Author: Tillie Cole
Series: Scarred Souls #4
Genre: dark, contemporary romance
Stolen by the Arziani Georgian crime mob as a child, 152 was raised and conditioned to be a Mona—the most subservient of the Arziani Blood Pit slaves.
Gorgeous and kind, she has been and under the imprisoning influence of the Type B drug and under the command of the Blood Pit Master’s sister, Mistress Arziani, for most of her life, until the Master calls her back home to Georgia.
He wants her under his total control, and Master always gets what he wants.
But when 152 is gifted to the Blood Pit’s fearsome champion death match fighter as a prize, 152 suddenly finds out that the men who appear most brutal, may just own the kindest hearts. And love may be found, even when living in hell.
Freedom, family, love, 152 will have to fight for what she wants and ultimately make an impossible choice.
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4.5 * Riot * stars
Only Tillie Cole can make you fall in love with her damaged characters over and over again, still leaving you begging for more!
'Save the best for the last', that saying fits well with Ms. Cole’s latest and final addition to the Scarred Souls series. Riot was by far the best story in this series. It was darker, grittier, and pumped with a heavy load of angst.
Scarred Souls series revolves around the mafias, violence, power and absolute domination. Child abduction, imprisonment, human trafficking, experimental drugs, trained killers, and forced prostitution remains the main theme. When you think, you’ve seen it all Ms. Cole hits you with Riot; the story of not one but two prisoners, abducted when they were kids, now they are just entities for Master Arziani’s sadistic and twisted entertainment.
901 is the most feared and powerful fighter in the blood pit, all his life he was under the influence of a drug, trained to be a perfect killer. In his empire, where everyone lived in fear, 901 became an undefeated champion, master’s priced possession. When everyone else was stripped of their identity, free will and happiness, 901 held onto his pride; pride as a warrior, pride of refusing to bend to master’s will knowing very well his dismissal would be master’s greatest loss.
Master Arziani is a sadist through and through, he doesn’t just inflict pain on his slaves, he controls them with his mind games. 901 is what makes his Blood Pit flowing with money but his lack of submission questions Master's authority. He gives away his slave 152, high mona meant for sexual pleasure as a gift to 901. If 901 can’t be controlled by any other means, having a leverage would be a game changer.
152 wakes up in a hazy state, she has no memory of who she is or where she is but a distant face of a young boy, a voice in her head keeps telling her to hold on a little while longer, that he will get her out of this hell. Once a slave to the mistress her beauty beholds the eye of Master Arziani. She is soon called to Georgia to be his high mona, meant for his twisted pleasure. Day in and day out she is used and abused, same routine every day and the hope of being rescued slowly fades away until one night she is locked up in a cell with 901
Riot wasn’t an easy read, it was dark to the point where certain situation leaves your stomach in knots. It was edgy, suspenseful and the anticipation of what’s going to happen is heart-numbingly palpable. All I can say is, this is a perfect ending to the series, beyond the darkness and disturbing events Ms. Cole still managed to add the essence of love, healing, and happiness.
“You are in my heart. You are in my scarred soul.”I loved the ending, there is a sense of peace to see all the main characters under one roof, living as a family. The author always seems to have a cure for all the heartache she made us endure and I love her for that!
A phenomenal writer and a master storyteller indeed!
*ARC kindly provided by the publisher St. Martin's Press, via NetGalley for an honest review*