Books are curious things. Done badly, you hate the book, and yourself for reading it. Done well, you genuinely invest time and emotion in reading it and are taken for a ride you could take in no other format.
Last night I finished reading “Dangerous” by Sandra Kishi Glenn.
Dangerous is not done badly.
Dangerous is not done well.
Dangerous is done FANTASTICALLY.
I’ve owned this book for a matter of days; I’ve already finished it. That never happens. It’s NEVER happened. From beginning to end, while I may not share Koishi’s environment or circumstances, I identify with her. She feels the same way I feel: kind of caught in the monotony of life, yet not truly suited for such monotony. She’s a graphic artist, and I’m a heavy sketcher and writing hobbyist. We’re both artists. Both of us wish things were more interesting. Sandra Kishi Glenn has managed to create two amazing main characters, Koishi is immediately lovable, and Val begins as sort of a mysterious badass that you’re unsure of how to feel about.
As the story unfolded, I felt alongside Koishi. Every moment of confusion, humiliation, pain, hatred, and ultimately affection and love resonated deeply with me. Koishi’s a nice girl, and Val is a cruel keeper that frankly doesn’t deserve the love of such a nice girl; yet she has it. And as Koi explains why she loves this seemingly unlovable woman, I began to feel for Val the same way. And that is the mastery of this book; it transcends simple erotica. Any idiot with a libido can write porn, but miss Glenn has put to paper a story about an impossible dark and painful romance that is far more relevant to my life than any other I’ve read. Curiosity gives way to lust, and lust gives way to love.
Val as a character is astonishingly well written; she’ll do something amazing and I’ll go “wow! She’s badass!”, and then she’ll do something horrible to Koishi, something painful, degrading and humiliating and then I HATE Val. I want to see her suffer for wounding Koi the way she so routinely does. And then the moment happens. There are a bunch of little ones and one really big one, but all of them end with me loving Val the very same way Koishi does, just a little bit more each time. It became easier to forgive her as the novel goes on, but like Val does so often in the novel, the novel then jabs me in the heart, making me hate her all the more intensely, only to then see far more of what makes her tick after without ever unraveling any of the mystery around her life, and I love her again.
The novel makes you understand Val’s character without ever having to explain a single detail. As a writing hobbyist myself, I have always wanted to nail such a concept, and thanks to this book, I can see what the result will be when I finally get it right.
Ultimately, now that the book is over, I miss Val. I miss her crazy abuses on my person tempered by strange and genuine affection immediately after. I miss her way of talking and moving. I miss the woman as if I’d been dumped with no explanation.
Koi isn’t the only doll Val owns; I’m her doll too.
Like Koishi, I want Val back in my life at any cost. I want to see where Val will take Koishi and myself next. I want the next book, and I hope it happens soon!
Sandra, I adore your book, so keep writing!