The Dark Duet series ~ a look at the books that have divided readers across Goodreads.
C. J. Roberts created two books, Captive in the Dark and Seduced in the Dark. Two books that worked together and then due to fan pressure, a third book, an Epilogue was added to the series. What is interesting is that the Goodreads community has been split up over the content of these books.
Let’s see what you think…
***Warning – this post contains adult material that may be offensive to some people and is definitely not suitable for children and perhaps some slight spoilers***
Right off the bat, the stalking and subsequent kidnapping of a young American woman (Livvie aged 18) is really the first thing you see, it’s how we’re introduced to Caleb and Livvie. Instantly, we’re shown the dynamic, how we are to perceive the characters. Caleb is the stalker and top, Livvie the shy, reserved girl who will be abused.
And abused she is.
She’s physically, mentally and emotionally abused. We’re talking things as simple as being restrained, to being made to kneel at Caleb’s feet and eat food from his fingers, to being belted with his belt, to being restrained from the four poster bed in a position that became highly uncomfortable over the hours. She’s pretty much abused in most senses of the word, with the exception of being raped by Caleb. There is one scene that could technically be considered rape, but given she’s going to be sold into the sex slave market for the extremely rich men of the world, it’s important that she’s a virgin.
An incident occurs, there is anal penetration and it’s not all together that horrible for Livvie… but it is in a way. It’s kind of hard to explain, but Livvie does a good job of showing you the mental confusion she’s experiencing. She struggles with what her brain is telling her is wrong, should horrify her, but what is actually feeling good. I think C. J. Roberts did a brilliant job of portraying the mental anguish Livvie felt at not being sure she could trust her own thoughts and feelings in this situation.
So where does this leave the readers?
It seems the reading community that have read this trilogy are in two minds. These two minds seem to be at polar opposites, I shall outline them below:
Caleb fans are just that. Lovers of the character, jealous of Livvie’s experience of him and much more. It seems that they swoon and dote over him, try to psychoanalyse his behaviour and sweep the bad under the rug or explain it away. In this bucket too are those who enjoyed the mental fuckery of the book.
Hate is a strong word I know, but it seems that this book hits on some pretty testy nerves. It contains some serious trigger points for people and they don’t like reading about them. Some didn’t finish the book or books, others did just so they could say they had and still hated it/them. I think a lot of the hate for this series is because of the sheer taboo-ness of it. I don’t think it’s to do with the writing style (aside from earlier ebook readers) or the characterisation or any of that. 90% of the 1 star ratings are so because they felt that the book glorified rape and abuse of Livvie.
Out of the 53590 ratings on Captive in the Darkness on Goodreads and 885 on Amazon, the tide seems to be settling in favour of the 5 star ratings. The interesting thing is that those who love it – REALLY love it, those who hate it, REALLY hate it. There seems to be very few out of the total who are nonplussed about the books.
I loved this book. The taboo and the mental fuckery were completely overwhelming, C.J. Roberts seemed to grasp my brain and make it fight itself as I read the story.
Do I approve of rape and abuse to women? HELL NO!
Do I support murder and people trafficking? NOPE!
So why did I like it?
It made me challenge my thought processes, it made me question my assumptions and it wasn’t afraid to throw readers into the most taboo and shadowy situations. It evokes a strong reaction, either for or against and it’s encouraging conversation about those subjects. It brought to light the sinisterness of the situation, then made you realise that even those who do these horrible things are still human. They might be evil, they might be scum, or they could be only trying to survive themselves.
Do you think you’ll pick these books up and give them a try? Why or why not?