Saturday, July 28, 2018

Raze (Scarred Souls #1) by Tillie Cole ~ Review

Raze (Scarred Souls, #1)Source: Purchased.

Raze (Scarred Souls #1) by Tillie Cole


Conditioned in captivity to maim, to kill and to slaughter, prisoner 818 becomes an unrivaled and unstoppable fighter in the ring. Violence is all he knows. 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 wronged him.

Kisa Volkova is the only daughter of Kirill 'The Silencer' Volkov, head of the infamous 'Red' 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. 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. But Kisa becomes obsessed with him. Yearns for him. Craves his touch. Needs to possess this mysterious man... ... this man they call Raze.

I've had my eye on Raze for a while. Since before I read anything by Tillie Cole, actually, but it wasn't until after I started the Hades Hangmen series (and was enjoying it) that I decided the Scarred Souls series was something I really, really wanted to read. Fast forward to recently when I one-clicked the first 2 books. And then this past weekend when I finally got around to reading Raze. To be wholly honest...Raze did not live up to my expectations.

Let's kick this off with the things I liked about the book:

- The premise. Reading the description, Raze has so. much. potential. It sounds like it could be cool and dark and gritty, with just the right balance of romance. Exactly the kind of thing that would hook me and I'd get obsessed with. I love the idea of this book.

- Raze. He was such a complex character. He struggled with a lot--what was done to him, his memories, his revenge, his emotions... I appreciated getting to be in his head and see things unfold from his perspective.

- The bond between Raze and Kisa. It was so sweet. So beautiful. I LOVED them together. Their connection was palpable.

- It read quick. No parts of the novel dragged for me at all. At no point did I not want to continue reading or want to put the book down or look ahead to see when things would pick up. I was pretty into the book from the first page to the last.

- The dual POV. I said above that I appreciated being in Raze's POV. It really added a lot to the story. I also liked being in Kisa's head and seeing her side of the story. Their experiences and perspectives were so interesting.

Now for the things I did not like:

- I mentioned above that I love the idea of Raze...well, I don't love how the execution of the plot fell so flat for me. It had potential, but I ended up only feeling okay about the book as a whole. It was disappointing.

- The pacing of the story. The whole story is jammed into just a few days--with all the plot and emotion all rushed. If more time was taken to develop the emotions and story and tension on the page, I think it all could have had a much better affect.

- Kisa. I feel for her, I do. She landed in an effed up situation when she was vulnerable and that is NOT her fault. However, I don't think there was much of anything to her character. She was basically just...there. All I could tell you about her is that she loved Raze. She had no personality traits beside that. I wish she'd been a more developed character.

- The world-building seemed kind of iffy to me? Like, okay, there was the fighting ring. That's dark. But I feel like the families were so soft. I don't know. It didn't feel very authentic, I guess. This particular gripe is more of a passing thought than anything that really made me not love the book, so I'm not going to get super up in arms about it.

- The predictable plot. Oh my goodness! This is a big one. I've been non-spoilery in this review out of courtesy and will continue doing so, but really, y'all, if you read this book you'll figure all of the things out VERY quickly. There is no subtlety in the hints (read: neon signs) pointing to the "twist." And the plot...isn't very original. This might not have been something that really bothered me if not for the pacing issue mentioned above--but since it DID have that issue, this just added to the weakening of the story execution, unfortunately.

Overall, Raze has so much potential but ended up falling flat. I did enjoy Raze and Kisa's romance, however, and I am intrigued enough to continue the series. Hopefully the next book will be an improvement.

3 stars - An intriguing series starter, but the overall execution was disappointing.

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