Despite my mixed feelings about the first book in this series, I was optimistic that I would enjoy this installment more. And I did. After all, some of my biggest issues with Raze –like the sexual violence against the heroine and the 13 year old having sex– don’t exist here. We have a brand new thoroughly tortured hero, and he definitely satisfied, paired with the headstrong Talia, who I preferred head and shoulders above the much abused Kisa. Yes, I definitely liked this book better. But it did have its own problems.
This go around our hero is Zaal, aka 221, twin brother to Luka’s only friend, 326. (Don’t worry if the numbers confuse you, it’s totally clear in the book.) Anyway, Zaal was snatched as a child just like Luka, only instead of going to the Gulag like his brother, he was a test subject for a drug that made him completely obedient to his Master. He did anything commanded, but mostly killed. He lost all memories of who he was before and doesn’t even speak anymore. He has no idea what’s happening when Luka finds and frees him.
Obviously, it takes Zaal some time to move past the drugs. And in that time, he is kept in the basement of one of Luka’s family homes. One where Talia just happens to be staying. It takes no time at all before her curiosity about her guest morphs into desire and an emotional connection. Really. It’s like no time, which is one of those issues I mentioned.
It’s almost complete insta-love between Zaal and Talia. No matter that their families are bitter enemies. No matter that he had never spoken a word before their first sexual encounter. You just have to go with it.
Zaal rocks the tortured hero thing. Talia is the first light he’s ever had in his life and he worships her. He keeps asking her if she is for him. Which is quite endearing the first five or so times, then it becomes a shtick.
Despite my complaints, I enjoyed the story in a totally escapist way. I liked catching up with Luka and Kisa too. Everything was predictable… but things work out the way you want them to. Even “unnamed female” in the epilogue, I saw coming. But still, a guilty pleasure.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Tillie Cole
Release Date: November 10, 2015
Publisher: St. Martins