Review of Becoming Clissine by Anastasia Vitsky

Becoming Clissine

Becoming Clissine is the story of a heterosexual girl in a society that believes same sex relationships are gods will. It is a strict doctrine and anyone who violates those laws is severely punished.

Rating 4 out of 5

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I bought this book, I’ve known  Anastasia for a little while now and during one of our conversations, the subject of the books I like to read came up.  Being a girly girl, my preference is for love and romance, but I mentioned that I was looking for a bit of a change that took me out of my comfort zone with a different style of character and plot line.

After asking what I felt about bdsm and specifically spanking, she recommended “Becoming Clissine (Bastia) and never one to turn down the chance to experience something new – I eagerly said “sure, why not ?”  I’m so pleased that I did, the book was challenging and jarring to my own world but greatly rewarding to sink into and explore something very, very different.

“Becoming Clissine” is set in a world very different to our own, where heterosexuality is against a religious doctrine known as “Bastia”.  From an early age, children are betrothed to future partners in accordance with the wishes of their parents known as their “Dis” and “Nur”.  These betrothals create alliances between houses, which preserve this balance in conjunction with a ruling council who interpret and enforce the religious doctrine.

The book opens with Clissa’s trial for disobeying the doctrine of Basti and being accused of a “Het” relationship, in contravention with her betrothal to Helaine and Basti Law.  Despite her pleading, she is found guilty and sentenced to a severe corporal punishment and a programme of further physical punishment at the hands of her “Dis” called “re-education”.  This is the “Dis’s” role as a parent, the family disciplinarian of Bastia law through often brutal correctional beatings, the severity of which is measured by the indiscretion.  The “Nur’s” role is more empathic and nurturing – counselling and guiding through touch and reason.
The purpose of the spanking is compliance with Bastia Law.  The stick to the carrot of the “Nur”.  Two complimentary approaches with a single goal, behavioural correction.    It’s easy to get drawn into the injustice of the philosophy and it’s treatment or conditioning.  Clissa herself, being a “het” rebels against both forms of treatment and joins an underground movement known as “Het pride” which stands up for the rights of the hetrosexual.

The way Anastasia develops the characters and tells their story engages you completely in the injustice of this treatment.  Spanking isn’t the simply the kinky “innocent” pleasure that some may enjoy occasionally, it’s a core for enforcing a behavioural modification.  There are also other facets of bdsm relationships and role play for the reader to explore as well here.  The book touches on “Age play” when Clissa is in hospital being treated as a young girl, rather than the teenager she is.  Then, when she is re-housed with a new “Dis” and “Nur”, Clissa attempts to change the dynamic of her relationship with her new parents, by positively reacting to the treatment of the “Nur” which leads the reader to ask “who is really in control of a bdsm relationship, the submissive or the dominant ?  Perhaps it is shared ?”   “How is a “Dis” or a “Nur” made, and who teaches them and moderates them ?” (As Clissa’s “Dis”
says herself later in the book “ you get punished because you have to learn between right and wrong. I get punished because I already know the difference, but still make mistakes“) The book also hints at answers to more obvious questions, like, for example “how are children born ?”  Some of the answers to these questions are unpleasant, even stomach turning, but the reality for many living under Bastia Law.

I won’t spoil the ending of the book by sharing how these intertwined plots end, but will say I found Clissa’ journey to “becoming Clissine” utterly compelling.  You don’t have to agree with bdsm or spanking in order to want to read it, or be a convert or ashamed after reading it.   Challenge yourself, engage with and explore the rights and wrongs of Bastia law and ask yourself if it was the same for LGBT people in times gone past in our own society.  I can only hope that Anastasia asks herself the same questions and builds on the society she has created to answer them. I certainly want to see how it develops !!!

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