**AUTHOR NOTE - This is NOT a BDSM Romance**
A master we've never seen.
Obedience will become all we know in our shallow existence. It is the only emotion we're permitted to feel.
When we're bad, we're punished. When we're good, we're rewarded.
Our scars run deep. Yet we survive, because we have to...
because HE teaches us to.
All of us are special, we feel it with everything we are.
He has us for a reason, but it's a reason we don't know.
We've never seen his face, but we know that something deeply broken lies beneath the darkness. With every touch, with every punishment, we know it.
Then something changed.
He showed me who he truly is.
Now I want him.
I'll go against everything I know to be with him.
Loving him is a sin, but a sinner I am. I won't stop until I see every part of him. Even the parts he keeps locked deep down inside.
I am Number Thirteen, and this is my story.
POSSIBLE MINOR SPOILERS
A friend recommended this book to me a few weeks ago and it intrigued me. Looks like I've became a fan of the dark genre since I've read Tears of Tess and Quintessentially Q.
Number Thirteen is a combination of both with a little bit of Dark Duet thrown in, minus the BDSM part.
I won't go and point out all the resemblances because it would be a waste of time so I'll just focus on the book itself. Let me mention that this story is told from two points of view: William's and the one of the girl with the number thirteen.
First of all, the main character, William, doesn't even have a last name. None of the characters have a last name. I think it's the first time I see something like this in a book. Anyway, his story is simple enough: when he was a kid, a bully poured acid into one of his eyes causing him to lose the ability to see with that eye and leaving scars. He claims that the event turned him into a monster. Let's see if it's true and what kind of a monster.
Fast forward a number of years (it's never mentioned how many or what age the characters are), and he is now some kind of a magnate. He uses his money to buy thirteen girls and have them brought to his house. Here, the girls are to submit totally to his will or they will be punished. For every action there is a reaction. The girls have no name, only numbers from one to thirteen tattooed on the back of their hands.
Number thirteen woke up in a basement after being drugged and kidnapped - or so she assumes - to find out that there are twelve other girls in there too. She has no memories and doesn't know what's going on. She can't even remember her own name. The only thing that they've been told is to keep quiet, or they'll be punished.
One of them gets killed right away for screaming and begging to be let out.
Later on, they're divided in groups and told that now they belong to Master William and their duty is to serve him. And, like I said before, if they screw up they get punished.
William claims he wants to help these girls but to do so he has to “break” them first. To achieve that goal he starves them, locks them in chains in the basement, and has his guards whip them with a belt for every mistake.
Then he proceeds on calling them into his room every night and sitting them in his lap. This serves to gain their trust. Or so he says.
Now, this is what I don't understand. He buys their freedom and brings them to his house to “heal” them then he does the same things as their captors minus the raping. How the hell is that supposed to help them get better?
Not to mention the fact that he keeps them drugged so they can't remember who they are and what had happened to them. All for their own good, that's the excuse.
Number thirteen is the only one strong enough to fight him and she gets punished over and over again for this.
One of the girls tries to get the attention of William's brother at a party, asking for help and after the punishment they inflict on her, she commits suicide.
So, we're down to two dead girls, one killed and another who killed herself, and the rest of them uncertain about their future.
Again, how is this supposed to help them heal?
But William sees nothing wrong in this situation and everything goes back to what he calls “normal”.
Let me tell you, this is sick. The author tried to paint him as a tormented soul who dedicates himself to saving abused girls, but failed miserably.
William is a psycho with a penchant for torture. There's nothing noble about what he does. You don't cure violence with even more violence, especially if we're talking about abused women.
Take a woman that has been sold as a sexual slave and tell her you want to help her heal, then beat the crap out of her, starve her for two days and chain her to a wall in a basement and see what her reaction is when she's released. She won't be better or jump into your arms and thank you. Either she'll be an empty shell or she'll throw herself from the roof like one of the girls in this story.
Let's stop gushing about how hot the main male character is and actually read the story and see it for the crap it is. This kind of books get way too much appreciation!
And him feeling sorry for himself? It just pissed me off. Yes, he's been dealt a crappy hand but he got over it and now he's filthy rich, living the good life. What's there to be sorry for? Ok, he's lost his eye but he's fine otherwise. Healthy, good looking, strong. And a freak. Let's not forget the freak part.
Those poor girls have been raped and abused in so many ways and are at their wits end but they still keep going on and hoping.
I'm sorry, but I don't see how he helps them.
And the part where Number Thirteen sees him for what he really is, i.e. a tormented, lost and sad man, and falls in love with him, I call bullshit. Want me to count all times she got starved, beaten, chained and humiliated? Trust me, there are many. And you're going to tell me she could fall for the guy who did that to her?
This is more a case of Stockholm syndrome than anything else. For all of them. My point was proven when the police showed up at his house and took him into custody, transporting the girls to a safehouse. All of them claimed they've been staying with him voluntarily making it impossible for the detectives to arrest him.
See how screwed up this situation is?
Now that I'm done with the characters, let's talk about the writing style.
Not bad, BUT.
The author uses a number of phrases in Romanian. Nothing wrong with that but at least she could have asked if one of her fans is Romanian and could give her a hand with the translation. You can't properly translate a phrase from English to Romanian with Google Translate. It won't come out right. I'm Romanian and I know what I'm talking about.
“Încredere în întuneric, frumusețea.” Trust the darkness, Beauty. – The correct translation is “Ai incredere in intuneric, frumoaso.”
Notice the difference?
“O inimă frumos nu poate iubi o inimă întunecată. Dar o inima întunecată poate tanjesc dupa un frumos, și așa va fi. Eu vă va aștepta cu nerăbdare, frumusețe.” A beautiful heart can never love a dark heart. But a dark heart can crave a beautiful one, and it will. I will crave you, beauty.
The correct translation – “ O inima frumoasa nu poate iubi o inima intunecata. Dar o inima intunecata poate tanji dupa o inima frumoasa, si va face asta. Voi tanji dupa tine, frumoaso.”
Is it really that hard to ask for help instead of making mistakes trying to use a language you have no idea about?
And I don't understand why he was speaking Romanian? There's no information on this guy. Or the other characters except a little bit at the end but that's not nearly enough. Could this book have been any more messed up?
I'll stop here because I think I made my point. It's scary to see how this book is ranking so high on Goodreads. How can you rate something like this with 5 stars? Ladies, girls, where are your brains? Come on! The “dashing” hero abuses thirteen poor souls, breaking their spirit to the point they can't function in the outside world without him telling them what to do and how to behave and you think this is okay?? What the hell! Is there no respect, no compassion anymore? Open your eyes! Just because a man is good looking and has lots of money doesn't mean he has the right to tell you what to think and how to live. If he really wanted to save those girls he should have given them the chance to make their own choices. He should have tried to show them there is a way for them to be okay again and continue their lives instead of brainwashing them to the point they can't even think for themselves. This is wrong and sick. Just NO.