Author: Tillie Cole
Genre: Dark Erotic Romance
POV: First Person – Dual
“Welcome to hell, boy.”
A young boy, shoved into the underground death match ring, stripped off his past and replaced with the only thing he knew – kill or be killed. He was 818, nothing more but a number. He grew up and thrived in the environment and became the undefeated champion and earned the name Raze.
As soon as he was out of the clutch of the ring, he only had one thing in his mind – revenge. Due to the drugs and reconditioning did to him, he couldn’t remember anything of himself and his past, except a long awaited revenge to a certain Alik Durov. He didn’t even remember who Alik was and what he did, except that Alik has to die.
Brooklyn, New York.
Along the path of his revenge, Raze met Kisa who happened to be the daughter of one of the Russian mob boss and the “manager” of The Dungeon, another underground death match ring. Kisa also happened to be the long suffering fiancée of Alik, the man Raze had his sight for.
With Kisa in the picture, Raze’s journey of revenge not only brought him closer to his goal, but also slowly shedding the light of who he really was.
The book started really well. It was dark, gritty and violent. The first 20% I was literally panting from excitement. But then it got too predictable and also too cliché. I really do like the story and it could have been really good, so I’m a little disappointed that it didn’t lived up to its initial excitement.
My problem with this book began when Raze started to get bits and pieces of his past. I felt like there was too much telling. And then it just kept flooding in. I wish there were more hardship/flair/drama in getting back his memories.
And there’s also the constant changing of name, referring to the same person first by given name, then by last name (or vice versa) in the same paragraph, and even in the same sentence. I don’t see the point and it’s annoying.
I’d only ever felt cold before. The cell was cold. Killing was cold… I was always cold, but right now, I was warm… I felt alive. No longer dead inside.
Of course I love Raze. The things he had to go through were horrible. I like that he had the “false innocence” in him on his journey of self-(re)discovery.
I would be a prisoner until I died… the life of a Bratva queen.
I like Kisa to a point. I know she had to swallow a lot of things as the dutiful daughter and fiancée, but there were moments I wanted to slap her with a dead fish. One thing that I have a problem with her (and the story in general) was her reaction to whatever happened to Rodion in the past. Luka overtook everything when it comes to her emotion, but considering who Rodion was, it just seemed not right.
“Then again, if you do this again, I won’t ever be able to trust you, baby. So I’d just have to fucking kill you… and I’d kill myself too. Then we’d be together… always.”
Alik, well that man was something! I don’t think I’ve ever hated a villain so much before. I can usually find their humanity and relate to them no matter how vile they might be. Alik was a lost cause and that made him a good villain.
I think the surprise standout in this book is definitely 362. I really love him. I wish I know more about him, but I suppose I do understand why his character was left unexplored.
I think this book corrupted me (a little more than I already am haha!). All the violence just fueled my bloodlust.
And there were also a lot of violent sex scenes that I somehow find hot. It’s so wrong… I think I need to lay down the dark reads for a while haha!
This review is also available on Goodreads.