Titanium (Breathless #1)

New Adult

LGBTQ/M/M:  At first, privileged university student Raffael Bjornsson seems to be a rebel without a meaningful cause. He cannot resist wagering unwise bets. He is fixated on the superficial details of people’s physical appearance: clothes, shoes, and cars. His friendship with Felix and Tanja includes a rotation of pairing off for one-on-one sexual activities between them. Then Sebastian enters their scene, making Raffael and his friends question the fundamental truths of their relationship. 

“Titanium” starts as a well-written cheeky homage to a familiar setup in romance: a bet that leads to a relationship. This story also uses many elements that are commonly included in porn of an emphasis on the characters’ looks and wardrobes, and their sexual escapades as a priority over their characters. There are many smirks and sneers. Raffael thinks of people as playthings and presents. Women are pigeons. It is dehumanizing, and combined with Raffael’s self-centered, entitled attitude and the squandering of his privileged circumstances, make it a challenge to care about him. Then the story switches gears. More emotional depth is added when Raffael’s inner struggles with his sexual identity are revealed. It is then that “Titanium” becomes a poignant tale of personal anguish, but the shift occurs almost too late to motivate readers to continue. BDSM elements are minor, although frequently mentioned and mostly occur off-page — except for one scene involving padded manacles, a blindfold, and voyeurism. One passage raises questions about issues of coerced consent in exchange for something someone desperately wants. After a jolting cliffhanger ending, Raffael and Sebastian’s challenging journey continues in book two. Overall, readers of erotic romance who prefer their sexy tales with emotional substance should enjoy Anna Katmore’s writing. 

Cardyn Brooks