Published on: March 7th 2017
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Series: Scarred Souls #4
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)
Stolen by the Arziani Georgian crime mob as a child, 152 was raised and conditioned to be a Mona—the most subservient of the Arziani Blood Pit slaves.
Gorgeous and kind, she has been and under the imprisoning influence of the Type B drug and under the command of the Blood Pit Master’s sister, Mistress Arziani, for most of her life, until the Master calls her back home to Georgia.
He wants her under his total control, and Master always gets what he wants.
But when 152 is gifted to the Blood Pit’s fearsome champion death match fighter as a prize, 152 suddenly finds out that the men who appear most brutal, may just own the kindest hearts. And love may be found, even when living in hell.
Freedom, family, love, 152 will have to fight for what she wants and ultimately make an impossible choice.
Getting to the final book in this series is a bittersweet moment and I was so honoured to be gifted with an ARC, although it has been absolute torture to not be able to talk to anyone about it for the last 4 months!!! As you can probably imagine, the first time I read this book I sped through it so fast just wanting to read it and know how it ended for these characters. Since that first time I have read this book another 6 times, because it is just THAT good.
If you haven’t read any of the previous books in the series I would seriously recommend that you do so before reading Riot. The way the books build on each other and how the characters connect throughout all four books is so incredibly well done, and I’d hate for anyone to not get the full experience of this phenomenal series.
“I had fucked up. He knew. He knew I had noticed her. He’d told me he’d find a weakness. And after all these years, he finally found one.”
Tillie Cole has always had a talent for writing non typical characters and making us feel the opposite of what we think we should feel for them. She has made me feel sympathy for a character that she had spent the 3 previous books making me hate. She’s made me fall in love with killers and torturers who maim and kill for revenge and pleasure but I still love them! How does she do it? I don’t know, but one thing I know for sure is that life would be a whole lot darker without Tillie’s scarred characters in it.
“I want you. I…like you. Too much. I wish I did not.”
According to my previous reviews for this story: Luka’s story as Raze broke my heart, Zaal’s story as 212 ripped my heart to pieces and Valentin as 194 obliterated the whole damn thing. Well, I’m not sure how to go any bigger than that, but this book somehow does and we are given not just one scarred soul but two in the form of 152 (Inessa) and 901 (nope, I’m not telling you his name. You’ll have to wait to find out!). View Spoiler »Ok, it’s Ilya. *swoon* « Hide Spoiler
“You smile at me. No one ever smiles at me.” I took his hand on my lips and brought it to lie over my heart. “You make me want to smile.”
I knew Inessa’s backstory going into this book from the tortured memories from her brother, Valentin. I knew the terror she had been through already and boy did my heart break for her actually having to see what she was forced to go through. But even though she is a victim she is also a survivor. She may be powerless and vulnerable but she is also strong and fights not just for herself but for others who she cares about and who have been through things just as bad as she has. I loved that even after spending her entire life in such a horrific situation she was still able to see the beauty in even the most darkest of things and people.
“You have made me feel, in here. You have made me want thing I never dare let myself want. You have made me want to fight for survival, not pride. I no longer want to die on the pit’s sand like a warrior. I no longer want to die at all.” I held my breath, exhaling only when he said, “You make me want to live.”
Tillie Cole has brought out a side of me I never knew existed: the part that LOVES alpha males. Each of the leading men in this series have called to me and the possessive and violent tendencies that I thought I’d hate have become something that, when Tillie writes, I find incredibly HOT. 901 is no different. He is the most feared, toughest of the tough, undefeated champion of the blood pit. One who has no weakness and lets no one close. For 901 it is all about survival and he wont let anything distract him from that primal instinct. Until he meets 152.
“I chose to take you. I chose to hold you close.” He inhaled. “I chose to make you mine.“
901 and 152 are thrown together in a plot by Master Arziani to gain back control over 901. Unable to resist 152’s beauty, both inside and out, 901 succumbs and becomes the thing he always fought so hard not to be; weak. But that weakness in the eyes of Master Arziani becomes a strength as it develops into a love so strong and pure. Considering the brutal situation the two have been raised in there is a certain innocence to their relationship and I was brought to tears so many times by the raw vulnerability it showed.
“In a world of iron cages and bars, we were taking something of our own.”
Like with previous books we get Luka’s POV mixed in which gives us an insight into how Valentin is adapting to life as a free man. Tortured by the thoughts of his sister he struggles to find peace and more than once his lack of control threatens to ruin any chances of getting his sister back. I felt so much for Valentin in this book and his pain made my heart ache and I had so much hope that his story would end happily and he would be able to find peace.
Through Luka’s POV we are also gifted the other characters from the series that we love including Kisa, Zaal, Talia and Zoya, and we get to see their strength as they prepare for one final fight to free them all from the horrors that plague them. I really loved seeing these characters together and the family that they’ve developed into. The love between them all, such scared and tortured people was just beautiful to see, even if it did petrify me that something was going to happen to ruin it.
“I want this.” He inhaled. “I want this every day. I…” His words cut off, but he forced himself to finish, “I want to be forever with you.“
This story was desperate and heartbreaking, raw and full of emotion. From start to finish I was kept on the edge of my seat, scared to take a break in case something happened to a character I loved. Arziani was probably one of the more unhinged and unpredictable villains I have read for a long time and I honestly had no idea where the story was going to go next. This book is definitely not for the faint of heart with some very dark scenes. To say that I enjoyed this book feels wrong due to it’s dark nature, but I really did.
“You are in my heart. You are in my scarred soul…I am not free if I don’t have you.”
The thing I loved most about this book was how everyone was brought together one final time and as family fought against their demons in order to finally to find their peace. Every single one of these characters deserved love and happiness and I love the way in which Tillie decided to end the series and say goodbye to this group of characters that we have been through so much with.View Spoiler »I absolutely LOVED the epilogue and being able to see all four of our scarred men happy and with their own families. Ending the series with Luka finally taking his place at Pakhan and choosing Zaal, Valentin and Ilya as his Red Kings was just such a beautiful way to do it and seeing them all sat there as brothers made sure I finished this series with tears in my eyes. « Hide Spoiler
“Happy. Together, we make happiness.”
It’s been a horrific and heartbreaking ride, but one filled with more love then my heart could take at times. I am so gutted that this series is over but so so happy about the journey that it has taken me on. An emotional filled roller coaster of a journey, but one I would be happy to take over and over again.
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 vulnerable 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
A Veil of Vines