Book Reviews

Blindside by Stella Harris at Storm Moon Press

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Dubious Consent / Erotic Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 13-July-2013

Book Blurb

Freshman Matt is tired of enduring the hazing by (admittedly gorgeous) upperclassman Dylan, but annoying as it is, it's basically harmless. When Dylan ups the ante significantly, though, Matt's mind is left reeling from the implication. But as much as Matt wants Dylan, he can't be sure the whole thing isn't just one more bizarre prank.



NOTE: This story was previously pubilshed in the Like It Or Not anthology.


Book Review

Although this story is labeled dubious consent, I didn't find that to be entirely accurate. I did think it was playing at the edges of it, sort of flirting with it, but never really went there. Why did I think so? If you look at it from Dylan's point of view, you could argue that he didn't have "enough consent" (I will explain later what I mean). However, the story is told from the point of view of Matt, the one "being convinced", and there are two key sentences way before the actual final twist of what happened to Matt and Dylan that were very important hints to me.

One: "Matt had no other choice—at least, no other choice he was willing to make." This says something about Matt's willingness to go along, and the one problem I see there is that he did not verbally consent. That is the part which I find iffy – Dylan's lack of verbal permission. To be perfectly clear, Matt did not protest in any way either, so Dylan's only "mistake" was that he "assumed consent".

Two: "He hated that part of him wanted to obey Dylan's every order." Matt does want to go with what Dylan tells him to do, but he is in denial (something that becomes clear in other places as well). So, in a sense, this experience enables Matt to experience a side of him (being with another man) that he would not have easily allowed himself to explore without that "small push" from Dylan.

What I found fascinating is that, while Matt really doesn't know himself that well and, quite honestly, came across as a little naïve at times, Dylan has some of the same issues. He expresses them differently, and reacts by overcompensating and giving orders rather than asking, but I never got the feeling he forced Matt into anything. Pushed very hard – yes. Probably not ideal? Agreed. But given Matt's personality and reluctance, and Dylan's lack of communication skills, I believe Dylan had very little choice.

The interpretation of whether the situation as presented in 'Blindside' is dubious consent or not may differ widely, and this is only my personal point of view, based on what I saw. If you like stories that make you question accepted boundaries, if you enjoy reading about flawed men whose flaws complement each other, and if you're looking for a read that might make you slightly uncomfortable but makes you think and question some accepted truths at the same time, you should give this one a try.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Short Story, 24 pages/9800 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 23-June-2013
Buy Link