Victorious is the third book in the Quantum Trilogy by MS Force, about the romance between shy ingenue Natalie Bryant and movie star (and secret BDSM kinkster) Flynn Godfrey. I reviewed the first two books, Virtuous and Valorous, here recently.
Note: Spoilers for Virtuous and Valorous follow. These books do not stand alone. They have to be read in series order.
Valorous ended in a romantic cliffhanger after Natalie found out about Flynn’s bedroom predilections. Her flounce didn’t really make sense to me because even she acknowledged to herself that she understood why Flynn had kept it from her. But because he lied about it when she asked him, she had to leave. Their separation lasts 24 hours. Which really reinforced my thought that the flounce was entirely manufactured to create the dramatic cliffhanger ending for the previous book rather than be organic to the plot or characters. On a positive note, the separation lasts only 24 hours so not a lot of time is wasted with them being miserable apart. That’s something I guess.
During the course of Victorious, Flynn and Natalie start to explore the BDSM lifestyle and have a lot of sex. Like, a lot. I confess to fast forwarding through a couple of the scenes because they did nothing to advance the plot.
The only other plot point to resolve was the murder of the lawyer who had sold Natalie’s story to the paparazzi. The culprit was not a surprise but I had been expecting the resolution of it to be a little more dramatic than what actually transpired.
The entire series takes place in a little over six weeks. During that time, Natalie and Flynn meet, get married (twice) and have huge amounts of sex, some of it kinky sex. Don’t forget, Natalie’s only previous sexual experience was a violent and protracted rape when she was 15. It’s not enough to say one has to suspend disbelief to get into the series. One has to throw belief out of a moving vehicle and speed away in a vehicle driven by Vin Diesel.
However, if a listener can do that, there is an engaging connection between Natalie and Flynn and they do have some pretty hot sex along the way. It was also nice to see Natalie being embraced by Flynn’s family and friends and to really come into her own personally as well as sexually.
While I had the feeling that too much time was spent on minutiae in the story, there were some things which were left hanging and which bothered this detail-loving listener. For example, much was made of the “movie that refused to be named” over the course of the series – it was the film Flynn had been shooting when Natalie (literally) ran into him in New York and the one he was working on in post-production in Valorous. For the entire series, the Quantum production company struggled to name the movie. Given it was a such a plot point I was really expecting it to be resolved in Victorious. I was wrong. And now I really want to know what the movie was called, dammit!!
The narration was the real win for me here. I very much enjoyed both Brooke Bloomingdale’s and Cooper North’s performance. Mr. North does have something of a tic however, he tends to drop the g in words ending in “ing” – not in a western/cowboy way but in a more deliberate “in” sound. I didn’t love it but it also wasn’t a dealbreaker for me. The rest of his performance was very good, with clear character differentiation and great emotion and pacing. Ms. Bloomingdale was similarly skilled (except with g’s).
Both Natalie and Flynn became more dynamic over the course of the series as they each came into their own. As I’d hoped would be the case while I was listening to Virtuous, this growth gave both narrators a better chance to shine.
The story had a large element of fairy tale to it (albeit of the NSFW variety) and, on that level, I enjoyed it well enough. The narration made the experience more worthwhile and overall, I include the three listens in the win column.
Book Content: C+
Steam Factor: For your burning ears only
Violence Rating: Trigger warning: (off page) rape
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: MS Force
Victorious was provided to AudioGals by MS Force for a review.