Today it’s my turn to post my review of RAZE by Tillie Cole! I was lucky enough to be given an ARC so here’s my review and all the details you need to know! PLUS there’s an EXCERPT!
Author: Tillie Cole
Age group: Mature new adult
Genre: Dark contemporary romance
Release date: 30th December 2014
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.
For once in my life I am speechless. Stunned. Lost. After finishing this book I thought, what am I meant to do now? How can you go back to normal after finishing that?! I don’t think I truly understood the concept of a book hangover until RAZE, to be so hung up on a story, on a bunch of characters, that thinking about anything else, doing anything else, seems like an impossibility. The depth of emotion in this book left me reeling. I can safely say that this book is one of, if not the, best book I’ve ever read – if you don’t go and buy it now I may have you committed….no really, I will.
Kisa is the daughter of New York’s Russian Bratva boss, Kirill ‘The Silencer’ Volkov, the head of the infamous ‘Triad’ of bosses. She is protected, hidden and controlled – her every move is watched, her clothes, actions and words are chosen for her, nothing is her own. Growing up she had the other Bratva boss children – her brother Rodion, Alik, Luka and his sister Talia but then everything changed.
Luka was born with brown eyes but in one there was a smudge of blue – the exact shade of blue of Kisa’s eyes. Their mothers declared it was a sign they were meant for each other – that their souls matched. They were inseparable and even at a young age Kisa new there would never be anyone else for her.
But in a tragic event she lost both her brother and Luka leaving her with only his sister and Alik. Alik had always had his sights set on her but he’s disturbed, insane, his love for her was a need, a hunger; he needed her to calm the demons inside. From the moment after Luka’s death Alik claimed Kisa as his own and has controlled her every move ever since.
Kisa must learn to be the perfect Bratva wife – never speaking out of turn, doing as her husband says and volunteering at church to redeem their families’ sins. Having been engaged to Alik for two years now she knows that when they finally do get married it will only get worse. His abuse, anger and rage are something she’s come to deal with but as they still live in different houses until they’re married she has yet to endure it 24/7.
The Bratva run an underground gambling ring called The Dungeon, a cage where men fight to the death all in the name of money and family honour. Alik is the undefeated champion, choosing to feed his bloodlust by butchering his opponents. Kisa helps to manage the ring and even approves of Alik’s participation – if he lets out his rage in the ring then maybe her treatment will be better.
Enter Raze. Taken as a young boy he remembers nothing about his past. Kept in a dungeon, abused, drugged & beaten, he is kept locked away with other boys like him and forced to fight to the death with one another in a cage. Drugged to make them forget themselves and to fuel their eternal bloodlust, he only knows himself as fighter 818 – no name, just a number – though the guards call him raze as he would “raze any fucker that got in my way”. When he was first taken one of the other boys warned him he would forget himself and if he had any hope of staying alive then he should write his revenge on his cell’s wall – write the name of the person who put him in there, write down the reasons for him to keep going, so that one day he can have his revenge.
As one of the best fighters they have he’s survived the ring for over a decade until one day a riot breaks out and he manages to escape. So he did the only thing he could remember – go seek his revenge. Making his way to Brooklyn he begs for money on the street to earn the funds he needs and its here that he meets Kisa whilst she’s out with the church food van.
But what they don’t know is that their paths will cross a lot more than just the few meal times they share, for his revenge not only leads him back to Kisa but also to the Dungeon as he becomes they’re newest fighter. Drawn to him in ways she knows she shouldn’t Kisa watches him in the gym, stealing glances when she knows Alik is gone.
But the problem is Raze looks back at her too and if things continue Alik is sure to notice and punish Kisa for her wrongs, or worse kill her. The longer Raze is away from his prison, from the drugs, the more he starts to remember and there’s something about Kisa that he is drawn to, that helps to ease his pain.
Will Raze finally have his revenge and remember where he comes from? Is he the answer to all of Kisa’s prayers – will she ever be free of Alik’s control? Or will they be able to save each other?
If I could marry this book I’m pretty sure I would. It has something for everyone – romance, drama, violence, pain, heartbreak, joy….dear Lord there are just too many FEELS! My heart pounded for the majority of this book and I’m pretty sure my mouth was gaping open for most of it too. This book definitely needs a warning: booze, chocolate, tissues and panties are all an essential requirement for this book, mostly because of all of the feels but also because Oh. Holy. Yum. Raze is just delicious!! Can I keep him? Please!!! If you don’t go and buy this book right now there is clearly something wrong with you!
What are you waiting for? One-Click NOW!
Oh and PS.
Raze is mine 😉
Here’s an Excerpt!
Gunshot after gunshot and the tumult of shouting pounded through the stone ceiling as I paced the small area of my dank cell. Above me was a stampede, the thunder of hundreds of feet; prisoners were on the loose. And here I was trapped in this fucking cell!
