Sweet Vernal Zephyr

Succinct Book Reviews
(aka Creating & Whit)

This BDSM Classic is a scalding dunk into the extremes of submission.

Story of O
by Pauline Réage

O is a young, beautiful fashion photographer in Paris. One day her lover, Rene, takes her to a chateau, where she is enslaved, with Rene's approval, and systematically sexually assaulted by various other men. Later, Rene turns O over to Sir Stephen, an English friend who intensifies the brutality. But the final humiliation is yet to come.
My review guidelines can be found HERE.

  • BDSM
  • Dubious Consent
  • Whipping
  • Multiple partners
  • F/F
  • M/F
  • Piercing
  • Branding
  • Youth voyeur

Part I: Riossy
  • Welcome to the training ground. She is transformed. Before she was indulgent, after she is docile.
  • An eye opener. I had to force myself to finish it. Not because the writing is sub par, but the content is... scalding. Harsh. I prefer cruelty to be absent.
  • The rules the women must obey create a world. Forced nudity strips away modesty and self-consciousness, creating a pride or ownership of your own skin.
  • I really chafe against the submission of the women. I know, I know. This is a book about Dominance and submission. There is a very strong hierarchy established. Women are at the bottom. Men at the top. But they are lifted there partially by submission. But also by fear. I don't like the fear. But O does call it "sweet terror". So she likes it. And that is all that matters.
  • The lover is sweet with his love. He is obviously a Sadist... and wishes for O to be a masochist. In truth, she will be anything he wants her to be. That is how deep her love and submission delve. Straight through her heart and being to the bottom of herself.
  • Master 2 becomes the master of all. 
  • J is seduced. 
  • Natalie begs and Stephen consents with the intention of offering her as a Virgin sacrifice to Riossey.
  • Final training and tagging. 
  • O comes into her feminine surety.
  • Beautiful masks
  • Limited sexual descriptions
  • Complete objectification of O
  • Questionable presence of Natalie.
  • I have heard about the movie, but also I have heard that it is a very bad representation of the book.
  • Safe, Sane & Consensual is in question.
  • The version I obtained from my library was published in 1984 by Ballantine Books. It includes 2 introductions and a preface (which include spoilers). 
  • The last chapter and alternate ending are suppressed, replaced with a three line synopsis. WTF!? <-- Note the increased emotion in my writing style here? I was all ready to be outraged in the face of censorship. BUT my college librarian tells me this is, indeed, the correct ending to the book. It leaves you hanging and forced you to imagine just what happens to O and therefore makes it intensely more personal.  
I received this book from my local library and read it with my local BDSM book club.

Read a sentence from page 56 HERE.

Did you review this book too?
Comment with your link! (Usually at the top of the post.)

Sweet daydreams...


I read this way back when I was in my late teens or early 20's maybe. Maybe it turned me off BDSM for life. LOL Not sure. I like mine lite and this was anything but. I probably skimmed most of it. LOL Not my cup of tea because I don't get the mindset.

I really don't like m/f bdsm, esp of this type.

Tam - I think I am in the same boat as you. It was uberintense.

I'm with you and Tam, it was very heavy stuff. Not my cupa either, or maybe I was too young for this type of book...

Haven't read the book, but saw the movie a very long time ago. Wasn't very impressed by it.

I read this in my early twenties I think and was shocked. I'd read Anne Rices's Beauty trilogy and those weren't too bad. But this one was way too much for me and I never read another m/f bdsm book until about four years ago. I read a couple and they still made me cringe a lot.

However, for some reason I really like m/m bdsm. I prefer it a bit lite but will read the more intense ones too. I can deal with it when it's two men. It just seems more equal and fair even though it's still a Dom/sub pairing.

I think because women have been "equal" to men for such a short time, that often reading about something that appears to put the woman in a position of being "less" than the man brings up many uncomfortable feelings. Perhaps it would be similar for African Americans to be a sub to a white man. It's still fresh in the psyche whereas you don't have that built-in memory if you are talking about two guys. That's my sociological psychobabble for the day. :-)

Hummmm okay... Well you reviewed very well hon. I have not read this book and I am not sure I will read this one... But I will always have your review to come to.
Hugs honey! Nighty night!

Sullivan - I only saw a couple short clips of the movie, but didn't like it because they were so different from the book.

LIly - I'm with you on that. I think it is because I can more easily distance myself from two male characters as there is no female to self-identify with.


Tam's psychobabble rings true too.

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Thanks so much for delving into my head. It's scary in here sometimes, so it is nice to have company! Don't step on the zephyr...

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