flesh cartel brotherhoodRating: 3 stars
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Length: Novella

It seems fitting that the final episode in the second season of The Flesh Cartel is the straw that broke the camel’s back, both for the twins, Dougie and Mat Carmichael, and for me as a reader. The time came to read this book, knowing I had to write a review, and my stomach started churning. This was my first sign that I was ready to be done with this serial. And when I, once again, read pages upon pages of torture and abuse with not one little light at the end of this horribly traumatic tunnel, I knew it was the last one I could read.

In the sixth episode called Brotherhood, Nikolai is up to his same old devastatingly sickening tricks. This time, he wants to irrevocably break the tie between Mat and Dougie, since he knows it is their devotion to each other that is keeping them from being the slaves that he needs them to be. Nikolai loves Dougie. He wants him as his own, but he can see that he hasn’t become the submissive, brain-washed drone that Nikolai needs him to be. His plan is a set-up, which he needs Mat’s agreement on so it will be successful. What follows is a series of mind-boggling torture until Nikolai can get Mat to see that, until Dougie gives up on his brother, he will live in misery and pain.

After Mat agrees to the plan, then we get to read the play-by-play. If you think you’ve read it all at this point, think again. In order to break down Dougie, he needs to not only be subjected to the worst amounts of pain and abuse, he also has to think his brother has abandoned him in the midst of it all. It’s a psychological game that just continues in perpetuity. It’s the worst of Stockholm Syndrome and abused victim mentality on a continuous loop. It’s mentally exhausting.

Please understand that I can handle a lot of things. I understand that this serial is called The Flesh Cartel. There are very few things that disgust me or make me feel uncomfortable. I feel like I do a pretty good job of separating real life from fiction, so I actually enjoy reading about things outside of my realm of real-life experience, even disturbing ones. At this point, however, I’ve read over 400 pages of the equivalent of torture porn, and I’m just not interested in continuing a serial that allows no hope for redemption. Perhaps it’s somewhere on the horizon, but after many pleas of, “Please! Give us a little hope!” and realizing it’s nowhere near making an appearance, I’m ready to call it a day.

As always, it’s very well-written and emotionally gripping. If you’ve enjoyed the serial to this point, you will not be disappointed. I’ll leave it to you though, dear readers, because my tortured psyche is screaming for a rest.

Amy sig