The Deep End by Kristen Ashley — Jenn’s Review


KA is my Queen!



Enter a decadent sensual world where gorgeous alpha males are pleasure slaves committed to fulfilling a woman’s every desire. At the elite Honey club, no boundary will be left untested, and one’s darkest desires will become a sensual reality.

Olivier isn’t sure what he’s gotten himself into when he joins the Honey Club, only that a dark part of him craves the lifestyle offered by this secret, exclusive club.

When Amèlie invites Olivier to surrender, she pushes him to explore his deepest desires as a submissive. As they grow closer and find themselves falling harder than either of them anticipated, the truth about Olivier’s past could threaten the budding relationship they both long for.

Gripping and seductive, The Deep End is the first book in a sensational new series from bestselling author Kristen Ashley.


It took me almost five days after finishing this book to start my review. I needed to sit on it, let the story sink in, and work out the issues I had in my mind before I started trying to put my thoughts on paper. I believe in complete and total honesty when writing a book review. I know of too many people who will flat out lie in a review, just to stay in the good graces of a favorite author, or publishing house. Believe me, it happens way more than you even think it happens. But that is not me. I refuse to be dishonest in a review.  I have been a Kristen Ashley fanatic long enough to know that parts of my review will bring some backlash. I’ll probably be called names, and even lose some followers.

But that’s okay. It has to be.

Because, as previously stated, I believe in honesty, and that’s what you’re going to get here. If you’re looking for fluff, or someone to hold your hand, you might as well stop reading, and go check out a five star review. You’re not going to get that from me.

KA fans know that The Deep End is a giant departure from her usual story. Inspired by Joey Hill’s Natural Law, Ashley set out to write a book set in the erotic world of a BDSM club. And that is what we got. It was clear Ashley did her research into sex clubs, and the Domme lifestyle, and for me, that is always a bonus when reading a book. I love knowing that the author put their all into writing and researching their story, and it is clear Ashley did just that.  This book was HOT. My God was it hot. I don’t usually delve too much into the erotica genre, but wow. These scenes were something else. There were actually times it was so scorching, I was blushing, and just a tad bit uncomfortable. Ashley definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. So, if you’re looking for panty melting sex scenes, you are in for a real treat.

Unfortunately, that was part of the problem for me. Not the sex itself, but the overabundance of it. The first 60% of the book is all sex and lifestyle details and not nearly enough story. Ashley is my favorite author for a reason. I love to lose myself in the various worlds she creates for us. Whether it be Carnal, Colorado, Magdalene, Maine,  or even a parallel universe, we are always treated to an environment rich in detail, characters we think about long after the book had ended, and stories we come back to reread time and time again. Sadly, I didn’t get the same feeling from The Bee’s Honey, or Amélie and Olivier. I didn’t establish a connection with the characters or their world. I didn’t find myself interested in the secondary characters or their backgrounds.  The writing in The Deep End is vastly different from all of Ashley’s other titles. It is written in the third person, which I don’t mind at all, and is not unusual for Ashley. But, with this format, I found it difficult to develop an investment in the story. I had a lot of trouble following along with the story because the writing was so formal and overstated. Think Josie in The Will, but kicked into over drive. I felt like I was back in high school trying to read Beowulf.  It made me think of Amélie as pretentious, and didn’t help endear her to me. The same goes for Olivier. What I knew of his character, I liked. I just felt like there was so much more to discover, and we never had that opportunity. I finished the book thinking I knew the least about these two characters than I did of any other in any series. I’m not sure what it was, or where it went wrong, but the connection I crave was just not there. For those who love Ashley’s typical alpha, and are worried, don’t be. Olivier maybe be a submissive when at play, but in the rest of his life, he is pure Ashley Alpha. I enjoyed the balance of his character in and out of the bedroom, and the struggle he went through to accept how his submissive nature in the bedroom went against everything he believed in himself.

That being said, it took me a long time to get into the story. I did consider giving it up at a few points, but knew I had to see it through to the end. After more than half of the book, it felt like Ashley found her groove, and I enjoyed the remaining forty percent. I wish the first part of the book followed along the same way. I can only imagine the courage it took for Ashley to take this leap into the unknown. She is to be commended for that. Too often, authors stick with what works, and become redundant. Ashley blew the lid off of the box she may have been categorized in, and will hopefully bring in a entire new set of readers. I urge you to go into The Deep End with an open mind.

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3 thoughts on “The Deep End by Kristen Ashley — Jenn’s Review

  1. I appreciate the honest review. I really enjoy KA’s books, but this one didn’t really interest me from the synopsis. I’m not sure if I’ll give it a try or not.

  2. I’m a fellow blogger and never shy about my opinion. I need honesty like this! I love KA but not everything she writes is a favorite of mine. I don’t care for some of her guys. Everyone is team Lee but I felt he strung Indy along selfishly. I still don’t like Tanner Layne. I always read and one-click ALL her books. I can’t stand when people blow sunshine up my ass. Give me the truth!

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