So, here's the thing. I really like Jeaniene's a)writing b)characters c)chemistry d)dialogue; usually that's enough for me without ever having to stray into icky issues like themes and morals and symbolism.
This is one of the exceptions. Pretty much the bottom line of every recent Ms. Frost book can be summed down to: A woman has to accept and embrace her man's need to brutally torture people. This for me is just a small step up in eye-rolling-inducement potential to the theme: a clumsy self sacrificing virgin can change the personality of a psycho-controlling-megalomaniac (I’ve seen this in action, doesn’t work, they call girls like that doormats for a reason people).
Don’t get me wrong, I can embrace and enjoy the icky feelings, but torture? Seriously?
Also, it just doesn’t work with Leila’s personality, she automatically likes people, feels compassion for people, yeah, she defends herself… but she’s repulsed by the brutality. And then in the end she’s like, “I hope you have a pole with her name on it’? Nah. It just felt like one of the girlfriends (wives) that embrace her man’s values and lose their own at the drop of a hat. And Leila isn’t supposed to be a doormat.