ARC Review: Counterpoint by Anna Zabo

cover142560-mediumTwisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

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Counterpoint, the sequel to Syncopation, continues the story of Twisted Wishes, a rock band, but this time the story follows the gay lead guitarist and bookish hipster, Dominic. I was super excited to read Dom’s story, because I loved him in Syncopation, and I was also intrigued by his secrecy and the persona of rock-star Domino that he rigidly kept hidden from the world.

The second protagonist of Counterpoint is Adrian Doran, a thirty-six-year-old, pansexual computer programmer, who perfectly counters Dom’s need to be dominated in bed. Adrian was a sweetheart: he cares so deeply for Dom, both in and out of bed, and is so concerned about consent. That was something I adored about this novel: that Zabo constantly refers back to consent in every sexual scene, and even in scenes without sex.

Dom is a genuine character, and one I felt an emotional connection with. He has intense, debilitating anxiety that manifests itself whenever he has to perform, so to counter it, he created an on-stage persona called Domino, where he could act like a rock-star and not feel like a fraud or an imposter. I definitely saw some form of imposter-syndrome in Dom, but this is just my reading of his character. It’s something that made me relate to him, and during those scenes where his anxiety acted up, I really just wanted to give him a big hug.

The drama of the novel surrounds Dom’s inability to tell Adrian about his persona, which is difficult because Adrian has shared so much of himself with Dom. I understood Dom’s reasons — trust me, I understood — but it did frustrate me at times when Dom didn’t seem to trust Adrian too much. It’s something that they deal with, but it got to me sometimes.

When Dom and Adrian initially meet, sparks immediately fly and while I really liked Dom and Adrian as a couple later in the novel, I feel like the beginning stage of their relationship was very … insta-lusty. I have no problem with characters meeting and then soon after sleeping with one another, but for Dom and Adrian it had a *touch* of insta-love in it too, in that they both immediately suspected the relationship could develop into something more, despite the fact that neither of them had been in serious relationships before.

This is definitely a personal preference: depending on the novel, I don’t usually like fast relationships; that being said, I loved them together later in the novel as they so complement on another. It’s such a beautiful, healthy representation of a (sort-of) sub/dom relationship, and I was so impressed by Zabo’s description of them together.

Counterpoint was a lovely sequel to an incredible novel. I did have a few problems with it, but they were all my personal reader’s preferences. If you loved Syncopation, I have no doubt you’ll adore Counterpoint too!

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Counterpoint is set for publication on 24 September, 2018.
Pre-order the novel now!

6 thoughts on “ARC Review: Counterpoint by Anna Zabo

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