Review of “Remastering Jerna” by Ann Somerville

As I begin typing this I have to say that I closed the cover on this book less than five minutes ago. What a bittersweet moment! “Remastering Jerna” is riveting from beginning to end. Even the most difficult passages were written so expertly as to keep me reading. And I don’t call them difficult for some minor heartache – there is rape and torture during the prison scenes that chilled my blood.

Tears came to my eyes once, for certain, so I can’t say it’s a lighthearted beach read. If you can tolerate pages of angst to read about realistically trusting dominance and submission, though, please don’t hesitate to pick up this novel. Erotic power exchange has never been better represented, in my opinion.

As the book wastes no time in gloriously presenting, Jerna’s journey feels so authentic that I could almost imagine him being someone possible to meet in real life. His flaws are believable and forgivable, making him someone I would like to know. Granted, that’s often the case with even books I find mediocre because characterization is my number one passion for reading. This gem, however, offers much more than good characters.

The book moves at a good clip, taking us through a few years of the man’s life. I never felt cheated as Ann Somerville manages to encapsulate months of time by taking a microscope to deeply emotional events. Then she slows things down for the most pivotal plot points with a graceful alteration that never left me feeling disoriented.

Before I tout what is perhaps the greatest treasure of “Remastering Jerna”, though, I have to add more about the population of Jerna’s world. I am really pleased and impressed to say that at no point did I confuse any of the people, even with their fanciful names. That’s saying something when Ms. Somerville includes such an extensive cast. And our hero! I dare anyone to tell me they can’t empathize with Jerna’s periods of pain and hopelessness. And just when you feel utter despair descending, a surprise twist dangles hope in Jerna’s path.

Short of spoiling the book, I have to say that this ending is one of the best I’ve read in a long time. Unlike many authors, Ms. Somerville doesn’t cheat with a smug happily-ever-after or even happy-for-now. She addresses every thread of import in the book and wraps them into a beautiful and satisfying bow. Thank you, Ann Somerville, for sharing your talent with the world.

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