Unlike the Fifty Shades series, The Mister is over-the-top romantic, with lots of physically tame but emotionally deep love scenes ... James skirts around some serious issues—human trafficking, spousal abuse, and the power dynamics in a love affair between a wealthy peer and his undocumented cleaning lady—but the book’s belief in the infinitely transformative power of love will hit the sweet spot for readers looking to be swept away.
James brings readers a novel of suspense and sexual awakening. Although the storyline is fairly predictable, fans will not be disappointed with the slow-build crescendo of Maxim and Alessia’s erotically charged romance.
It’s not just that The Mister is bad. It’s that it’s bad in ways that seem to cause the space-time continuum itself to wobble, slightly, as the words on the page rearrange themselves into kaleidoscopic fragments of repetition and product placement ... The one positive thing you can say about The Mister is that it steers (mostly) clear of BDSM, and so doesn’t misinform millions of readers about the dynamics of consent ... The Mister is no different, really, in that its male characters have power and its female characters cook and clean ... She gives us internal monologues that have the breadth and emotional resonance of the white pages ... This kind of indiscriminate detail explains why The Mister is more than 500 pages long, but what’s baffling is that despite this exhaustive access to the inner workings of Maxim’s mind, he’s as wooden and charmless as a sideboard ... Even more than it’s offensive, though, The Mister is tedious. It’s laborious. James retains her capacity to write sex scenes that last thousands of words in a row, but not without including turns of phrase that make you, as the reader, want to bleach your own brain ... Stories like The Mister, which seem to want to wrench female sexuality and status back into the realm of feudalism, have a long distance to go to catch up.
That the author has written a new book called The Mister should give anyone familiar with her work a pretty clear idea of what to expect from it — and indeed, it initially feels consistent with James’ oeuvre ... The Mister is unoriginal and dull from the syntax up ... It lacks even the vicarious, silly fun of the Fifty Shades world. If its portrayal of Balkans culture seems heavy-handed, The Mister deals with the trauma of sex trafficking with the delicacy of a freight train ... It’s all pointlessly dizzying, especially since The Mister is over 500 pages ... The Mister truly fails.
At least among all this wrongness, James gets one thing right: her randy English earl has a believably stupid name ... The Mister is James’s goodbye to BDSM, and hello to what looks like a long career of writing retrograde romances between powerful men and uncomfortably vulnerable women ... The Mister is a romance for Brexit Britain, a coked-up toff reaching out across the class divide to help a poverty-stricken migrant find a home ... It also has more red flags than a communist parade. There is a complete dearth of emotional maturity that is genuinely unsettling ... Just as James writes sex like a 14-year-old who thinks they know how it is done...she also writes about wealth like she’s not the author of a trilogy that has sold millions ... Just how underserved are the women who enjoy culture like this, if this is the best we can do? Is this real life? Is it just fantasy? I’m unsure which bothers me more.
James offers her first book outside the staggeringly successful Fifty Shades of Grey (2012) world, and the story can be compelling, in a 'Cinderella' meets Perils of Pauline kind of way ... we also ask ourselves why a woman who escaped sex traffickers at a gas station can’t be smarter when she’s hiding from them in a mansion ... A modern fairy tale that moves apace but is burdened by uneven writing and characters who continually do things that seem out of character.