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Strict Machine

Strict Machine - Justus Roux 2.5 stars

This is my first foray into the Masters series, and let me say, I didn't realize this was book 25 in the series until I came to post my review. I would highly recommend reading earlier books in the series. There were so many people (there were 11+ people in Darius' household alone) and past situations referenced in this book that I didn't understand or know about, which made this difficult to read (hence why I'm not giving it 2 stars). This is not a book you can really read as a standalone.

Another thing I disliked about this book was the characters. All of Darius' submissives came off as total jerks. Salome went through so much and then to have to deal with those jerks on top of it? Not cool. Not cool at all. As for Darius, I never really warmed up to him either. I didn't really like him that much until the end of the book. I'd go back and forth between wanting to punch him and grudgingly respecting/putting up with him. There is a bit of hope for him to improve at the end of the book, so keeping my fingers crossed there. And Salome, I didn't really connect with her, though I liked her.

And one thing that really confused me was all the relationships. I'm used to reading books where at most you have a Dom and 1-3 subs. This book went totally out of that (Darius started with 8 submissives at the beginning of the book) and their relationships confused me. Drake's household in particular really confused me, as there were several Masters and Mistresses that apparently weren't truly Dom/mes but were "over-glorified submissives" according to Darius. Basically, the whole thing was extremely confusing. And the petty jealousies between subs were extremely off-putting and upsetting. Most of them totally overreacted, especially in the beginning, and I ended up disliking pretty much all of Darius' original subs. Heck, it discouraged me a bit from wanting to try the lifestyle. I ended up skipping through parts of the book to avoid the parts that bugged me so much, which happened quite a lot.

All in all, I was really confused by most of this story, though I imagine some of that could be answered by reading earlier books in the series. I wasn't a big fan of this book, but I'll definitely check out the others in the series in order to clarify some things and answer questions for me. I might come and edit this review if the earlier books provide more insight for me and change my appreciation of this book.