This one was another great, thrilling read by Tillie Cole. After reading the previous installment in the series I was more than excited to read ‘Ravage’, Zoya’s story (Zaal’s little sister, the male main character from the previous book). This installment is as dark, gritty and intense as the others and while I didn’t love it as much as the other books in the series, I enjoyed it very much. It made me cringe, it kept me at the edge of my seat and most of it made me fall in love with the two damaged main characters. ‘Ravage’ was brutal and gut-wrenching at times, but it also was hopeful and emotional and I really enjoyed how Tillie Cole mixed everything together.
“I’m not only scarred on the outside, Kotyonok; I’m scarred on the inside: my mind, my heart, and my soul…… I am your Tbilisi monster…”
Abducted as a child by the Jakhua Clan ‘194’, Valentin was drugged, abused in every single way and trained to be a killing machine. When he kills he gets relief in some way, but that doesn’t mean he likes what he does. 194 is different from the other men like him, the drugs pumped on him only work temporarily, so he’s not 100% obedient. But he must fake it since he has one important reason, to protect his little sister who like him is a prisoner. 194’s last target is Zaal Kostova. In order to get any kind of information about his target, he kidnaps Zoya, Zaal’s sister. He doesn’t know who she is to Zaal, but he knows they are connected somehow.
Zoya Kostova was thought dead almost by everyone since her parents were killed and her brothers kidnapped. She always hoped her brothers are still alive somehow and even if all this time she stayed hidden she tried to find them. She’s looking forward to meet Zaal when she finds out he’s alive, but everything changes for her when she is taken by a huge, scarred and muscled man. She is tortured for information, at first being scared for her life and for Zaal’s life, but as time passes she realizes her captor is just like her, broken. Everything changes when they start to feel things for each other they shouldn’t be feeling.
“I knew his life had been as impossible as mine. Knew he wasn’t truly as evil as he seemed. He was just like my Anri and Zaal. Like me. Broken.”
Tillie Cole delivered one thrilling, intense read that held me captive the entire time. I love her writing style and I enjoyed very much the mafia/suspenseful aspect. IMO the pace of the story was perfect for a raw an gritty read.
Valentin and Zoya were two broken characters I sympathize with from the beginning. Their backgrounds were well done and really heartbreaking. I loved the way Valentin was portrayed. At times it wasn’t easy to read his story. I love a broken hero, but I have to say my heart really broke for this tormented soul who lost himself (almost all of him) over the years. His love for his sister and also his devotion and protectiveness were really heart-warming. The way he struggled with his feelings for his captive felt realistic to me. If at first he’s cold towards Zoya, wanting so badly to hate her, as the story unfolds he empathize with her, starting to care about her more than he thought he would care for someone.
“She didn’t lie. She looked at my fucked-up face and didn’t lie. She thought me beautiful. No one ever looked beyond my scars. I was Mistress’s ugly beast, a killer, nothing more.”
I loved Zoya’s strength and determination. She was strong and brave not only because she tried so hard to protect her brother’s identity, but also because she tried to make Valentin realize that he’s human, that she is just like him. I loved how gradually she showed Valentin that he can be loved and the way she accepted him, all of him…simply wonderful!
What didn’t work for me as much as I would have liked was the relationship between these two characters and the romantic aspect. Don’t get me wrong, I loved how they were with each other and everything and of course how they healed each other (the idea), but IMO the transition from captor/captive to lovers was a little rushed. So while the suspense aspect was perfection IMO, the romantic one was a little…or more…underdeveloped. And that’s why I guess, I didn’t connect too much with them as a couple.
That being said, I liked this one and I’m looking forward to read the next installment in the series!