Review: Songs of Submission, Sequence One by CD Reiss

Songs of Submission

5 transcending Stars

How do you go about finding yourself? How do you go about defining yourself before society and the people around you end up feeling threatened and insist you follow their guidelines? How do you go from normal, every day routine – accepted, justified and easy – to pushing boundaries, breaking tradition and re-imagining the user’s manual?

There’s no road map for such a thing. There are no directions or navigable instructions to get you from quiet to loud, calm to frenzy, whisper to scream, sigh to gasp. You simply have to choose it and then do it.

During the course of these three novellas – Beg, Tease and Submit – that is exactly what Monica Faulkner does. She starts out contained. By herself mostly. Focused only on what’s in front of her – her best friend’s mental health, her music and working to pay the bills. She is bound so tightly to her own prescribed version of focus that the only way in is with force.

That force is named Jonathan Drazen. He is razor sharp and equally as contained in an entirely different way. He is lighting caught in a bottle – imprisoned against its wishes but willing to bide its time there.

When Monica and Jonathan come together it’s as if a bomb goes off for both of them. One which targets the nervous system, rearranging molecules until you explode from the inside out and find yourself grateful to do so. This is a bomb full of sex and lust and power and by the end they are both absolutely dripping with it. They’ve crawled into each other’s skin and rewired their entire beings to respond only to each other. They are a supernova. Constantly expanding into infinite space – there is no limit to them, there is no longer any convention that can define them.

CD Reiss writes with visceral precision. Her dialogue is flawless – fast, stripped down to the naked truth, even when it’s a lie. I can feel it in my gut when her characters are in pain, I am electrified by their wit and grace and willingness to keep expanding even when they’re convinced they’ve reached their limit. I would invite her characters to share my soul if I thought I was good enough.

Her stories start off slowly, making you wonder whether it’s a story or a character study and then before you know what’s happened, you’re rocketing across the sky, holding on with your fingertips, not really caring if you make it to the other side or not.

CD Reiss’ writing has burrowed into me so deeply that I have no idea how I ever survived without it. It breaks me open, seals me shut and lights me up all at once and I love every minute of it.


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