WARNING: This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, strong language, and graphic violence.
So says the warning that accompanies Captive in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #1) by CJ Roberts. A warning I should have taken more seriously. A warning, that perhaps, drew me towards the story more than push me away. A warning that laughed right in my face, "I told you so."
I first read Captive in the Dark back in February of 2012. My initial reaction was one of complete horror and blatant disgust. I closed the book, hastily gave it two stars, and then spent the next few days washing my mind out with soap, trying so hard to disinfect the graphic visual images that had invaded my thoughts. I felt dirty, unclean.
It was incredibly well written and hooked me from the start, but it evoked feelings, hard emotions that I didn't like. Captive in the Dark elicited my fight or flight response...I flew.
My crossover from reading only YA-books to also reading adult fiction happened only a few short months before reading CITD. Looking back, I don't think my virginal YA brain could process Captive in the Dark. I. Couldn't. Handle. It.
Over the next six months my taste in books went through a drastic change. My mind opened, my genres broadened, and I learned that books aren't only there to make you feel good. They are there to make you feel, period. I developed an appreciation for any book that evoked emotions...any emotions...strong emotions. I just wanted to feel.
Eventually CITD gained a strong following and with the release of Seduced in the Dark (The Dark Duet, #2) on the horizon, old emotions surfaced. But with these emotions, came doubt. Doubt that led to many unanswered questions. However, I'm not the only one who had questions. Several of my goodreads followers began to question my two star rating. I began to question my two star rating. They wanted to know why? I needed to know why. So much had changed since I first read CITD, I had changed. It was time for a re-read.
Re-reading Captive in the Dark led to me giving it another star and also made me crave the sequel, but I still couldn't shake the feeling that I wanted to hold myself rocking back and forth under a hot shower.
However, I decided to put on my big girl panties and read Seduced in the Dark.
The sequel was just as shocking, just as disturbing, but I couldn't look away. And to be honest, I'm not even sure I really wanted to. That's when I discovered something, something that had been there all along. Something I guess I was too afraid to admit. These books were never the problem. I was the problem.
CJ Robert's writing is dark, controversial and disturbing, but she is absolutely brilliant. I didn't like the way her books made me feel because I started to feel...understanding. I started to feel loss. I started to feel love. Just like Livvie, I was seduced. Seduced to want something that was so wrong. So disturbing. So dysfunctional, but at the same time it was so right.
I guess I fooled myself into believing I didn't like these books because I wasn't ready to admit that I had been seduced.
This series was perfectly controversial and hauntingly beautiful. Caleb and Livvie's story will make you feel emotions that will be excruciatingly difficult to experience, but the experience will change you forever. In my opinion, The Dark Duet isn't about Livvie's journey, it's about the readers.