Thursday, May 29, 2014

Tales of the Institute by Lyka Bloom

Every once in a while you get introduced to a literary relationship where both reader and author click at an intimate level. The last time it happened was when Caroline Jane Wetherby introduced me to her Caroline's Company saga (which I adored), and now it’s happened again with Lyka Bloom sharing her Tales of the Institute series with me (which I quickly devoured).

The series opens with Pink Surrender, which provides a sweet, sexy introduction to Lady B and her Institute, as seen through the eyes of Nikki, a committed sissy submissive, and Carol, her somewhat negligent Mistress. As for Lady B, she is a stunningly beautiful and extraordinarily charismatic shemale Mistress with whom Carol once worked, before going her own way to found the Institute. The Institute itself is a towering pink edifice, a very private sort of school for sissies, latex slaves, and bimbo submissives, which uses hypnosis, subliminal suggestion, and other forms of conditioning to bring out the hyper-sexualized, overtly feminine potential in the young men and woman who choose to attend.

Technically, they’re just supposed to be visiting, but Lady B is one of those women who know what’s best for you, and who will stop at nothing to ensure you get it. She plans to ensure Nikki gets the chance to completely realize the sissy inside, while providing Carol with the happiness that has eluded her.

Bloom has some really interesting thoughts on human sexuality and gender expression, with a really imaginative approach transformation and conditioning. She walks a fine line here between force and coercion, with intellectual consent secondary to emotional happiness. There’s a lot of implied sexual activity here, but it’s more a journey of the mind . . . and the heart.

As we move onto Pink Submission, things begin to shift subtly, pushing ever further against personal boundaries. When a young man by the name of Robert makes the mistake of trying to rob the Pink Pussycat – the gentlemen’s club where so many of the Institute’s graduates work – he’s caught in the act by none other than Lady B herself. Rather than turn him into the police, she has him brought him to the Institute, where he’s given a chance to rehabilitate himself. First, however, he must perform a few tasks to avail himself of the basic necessities of food and clothing. Once he’s crossed that simple line and pleased Lady B (intimately), her offer seems almost too good to be true – spend just two days as a student, and she’ll allow him to walk away a free man, should he so choose.

Of course, two days are more than enough for the Institute to get its hooks in him, seducing him with happy dreams of sexual bliss and contentment. Although he’s never had so much as a fleeting sissy thought, he takes to audio and visual conditioning very quickly, and before long he’s happily exchanging pleasures with the sissies who shares his classes, and the shemale who instructs them.

Having already laid the groundwork in the first book, Bloom has the freedom here to delve further into the fragility and malleable nature of human sexuality and gender expression. She strays a bit further onto the naughty side of consent, but Roberta’s transformation proves to be both the most significant and the most complete of the series.

If the first two books played with the issue of consent, Pink Bliss finally and irrevocably crosses that line. It all begins in a cold, sterile courtroom, where Barbara Klein is attempting to sue Lady B for preying upon her husband’s addictions and stealing from them both. In truth, Lady B was doing nothing but giving Ian what he wanted, helping him to find peace and happiness with the sissy inside. Nothing she’s done has hurt him, and it’s certainly left no burden on his finances. Barbara’s case is about nothing more than maintaining her own authority and getting revenge on the woman who challenged it. Much to their surprise, Lady B agrees to sign a deal, so long as they come to the Institute to discuss the terms.

There, of course, the tables are swiftly turned. Ian is immediately welcome back into the welcoming arms of the Institute, while Barbara and their lawyer are taken captive. Both are worn down in much the same way Roberta was in the previous book, before being offered a similar deal. Their lawyer succumbs to temptation almost immediately, but the battle of wills between Lady B and Barbara is a lot of fun to behold, with her ultimate submission all the more sweet because of the challenge in getting there.

Once again, even though there is a self-serving motive in protecting herself and the work of the Institute, Lady B’s actions are never cruel or punitive. She is all about helping her students, no matter how they come to the Institute, free themselves from their inhibitions, and learn to embrace the blissfully content sexual beings inside.

The series takes an even darker turn with Pink Corruption, as Lady B sets her sights on not just conditioning her students, but on controlling strangers - emotionally and physically. There is no longer any illusion of consent here, but it's still important to note that her actions are never driven by a need for punishment or revenge. She sincerely wants her students to enjoy themselves, and if that eternal bliss also serves to protect her interests, then so be it. The new technology in question here is a sort of stun gun that can fire twin probes into a subject from a distance. Targeting the hypothalamus and the frontal cortex, they permit Lady B to remotely implant thoughts, wants, needs, and emotions in a subject.

It's not long before she gets a chance to use it, when an uptight, prissy, religiously conservative young policewoman comes into The Pink Spy - Lady B's foray into voyeuristic web porn - and threatens to make trouble for her immoral enterprise. Lady B quickly takes charge, turning the prissy young woman into a wanton bimbo slut, literally overnight.

Ethically, this is probably the most challenging of the stories, but there's such a clear progression of themes and subjects that I suspect Bloom will eventually deal with the issue. This is also the first cliffhanger in the series, with more story definitely to be told.

Overall, the Tale of the Institute is incredibly imaginative and gloriously erotic. Lady B is a woman you can't help but want to please - I love the way she always dresses so that just the tip of her penis peeks out beneath her skirt - and the Institute itself is a place you can only wish existed. After all, who doesn't want to be freed from their inhibitions, stripped of all guilt and shame, and empowered to embrace the raw sexuality inside? Lyka Bloom is a stunning author with a flair for her fetishes, and I cannot wait to read more.

Pink Pleasure: Volume 1 collects the first 3 volumes in the series (Pink Surrender, Pink Submission, Pink Bliss)

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