After reading Counterpunch I decided to try reading Rachel Haimowitz’s take on the modern world with ingrained slavery. Short version: I prefer all things British.Long version:Make no mistake, this is an erotic BDSM novel, and not a romance. For a moment I thought about giving this book an extra star for not romanticising the Master and slave dynamics but then I stopped to think about all the other things I found disturbing and decided not to.Counterpunch worked, for me, because Brooklyn had been born free. He grew up making his own choices and knowing who he was. He only lost that privilege due to an unfortunate sequence of events. Brooklyn was and is an unyielding character who’s never resigned himself to slavery. Here, Daniel has presumably been born into slavery. He may not have been groomed to be a sexual companion to anyone willing to pay for his services, but he’s been beaten and schooled to obey his Master. Daniel doesn’t know what freedom is. He doesn’t have any idea what the concept of consent means. He’s not capable of willingly submitting to his master.What’s worse, Haimowitz writes Daniel as an overgrown child. All the aspects of his life have been carefully controlled and Daniel never experienced the joys of child’s play or eating until he’s too full to eat anymore. The only thing he does know and take pleasure in—supposedly—is his work. The tasks and chores given to him to be performed like any trained monkey. I used the word supposedly because the reader never actually sees Daniel enjoying his job or taking solace in it. The closest he comes to using the news as a crutch is reading his Master’s morning paper. And when he most needs the comfort, Daniel chooses to watch an unnamed anime instead of his precious information broadcasts. Where Brooklyn would brace himself and face the forced assignations, Daniel seems to have grown up in a cocoon where proper sex didn’t really exist. I could maybe buy Daniel’s virginal inexperience hadn’t the author contradicted herself: We’re supposed to believe a pair of slaves wouldn’t have a five minutes for themselves while trusted slaves are left to roam free in the weekends. Also, I refuse to believe Daniel could be good at his job and have spent years reporting from the field without stumbling on people who actually enjoy sex. Then there’s the fact that for an erotica this book isn’t very erotic. The first half is spent on explaining how inexperienced Daniel is and highlighting his unease with his uncaring and thoughtless new Master whose name I’ve forgotten. Said Master spends night after night sleeping in the same bed with Daniel without demanding anything from him. We’re supposed to believe he’s caring and kind because he doesn’t force himself on Daniel, that he’s a good Master who just never bothers to make the rules clear to his new slave. If the Master truly were such a good Master, surely he’d know what he wants from a slave and how to make his will known with words and without scaring the new toy. Finally, when the sex happens it’s rape. No, it’s not the Master who leased Daniel, but it’s brutal, detailed, and it’s treated like a kink that offers the reader the sexual gratification they’ve been looking for in this book. It’s the pinnacle of the story. Then there’s the rushed magic cock cure for all and a very unsatisfying end to the whole thing.