Review: ★Raze★ by Tillie Cole

Review- RazeRaze
Series: Scarred Souls #1
Genre: Dark, Erotic Romance
Author: Tillie Cole
Release Date: December 29, 2014add-to-goodreads-button-2

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To take back life, one must first face death…

One man stripped of his freedom, his morals…his life.

Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unremorseful, unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. Death and brutality are the masters of his fate.

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 lied.

Revenge on the man who wronged him.

Revenge on the man who condemned him and turned him into this: a rage-fueled killing machine. A monster void of humanity; a monster filled with hate.

And no one will stand in the way of getting what he wants.

One woman stripped of her freedom, her morals…her life.

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, head of the infamous ‘Triad’ 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. As manager of her father’s death match enterprise, only grief and pain fill her days. Her mafia boss father, in her world, rules absolute. And her fiancé, Alik Durov, is no better; the Dungeon’s five-time champion, a stone-cold killer, the treasured son of her father’s best friend, and her very own—and much resented—personal guard. Unrivaled in both strength and social standing, Alik controls every facet of Kisa’s life, dominates her every move; keeps her subdued and dead inside…then one night changes everything.

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, and a man she must quickly forget…for both their sakes.

But when weeks later, out of the blue and to her complete surprise, he’s announced as the replacement fighter in The Dungeon, Kisa knows she’s in a whole lot of trouble. He’s built, ripped and lethally unforgiving to his opponents, leaving fear in his wake and the look of death in his eyes.

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.

Buy LinksAmazon / iTunes

Review3 starsRaze-DGR

He was as cold as an arctic winter… but he was a beautiful monster…

After so many friends raved to me about how amazing this book was, I was beyond excited to be finally reading it. Given that I’ve also spent quite a few months avoiding it. Why? Because my picky Russian ass has yet to read a book with the MCs being Russian and not having it be butchered to hell and back. So I get a little touchy.

I have to say, I was very impressed with the way the author accurately portrayed the Bratva and the true brutal underbelly of it. The concept and the story were intriguing, violent, intense, and gripping. The book kept my attention the entire time reading it. But unfortunately there were too many issues that I had along with it that ultimately killed my buzz.
Be warned….nitpicking galore to follow…

The character’s names.
First we have Kisa. But here’s the thing; I’ve never heard of a name like this in Russian. Ever. It is a very common term of endearment however. It loosely translates to “pussy cat” or “kitten”. Whatever your fancy. But here’s the issue, Kisa’s fiance likes to call her “Myshka”, which translates to little mouse.

The writing.
OK look, I know I’m picky here but this just didn’t work for me in the least. I found some parts of the book to be choppy. It goes from incredibly emotional and gritty to borderline cheesy.
Like this phrase here:
“Please, sit, papas.”
Why on earth would someone say, “Please, sit, fathers”? Unless you’re in church. But again, that’s neither here nor there. My main issue came with the dialogue, internal and external. The repetitive terminology, especially within the character’s dialogue managed to frustrate me enough to take me out of the story at times.
The overuse of endearments and names within one paragraph being my main issue.
Also, in Russian culture it’s com

The heroine Nothing about Kisa worked for me. She was bland to the point of blending in with the furniture. There was nothing about her that grabbed me as a reader or endeared me. She was weak and her simple acceptance of things just being what they are and such is life did nothing for me either. Don’t get me started on her vagina’s pavlov response to the mere presence of Raze. The woman would walk into a room, see his back without knowing it’s him, and already she’s raring to go?
Taking into consideration her borderline abusive psycho of a fiancé and their relationship, I’m shocked she had no emotional or mental scars. This is especially true towards the end. She moves on from all of it without so much as a bat of a eye lash. No lingering emotional trauma…just is what it is.

The overuse of the word “channel
Perhaps this is just me, but I have never once referred to my southern region as a “channel” during internal monologue during sex. So the fact the Kisa thinks how her clenching channel wrapped around his cock made me wonder if perhaps she was a victorian maiden in her past life.

The overuse of endearments
Considering the gritty and brutal subject matter of this song, I can understand why the author would want to dilute that with a beautiful love story. However, I just can’t picture any person in their late 20s referring to the other as “my love” on a constant and consistent basis. I’m talking about multiple times during one sex scene. Perhaps it’s my inner cynic kicking in, but this was just too much cheese for me.

The graphic sex scenes with Kisa’s fiance
I’m not a reader that has an issue of a graphic sex scene with a person that’s not the main love interest in a romance. Especially not when it fits the plot as it did here. That being said, it didn’t need to be as often or as graphic as it was here. After the first time, I didn’t see a reason for it. Yes, I get it, Alik is brutal and sadisctic. He feels that Kisa is his property and he goes absolutely batshit at another man so much as looking at her. I do NOT want to be reading about this more than I need to which was for basically (view spoiler). Did it fit the plot? Sure. Could it have been toned down? Absolutely.
It could have easily been fade to black or just loosely mentioned. It simply didn’t need to be as graphic as it was past the first 2 times.

Having said all that, the story itself was unique and gripping enough to have me turning the pages. Sure it was a little predictable in places but I don’t think it was ever really meant to be a huge secret. I didn’t see a good part of the ending coming, so in terms of suspense and grit, it certainly fit the bill. Raze was the star of the book. I couldn’t help but fall for him right away. The violence was graphic and at times extremely difficult to read. But at the same time, it just didn’t effect me as much as some of the other gritty and dark books I read. While this may not have completely worked for me, I’m intrigued enough to continue with the series. Hopefully with the next book being traditionally published, some of the issues I had here may be ironed out.

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