Wednesday, 23 August 2017

The Light Between the Shadows

The Light Between the Shadows

by Tsukiko Spark

2 out of 5

Ben Brattler lives the good life at the top of the world!Ben Brattler, 29, is a handsome athlete who regularly practices Aikido (Japanese martial art). He lives the good life: lavish parties, fancy restaurants, and a dream job in his father's advertising company. The world is his oyster; nobody can resist him. Beautiful women fall at his feet, and he switches them and his personal assistants constantly.

But somebody close to him has had enough of his wild behavior...Just when Ben is scrambling to finish a work project so he can leave for a lengthy vacation, someone close to him decides to make a profound change in his behavior using a dubious, non-conventional therapeutic process. Ben wakes up in a strange place with his mind foggy, hands bound behind his back, legs cuffed, eyes blind-folded, and wearing only his Aikido pants.

Who could have done this to him?Ben goes crazy trying to figure out how he could have ended up this way. Who did this? His good friend, Fred, who wants him to learn to start making better choices? His father finally trying to discipline him? His mythical ex-girlfriend, Tina, who wants to rekindle their relationship? Somebody more sinister with ulterior motives?

Ben has it all, the women, the money, the lifestyle. His life is made up by one media spotlight, followed by another. He treats it all like shit. Now someone is about to set him straight.

I downloaded a free copy, when it was on offer a few weeks ago.
From the cover and the description, I thought it might be a thriller, with a bit of bondage thrown in.
Instead, it's more of a contemporary, soul-searching experience, with a mild mystery threaded through.

Ben is a dick.
He is a spoilt, bratty man-child with anger issues. He bullies and mercilessly destroys people, for absolutely no reason. He in completely unlikable, with no redeeming features.
But that's the point - he has to be this bad to deserve this "treatment".
And you know what, Spark does an amazing job creating this character who is charming and confident, and belittles everyone in the same heartbeat.

There's the feeling of a countdown. You know from the first page, that Ben ends up kidnapped, you just don't know when, or by whom.

Once he's taken by... let's say his Supervisor, about a quarter of the way in, the book changes tone.
The Supervisor is not there to hurt him, their purpose is to watch over Ben while he goes through his "treatment". They reward when he's good; and punish when he breaks their rules.
The tone is very neutral, it's not in the least sadistic, and although you know this extreme treatment is wrong, you trust that the Supervisor and co won't hurt Ben.

I found the story to be quite repetitive. 
Same old conversation: work, women, work, women.
Followed by same old routine: food, care, grouch, punish, food, care, grouch, punish.
The treatment is quite effective, which left no room (literally) for negotiation, escape, or anything other than inner reflection.

The writing wasn't to my taste. I found the narration was all a bit flat (with the exception of the colourful Ben), and there was a lot of head-hopping, even within the same sentence.

Goodreads link
Amazon UK

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