Tuesday, October 6, 2015

REVIEW - RAZE (Scarred Souls #1) by Tillie Cole:

SERIES: Scarred Souls
AUTHOR: Tillie Cole
GENRE: Dark Romance
RELEASE DATE: June 16, 2015
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Griffin
PAGES: Approx. 272

RATING: 3.5 Stars


Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. After years of incarceration in an underground hell, only one thought occupies his mind: revenge... bloody, slow and violent revenge. Revenge on the man who wronged him.

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill 'The Silencer' Volkov, head of the infamous 'Red' bosses of New York's Russian Bratva. Her life is protected. In reality, it's a virtual prison. Her father's savage treatment of his rivals and his lucrative and coveted underground gambling ring-The Dungeon-ensures too many enemies lurk at their door. She dreams to be set free. Kisa has known only cruelty and loss in her short life. While working for her church-the only reprieve in her constant surveillance-Kisa stumbles across a tattooed, scarred, but stunningly beautiful homeless man on the streets. Something about him stirs feelings deep within her; familiar yet impossibly forbidden desires. He doesn't talk. Doesn't communicate with anyone.

He's a man beyond saving. But Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man... ... this man they call Raze.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains explicit sexual situations, excessive violence, disturbingly sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and mature topics. Recommended for age 18 years and up.

3.5 Vengeful Stars!

The Review: 
I have mixed feelings about this book. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it and am glad I picked it up. I was completely caught up in the story and I connected with most of the characters, especially Raze. I loved getting both the hero and heroine's POV’s and I really enjoyed getting back flashes to their childhood love. I’m a sucker for childhood to adult romances. And this one delivers a wonderful past and present love story.

There were some areas I didn’t connect with and that brought my rating down a bit, but for the most part, I enjoyed this read.

One girl, three boys. One who loves her down to his marrow and one who’s obsessed with her, down to his demented heart. Another boy heir to the kingdom. Of course this was never going to end well.

Luka, Kisa, Rodion and Alik were all childhood friends growing up in the Bratva mafia. Rodion was destined to be Brtava king. Luka and Kisa were connected to one another from birth, sharing one heart and a love so pure, they could only be soulmates. Alik was dangerous from the start and having a controlling, domineering father who raised his son to be evil didn’t help his developing personality. 

Then there is prisoner 818, aka Raze, who was raised to be a fighter. A killer. A demon in the pits of hell. And he does his job well. It’s kill or be killed as he’s forced to play out death games inside a cage for sport. But when he gets free, he has one thing on his mind and that’s REVENGE! 

Revenge for his innocence. And revenge for the life that was stolen from him.

This book was intense, with angsty as well as dark moments, and I absolutely loved the story concept. I also really enjoyed reading both Kisa and Raze’s POV’s. It was good to get inside both their heads because of all the tension and grittiness of the story. I think a lot of things would have been left unsaid with only one POV. So that was definitely a plus. I also loved Raze as a character. He was complex, mysterious and I enjoyed the slow reveals, even though they were somewhat predictable. The author did a great job giving you his journey in pieces but connecting it all as a whole. His story was well laid out and I enjoyed watching him overcome his struggles. I also enjoyed the mafia world the author built for us and I loved the “familia” feel to it all, including the betrayal. She did such a great job, I kept wondering if that was how the real Bratva worked.

I hated Alik, as I should have. Again, the author does a fantastic job with her characters, making Alik a true villain of the story. He gave this read just enough darkness to add it to my dark-reads pile. 

And as I stated before, I loved the past and present love story. One was sweet and innocent and the other darkly intense and hella-sexy!

However, with all the wonderful things about this read, there were a few that I didn’t like. I never really connected with Kisa. She wasn’t a bad character and she was obviously strong and did everything right that a heroine should, but for whatever reason, I couldn’t get inside her head space. I never “felt” for her struggle or her situation, even though I knew I should have. And because half the story is told from her POV, I couldn’t connect with half the story. Also, as much as I liked the story itself, I never really got the “feels” out of it I wanted. I’d heard that it was a bit of a tear jerker and that Raze’s reveal was intense and hard to read but I didn’t get that from the story. I wanted to and I think most of the components were there. I just didn’t reach that point and I think I missed out on a lot by not having that experience or that connection. Maybe I was just expecting more from what everyone had told me. Sometimes your expectations can be a let down when you’ve built them too high. 

The Wrap Up: 
Overall, I enjoyed this one and I liked the author's writing style enough that I’ll definitely revisit her work again. In fact, I’ve already added book two in this series to my read pile.

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