TITLE: AFTER GRADUATION
Pages: 640 approx.
Details: No. 2 Brie’s Submission
Own / Kindle
This book continues the story of Brie which was started in “Brie Learns the Art of Submission” and should not be read unless you have finished that book. If haven’t read that first book yet, the review below will spoil the experience for you.
I read the first “After Graduation” title, “BriePleases Her New Master” last May and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. But, as I said in my review of that novella, I’m not and probably never will be a fan of serial novels. I know they work for lots of readers but I prefer to read my stories from start to finish. And that’s the reason I made the difficult, but ultimately right for me, decision to continue buying the sequels but ignore them until the final episode was published.
Because I’m reading instalments 2 -8 as if they were one book (which they, together with part 1 will be in the not too distant future) I’ll review the story as a whole here, and will be referring to it as one book. Anybody following my blog will have noticed that I reviewed the first part of “After Graduation” some time ago. And if you haven’t seen it yet and are interested in a longer look at just that instalment you can click the link. Out of necessity the review of the whole book will have to be a bit less detailed than that one was.
“Brie Learns the Art of Submission” ends with Brie and her new Master – the man she couldn’t have, but got to accept her anyway – leaving the training center for their life together. “After Graduation” picks the story up immediately after that event and is every bit as exciting, sexy and action filled as the first book.
While Brie may have finished her training and ended it first of her class, it soon becomes clear to her and to the reader that she still has a lot to learn. Being in a full-time D/s relationship is something completely different from assuming the role during training and comes with its own challenges. The toughest lesson Brie has to learn is perhaps that she can’t keep things from her Master. The girl can’t help herself when she is faced with situations in which she thinks not disclosing information or investigating something will protect her Master from pain. It is always done with the best of intentions and always has the opposite effect; she ends up disappointing and hurting the one she was trying to protect in the first place.
But Brie’s master is a good man. He realises that she is still learning, he knows she never means to be deceitful or secretive and he realises that his own issues add a burden to the relationship that is completely out of Brie’s control. As they navigate their way through getting to know each other and learning to live together, the outside world is never far away.
Faelan can’t accept Brie’s choice and goes to extreme lengths trying to convince her to leave her chosen Master and submit to him, endangering the still fragile relationship with Sir in the process. Brie’s parents are anything but happy when they find out about Brie’s chosen partner. Even before they find out about their life-style, the age difference between their darling daughter and her man (11 years) is more than enough on its own to make her father worried and disapproving. Master’s past and the trauma in it is slowly revealed and comes back to haunt the couple with a vengeance. And Brie has to deal with the fact that she rejected Tono, the Dom she had deep feelings for but didn’t pick. A man who will still play a role in her life.
But it is not just hardship for Brie and her Master. There is a trip to
where a very happy reunion with Rytsar shows Brie exactly what sort of a Dom he
is as well as a trip to
where Master, for the first time in years, faces his past and shares it with
the young woman he has grown to love. Brie’s 23rd birthday party
leads to wonderful surprises as well as a shocking revelation involving Rytsar
and Brie’s nemesis Ms. Clarke. Brie’s documentary may need filling out, when it
is done, it is a work of beauty, although not everybody is happy to accept it
as such. And while Brie and her Master have their own way of cementing their
commitment to each other, Master manages to surprise his sub with a more
conventional question as well. Italy
And, that description of mine really only scratches the surface. There is a lot happening in this book, in fact there isn’t a single dull moment to be found on these pages. While reading this book it pays to keep in mind that Brie’s story is a fantasy. The amount of things happening to and around Brie in a very short space of time is not realistic. Neither is the fact that protected sex seems to be an unknown in this world. I can’t say that bothered me though. The story just took me from one high octane moment to the next and I happily allowed myself to be swept up in all the excitement.
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again; this is a sex-driven story. While a lot of other things happen in this book, every situation is resolved, celebrated or reacted to in a sexual way. Master keeps on finding new ways of bringing Brie to the heights of sexual fulfilment, and the descriptions are graphic, beautiful and extremely hot.
I love that Red Phoenix managed to tie up all the loose ends in this book. Any questions the reader might have been left with after book one, as well as a few new ones, are answered in this book in a very satisfactory manner. I love that this is, in essence, a love story, filled with as many tender moments as there are sexual ones. Having said that, I’m not sure how I feel about the condor analogy. I get that condors mate for life and could therefore be used as a romantic metaphor. However, swans tend to mate for life as well and with their elegance make a much better comparison in my opinion. Having said that, I loved the following quote:
“Sir, we are condors. We have a lifetime to find our way”
In fact, this book is filled with quotable passages. I will try and limit myself to just a few of them, hard as that may be:
There is Master’s advice to Brie which turns out to be equally true for him:
“It is easy to underestimate the power of closure. I have found that loose ends tend to cause needless doubt and pain.”
And there are moments of pure wisdom such as:
“It is my belief that you cannot know your desires or limits unless you expose yourself to them” – Sir
“Brie, anything that causes you discomfort must be shared, no matter the reaction you fear will result from it. Without trust, you and I are nothing.”
Brie’s learning curve never really ends as she continues to recognise new truths:
“She admired how each D/s couple had their own erotic dance. No two couples followed the exact same steps, but the deep level of trust and respect was consistent throughout the community.”
“You cannot force people to see what you see. All you can do is present your truth to them.”