The Story of X
By A.J. Molloy
My Rating: 4 Stars
This was a tough book for me. Not because I didn’t like it or because it was boring but because it made me question myself and my own perceptions of right and wrong. It pushed limits and tested my ability to be open. When I finished it I had to step back and let this book sink in before I could not only rate it but also to review it. I wasn’t sure what I had just read and it certainly wasn’t clear whether I liked it or not. The only book I can even come close to comparing this book to is “The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty” by A.N Roquelaure or Anne Rice. The Story of X most certainly falls in the erotic fiction genre and it’s not for the faint of heart. Even as I sit here I’m still not entirely sure what I read on the pages of this book and I’m not entirely certain I truly liked it though I did ultimately give it a four star rating mostly because it make me really think.
Alexandra Beckmann, “X” to her friends, has led nothing less than a sheltered life. She’s always been the good girl and she’s tired of it. When she heads off to spend the summer in Naples, Italy with the excuse of doing research for her senior thesis, she decides this is the perfect opportunity for her to change. Though she’s there studying the Camorra, an Italian crime organization, she’s finally ready to let loose and do something unexpected, irrational and maybe a little dangerous. Her research takes her directly to Lord Marcus Roscarrick, an Italian aristocrat who also happens to be handsome in the most irresistible way. But there are mysterious rumors surrounding Roscarrick and X isn’t sure who she should believe. These rumors however, aren’t enough to keep her from him. As X and Roscarrick’s lives become more and more entwined, X discovers a world she never imagined. A world that is dark, seductive and sexual. As Roscarrick immerses himself in X’s life, she must decide if she’s willing to submit to his his secret world so they can be together.
Wow, this book pushed limits for me. It made me think deep, hard and long about the events which occurred and what I thought about them. Was it erotic? Or was it sick and wrong? That’s the question. Were the events that happened acceptable? Justifiable? Was it wrong if I thought it was sexy? Yeah, I still don’t know. I’m still very conflicted about the whole thing. When I finished reading this book, I went to Goodreads to see what others had to say and it seems that many people were just as confused and conflicted as me. I think this is why I ultimately gave it such a high rating. It challenged my thinking and made me question my perceptions of the world. To me that’s a good thing. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me look at the world a little differently. I know it’s fiction but it still made me evaluate the world. Can something that is normally horrific ever be erotic? I’m not sure. When reading the other reviews, most people seemed to have an issue with the same part of the book as I did. Namely, the last 30 pages. The hardest part was that I was really enjoying the book despite the craziness of it but then the author went in a direction I wasn’t all that comfortable with. And then when I finished it, I was left saying “What the hell just happened here?!?!” I just couldn’t quite accept that the author went there. And more importantly, I couldn’t decide if I was ok with it. The characters seemed to be ok with it but how could they be ok with it. It was wrong in so many ways. How could they go on like normal, as if nothing had happened? And in the end the conclusion I came up with was simple. It’s a mystery and that’s the whole point. Roscarrick tells X numerous times throughout the book that “It’s a mystery and that’s the point.” So, ultimately that’s what I took away from it. I couldn’t understand how the characters could act as if everything was ok because it’s a mystery and it’s not meant to be understood. X got it and eventually I did too. To me this was a very clever twist by the author. Molloy took the reader down the rabbit hole, so to speak, and when we emerged at the end there was something inherently different about us. We weren’t the same people that we were before we fell. Just like X. I love this about this book. So yes, I gave it a four star rating because once I got it, I was completely blown away and I like books that do this to me. I like having a visceral reaction to a book and The Story of X took me there. Maybe you’ll feel the same and maybe not. But if you are intrigued, please checkout this book.