Monday, January 5, 2015

Christie's review: Raze by Tillie Cole


Title: Raze
Series: Standalone
Author: Tillie Cole
Release Date: December 30, 2014
Rating: 5 stars
Cliffhanger: No

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.

This book is essentially about the depths of depravity and torment that one man must endure to make his way to freedom and the one woman who was born to be his. Luka Tolstoi is one of three princes of New York's Russian Mafiya. Kisa Volkova is the Mafiya princess who had his heart from the first time he set eyes on her as a child. And those eyes. *sigh* I loved the detail about his eyes holding a piece of hers inside them-it was such a romantic piece of an otherwise violent and brutal story.

Mama said God placed a piece of my eye within his so we would always know we shared one soul.

If it weren't for things like this, I don't know if I would have loved the book as much, although as beautifully as it was written I know I still would have appreciated its impact on me. This book is one that will hopefully reach inside you and make you hurt for this horribly wronged and tortured hero. I know I did. But what this man becomes in order to keep his body and soul intact makes his fated love story all the more powerful and significant. What he becomes is a monster, a killer.

In these three families, there is a betrayal, a murder, and an injustice. Luka is sent away and he's lost forever, even to himself. He's sent to Hell on earth-a place where boys go and fight to the death, they're tortured, beaten, and treated as animals. Only the strongest of the strong survive for long and Luka (now Raze) becomes a stone cold killing machine with no thoughts other than training and his next kill. Until his escape. Now he has one thought, one goal:


Kisa is the dutiful Mafiya daughter. She loves her family, and though she's terrified of her fiancé, Alik Durov, she continues to do whatever is required of her and take his abuse. After Luka is sent away, she became almost numb and he was able to slip in and take control of her. Alik is an extremely dangerous and abusive person, but Kisa blindly ignores the signs that he could easily eventually kill her. One one hand, it was really frustrating how she allows his horrible treatment of her. He was really scary with her and she never speaks up and talks to her family about it. But the way she mentally checked out after losing her soul mate makes it believable, though I didn't like it.

I hardly recognized the girl before me anymore. She got lost somewhere over the years, hiding away, running for her life.

Raze returns to New York and when he and Kisa's paths intersect again, he feels that same immediate urge to protect her even though he holds no memories of his past. Everything before the underground prison is a total blank. Tortured out of him through electric shock and drugs. But being near her starts making him feel things.

Warmth filled my chest like the sun had moved its home inside of me. I'd only ever felt cold before. The cell was cold. Killing was cold...I was always cold, but right now, I was warm...I felt alive. No longer dead inside.

Kisa is just as conflicted. This man who appears to be the love of her life, who she believed was dead isn't the same man she holds in her memories. 

This couple is anything but your average sweethearts. What they both have to endure is downright gutting at times. So much pain, heartbreak, and injustice. I wanted an emotional read that would really hit hard and that's what I found in Raze. Tillie Cole leaves me breathless how she can depict each scene with such skill that every one of my senses are right there inside the world she creates. Feeling, seeing, and hearing every emotion and experience that each character experiences. This was one of those books for me that I started late at night and literally was so transported into the story that I fell asleep while holding my kindle, woke up, and immediately read the last section of the book. It's the definition of un-put-downable for me. Would I recommend this book? Hell yes, I would. I was nervous to try this one out because I thought it might be too difficult to read but that wasn't the case at all. It's well worth the pain for the beauty of Kisa and Luka.

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