I need to get out. I must get out! I screamed inside my head as I ran my hand over the metal bars keeping me trapped inside.
Charging the door of my cell, my right shoulder slammed into the metal. It didn’t even shake. Wrapping my hands tightly around the bars over the “window,” I scanned the dimly lit hallway, its flickering dull bulbs swinging back and forth from all the heavy movement upstairs. This level of the prison, the Gulag as it was known amongst the inmates, was reserved for us champions, the most prized of the death fighters. The fucking killers, the murderers, the monsters they’d created to want nothing but to feel rage and spill blood. We were jailed in the bowels of this shithole, no chance of escape. Our cells were too far apart to ever see another fighter except when we were training.
My breathing became ragged. Bellowing in frustration, I pulled on the steel bars, my arm joints creaking with the enormous pressure I put them under. My bulging, drug-created muscles corded with the effort. I roared out a final yell when they refused to budge.
The shot they’d just given me was making my skin crawl and was evoking the need to fight. I was scheduled to fight later tonight. I felt rage, nothing but rage.
I needed to kill. It was the only way to stop the rage.
The first shot had been fired about thirty minutes ago, I guessed. I didn’t know; time had no meaning in the Gulag.
I could hear the other fighters shouting, screaming that they’d been released, could hear the screech of cell doors being wrenched open, the screams of men dying.
I was fucking incensed.
I wanted blood.
And I needed to fight!
My blood boiled under my flesh, fiery, searing, preparing me for a fight to the death. To do what I did best—maim, slaughter… kill.
Roaring out, I released the cell bars and once again began pacing the cell. My eyes, even in the dark, focused on the wall and the name engraved in the stone. Alik Durov. Underneath was an address. Brooklyn, New York. Below that, a motive. Revenge. Lastly, there was a clear instruction. Kill.
I had no memory of writing it down, no memory of my life before this place. Didn’t know if I ever had a life outside of these stone walls. My brain had shut down, blocking out anything but the need to kill, erasing any knowledge of who I was, where I was from, and why I was in this fucking shithole. But one thing was certain. I had written that name, that address, that motive, and that instruction. When I stared at those jagged letters carved permanently on the wall in my line of sight, anger consumed every cell in my body and I knew, without a doubt, I had to do what the inscription commanded.
But I had to get out of this place first.
The sound of the hallway door slamming open echoed off the walls. I rushed to the bars to see what the fuck was happening. My skin was itching with the need to break free, to join the fight… to get my revenge.
The clinking of cell doors opening made my heart race faster. My knuckles cracked with the intensity of my grip on the bars.
“Get me the fuck out!” I growled as I heard heavy footsteps approach my cell. My cheek pressed hard on cold metal as I stretched to see who was coming, my hands rocking the cell door until blood began to ooze from the constantly splitting skin on my fingers.
“Go! Go!” a male voice ordered a prisoner, and I heard a man running away. “They’ve been overpowered. Head for the east gate.”
They’ve been overpowered. Hearing these words spoken out loud, I lost it. Wildfire pulsed through my veins. Running to the back of my cell, I charged the door, my shoulder dislocating with the force.
Seizing my right hand, I popped my shoulder back in place. “GET ME THE FUCK OUT!” I bellowed, my voice sounding as sharp as razors.
The light above my cell flickered off, plunging me into darkness, but it didn’t matter. I could hear everything, I’d learned to embrace the dark. Thudding on the stone floor made its way toward me. My roaring and bellowing increased.
Suddenly, the footsteps stopped and I could hear the sound of heavy breathing outside my cell.
“Get. Me. The. Fuck. Out,” I warned. I caught a nervous flicker of movement to my right.
Two men were pussying out of facing me head on.
“It’s him,” one of them whispered as my jaw ticked in annoyance. “It’s 818.”
“I won’t tell you again. Get me the fuck out, or when I find you, I’ll snap your spines,” I threatened in a low voice, as the bars creaked louder with the pulsating power of my anger.
The men still didn’t move. I could smell their fear and it just fucked me off even more.
“Get him out!” a voice ordered from behind and, suddenly, the familiar face of 362 came into view—my greatest rival but the man I spoke to and respected most.
362 grabbed a key and unlocked my door, his broad chest bare, black sweatpants covering his legs and his long black hair hanging down his back. He swung the door open and met me toe to toe at the entrance. His brown eyes bored into mine as my chest pumped with adrenaline. Then he smirked and slapped me on the arm, laughing. Shaking my head, I sized up the two men who blocked my way and then I smiled. I could kill the two weak fuckers in seconds. Snap their necks before they could fucking blink.
The smell of piss filled my nostrils as the two men stood frozen, wide eyes fixed on me. Then the tension of the moment was shattered when a gunshot rang out from upstairs.
Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, 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.
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