Based just on the blurb, Delphine Dryden’s The Seduction Hypothesis, should be right up my alley.
A bunch of nerds are headed to a convention by way of a road trip and there is geekery and costumes galore and…it just did not work for me.
I’ve been trying to think about why it didn’t work for me and I think it comes down to the fact that I simply did not buy into these characters. They just…didn’t feel real. I can often suspend my disbelief when it comes to the physical perfection of romance novel characters but I just couldn’t do it here–I know too many people who go to conventions and very, very, very few of them are the perfect physical specimens described in this book.
And this is not to buy into the fake geek fallacy–obviously, all kinds of people can be geeks. That goes without saying. But there are six in the group that goes to this con and the four that the narrative interacts directly with are Hottie McHottersons. It seems a bit unlikely, especially since other convention attendees were described in ways that made it clear that not everyone there was a Hottie McHotterson and the snideness about an unfortunate costume on a “hefty” man really rubbed me the wrong way.
But anyways, on to the specifics of the book. Lindsay and Ben had been dating but broke up, somewhat messily a few months before BeastCon–which they’d committed to roadtripping to with a few of their friends. Ben though Lindsay had a crush on their friend Ivan, newly partnered with Cami.
Lindsay doesn’t actually have a crush on Ivan. What she has a crush on, if it can be called a crush, is the relationship dynamic between Ivan and Cami. It’s something she wants for herself and when she tried talking about her needs with Ben, he basically blew her off. Lindsay, see, is interested in exploring BDSM and when she broached the subject by way of a comic she enjoyed she was subjected to a lecture about feminism and how that stuff is degrading, etc. (Not to get too personal, but I had a very similar experience with my former fiancé nearly two decades ago and that part really rang true to me.)
Once they get to the convention, Lindsay ends up working in the booth for the comic–as Sub Red, a submissive character who wears next to nothing and the pieces start to fall into place for Ben–and after some missteps and a hilarious trip to a very pink sex toy shop, they get their freak on and things seem to be working out. Right up to the point where Lindsay decides that Ben isn’t serious and breaks things off with him, much to Ben’s chagrin. He then–of course–has to prove to her that he is serious.
This is a very, very brief synopsis of the book–the BDSM parts were clearly well-researched and felt authentic to me (although there was a bit about “official” positions and a reference to John Norman that just made my face go all squinchy) and I did like the way the characters used their words–which is important for all kinds of relationships.
I think, ultimately, that it all comes down to voice–the book was more than competently written, the characters were interesting and did, despite all being Hottie McHottersons, seem realistic but I just couldn’t buy into it. There was something missing from this book for me and I think that if the voice had been more compelling, I would have been more willing to suspend my disbelief than I was.