Published on: November 10th 2015
Series: Scarred Souls #2
Genre: NA Romance
Buy UK . Buy US. Goodreads
This book is part of the Scarred Souls Series. You can find more of my reviews via the links below:
(summary from Goodreads)
Raised as a prototype for the Georgian Bratva’s obedience drug, 221 fails to think, act, or live for himself; he’s his master’s perfectly-crafted killing puppet. Standing at six-foot-six, weighing two-hundred-and-fifty pounds, and unrivaled in to-the-death combat, 221 successfully secures business for the Georgian Mafiya Boss of NYC, who rules the dark world of the criminal underground. Until his enemies capture him.
Talia Tolstaia dreams to break from the heavy clutches of Bratva life. She dreams of another life–away from the stifling leash of her Russian Bratva Boss father and from the brutality of her work at The Dungeon, her criminal family’s underground death-match enterprise. But when she stumbles upon her family’s captive who is more monster than man, she starts to see the man underneath. A powerful, beautiful, damaged man whose heart calls to hers.
But sacrifices must be made – blood for blood…life for life…souls for scarred souls…
Getting my hands on a Tillie Cole book is like Christmas and my birthday all rolled into one. This is my 9th Tillie Cole book (and blog tour) which makes her my most read author and with books like this one there is no doubt why. Finding out that Tillie’s standalone novel Raze was being made into a series was so exciting and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been waiting in anticipation for this book.
If you haven’t read it already I highly recommend that you read Raze first. Technically you can read this book as a standalone as it is the story of 221 and Talia. But it also builds upon Luka’s story that began in Raze and connects the two books together and makes it even more intense and emotional as a series.
Where else to start with this review but with 221. Physically strong, covered in scars he is the scariest kind of bad boy. But beneath the battle scars is a vulnerability, a man with no memory of his past, of his family and of love. A man who is very much like the strong but damaged Raze that we met in book one, but also so much different at the same time.
Luka’s story as Raze was heartbreaking. I remember sobbing my way through the first book as his past was revealed bit by bit and 221’s story was no different. We discover the truth of his past, slowly and painfully and I felt my heart breaking piece by piece as I read through his devastating story.
“Something inside of me cooled. The rage that always ran through my veins calmed. It was still there, I could feel it bubbling under the surface, but her warm hand had calmed it. I took a deep breath. There was no pain, no poison, just the feeling of her.”
Talia is a character we have met before but never really delved too far into. As Kisa’s best friend and Luka’s brother she was very much a supporting character in Raze, but in Reap we get to see the real Talia who struggles immensely with the life that she has been born into and longs for the opportunity to get away from the brutality and the pain that it brings.
I really liked Talia because she was one of those characters who was willing to put everything on the line for love. She is kind, caring and she takes no s**t from anyone. She may shy away from her bratva upbringings but at heart she is one of the and she fights for that which she loves and believes in.
“We’d bared our pasts, we’d fought our fates. And at the end, left over was only the purest form of love. Of need. Of US.”
The love story in this book was very much follows a Romeo and Juliet forbidden love theme as the true identity of 221 is discovered and old family feuds threaten to ruin the feelings developing between Talia and 221.
I loved them as a couple, just as much as I love Luka and Kisa (whose relationship we also get to see develop further in this book too!) and wow did they fill my heart with butterflies. Only Tillie Cole could write a man as scarred as 221 with a heart so beautiful. I loved the slow development of their feelings as Talia cared for 221 and how he learnt to trust her a little more every day and finally love her. This couple broke my heart and melted it all in one go.
“I fell for our greatest enemy. I fell in deep, and gifted him all of my heart.”
I have to mention Luka here because although Reap isn’t his book, it is the continuation of his story and it is the thing that connects Raze and Reap together. 6 months after the events of Raze have taken place Luka is still struggling to leave the cage behind and embrace his new role of knayz and heir to the throne of the Russian Mafia.
But most heartbreaking is the fact that Luka continues to deal with the demons of his past, with the guilt that haunts him for death of his only friend, 362, at his own hands. His promise of revenge, of retribution is the only thing on his mind and so when he figures out the connection between 221 and 362, he knows he will stop at nothing until he frees him from his sadistic captors.
“Be strong. Keep strong.”
I really liked Tillie’s choice of POV’s in this book as yet again she doesn’t write in a set way. We swap between Luka, 221 and Talia in a way that really works with Tillie choosing the POV of the character that can give us the most important view for where we are at in the story.
I really like the sense of family in this series. You think a book about the mafia would be all darkness and murder, but there is love in the family ties that join our characters in this story, and also in the bond between brothers, blood related or not. There were some really great new friendships made in this book and I can’t wait to see how they develop further though this series.
“And in that moment I knew- I was losing my heart to the object of my family’s deepest hatred.”
Only Tillie Cole can write a book which makes my heart break and melt at the same time, which will make me swoon whilst crying. Reap may not be as dark as it’s predecessor but it is just as gritty and heartbreaking. Once again Tillie Cole takes us through this rollarcoaster of emotions and I finished this book a puddle of emotion with the inability to even speak, let along write a review for this incredible book!
“You are … for me?”
I’m running out of ways to declare my love for Tillie Cole! This book blew me away and was an incredible continuation of the Scarred Souls series. Never before Tillie Cole would I have thought I could connect to such dark, damaged characters. But she writes them in such a beautiful way that it’s impossible not to fall in love with them.
As a last note I have to mention Tillie’s little teaser at the end of this book, which sets everything up perfectly for the next book. I’m pretty sure those of us who have read this book know exactly who our mysterious character at the end is and so are even more desperate for Tillie to get her next book out in the world so we can experience another totally amazing book!
Re-Readability: HELLS YEA!
I would recommend this book to: Tillie Cole fans, fans of dark romance, fans of guys who fight a lot, fans of bad but also vaulnerable boys, fans of a totally intense read.
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Other books by Tillie Cole you should check out:
Sweet Home . Sweet Rome . Sweet Fall . Sweet Hope . Sweet Soul
It Ain’t Me Babe . Heart Recaptured . Souls Unfractured . Deep Redemption
A Thousand Boy Kisses