isn’t me saying it was an awful release, because it isn’t–I loved it! It just felt a bit shaky this time around. Although one thing is for certain: it’s a solid erotic novel, amongst the best in its genre and Tara Sue Me turns up the heat so often that I found myself dizzy.
So obviously it was still as steamy as I remembered. Readers will be pleased to know that a great deal of what was in it originally made the cut, including the moment in which Abigail and Nathaniel get snowed in and Abigail flips the script on the two and takes on the role of the Dominant.
Abigail and Nathaniel are solid characters as well, in spite of their lacking moments. I liked that Nathaniel was what a Dominant should be–controlling and caring. When he offered to buy Abigail a car, she told him no and emphasized that taking it would make her feel like a whore.
He respected this completely and never brought up the subject again. Nathaniel genuinely cares about Abigail’s well being and respects her so completely in these moments that he would never do anything to her to bring her out of her comfort zone and into a harmful state of mind.
Unlike other romantic leads in novels as such, Nathaniel West is sympathetic and flawed; true, but he only does the occasional fuck-up moment near the end.
Which shows that he is human and thankfully he is not past redemption.
I thought their backstory–his role in something to do with her mother before she passed; his kindness and their mutual and unknown interest in each other was a solid spine to it all. I wouldn’t mind knowing more about it, but at least it was incorporated into their relationship and who they are nicely.
I didn’t quite feel attached to the side characters nor did I feel the connections were, you know, realistic. I thought it was a bit rushed how easily Abby and her best friend, Felicia, were brought into this circle of family and friends. But I didn’t hate it, I just thought it felt very awkward.
I could have really gotten into the pairing of Felicia and Jackson if it hadn’t been so oddly rushed. Maybe all that was missing was us seeing–truly seeing–the connection and feeling that blast of love as the two connected. I just felt like it was awfully silly; wam, bam, I’m single. You’re single. Let’s date… okay, time for marriage.
Since they were only side characters, I’m willing to brush over my eye rolling because overall The Submissive–Abigail and Nathaniel’s story and romance is a dishy, fun ride in spite of its flaws. I really do enjoy them together and think that their chemistry is off the charts.
What’s funny is I remembered it all so clearly (the riding crop, the Superbowl, the snow day), this scene in which she switches her role as the Submissive and takes over Nathaniel’s part of the Dominant. It is still as fun and sexy as I remember it; the moment she finds his secret stash of chocolates and her plan forms suddenly. Abigail was playing with fire during her moments of scolding and it was so, so fun to see it unfold all over again!
I’ve never, in all the years that have passed, forgotten the moment in which she says that she is a Goddess and that he must worship her. Fuck! I’m getting a bit flustered just remembering it.
YOU GO, GIRL!
Of course, in all the goodness there are moments that will nearly break your heart. Can they work it out? Or is this relationship doomed from the start?
If you’re looking for something fun and sexy to read, something not at all serious, then The Submissive is for you. It’s not the next great romance of our time, but it’s still something easy and light to devour. Revisiting this story was like welcoming back the comfort of an old friend that I didn't realize I missed so much.