I have been reading like a mad woman lately, and so I haven’t been spending time on writing or knitting. And while that’s okay, I really need to try to get some projects finished, including a couple gifts before my trip to Michigan in June. However, between book blogs and podcasts, NetGalley, and opportunities to read great books like this one, it’s really hard to tear myself away from my e-reader. Reader problems, I guess. This one was so good, and I’m thinking about using the other books in the series as incentives to get back into a routine and start getting my self back on track.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I received an ARC for an honest review. Minor spoilers below.
To prove he can lead his Bratva, Vasily enlists the aid (i.e., kidnaps) a computer hacker known as the Emperor to help him find a painting. The Emperor is Naomi, a young woman with Aspergers, who is brilliant, self aware, and seems to take no issue with Vasily’s profession or the bodies he leaves behind (don’t worry…they’re all bad guys).
I’ve been pondering reading the Hitman series for awhile, but I wasn’t sure if it was going to be something I’d enjoy. I was excited to get a chance to read this one, the third in the series (it can be read as a standalone), and I confirmed that I definitely need to read the others.
The plot is full of hitman/assassination action, but it’s balanced perfectly with the romance between Vasily and Naomi. The start had me a little worried, as Vasily comes across as extremely cold-blooded, but the plot reveals so many interesting things, and it doesn’t do it all at once…it spreads it out over the whole narrative. The pacing is good, and I never felt a place where there was a lull in action. There were a few places where I thought there were continuity errors, but I was consuming this book, and I might have just missed some details.
Vasily and Naomi are high on the list of my favorite couples. Vasily is cold, but he has his reasons to be. Naomi understands her autism and is frustrated by it, but she continues to be who she is, and though she’s hurt by the unkind words of others, she also knows what she’s good at (hacking computers). The interactions between them go from sweet to sexy and back. I think one of the reasons I loved these two is that Naomi understands that people find her weird. She doesn’t like it, but she knows what it is, whereas Vasily only comes to terms with his own quirks after being around her. He also seems like a contradiction…a ruthless killer who accepts Naomi for who she is and even starts to adore her for it.
Romance Factor is a serious 4/5 on this one with a few Heart Feels and Aw Moments. Their relationship wasn’t quick, starting out as mutual lust. The way it developed between them and then developed them each as a character was very well written. The Sex Factor gets a 5/5. This one doesn’t let up, but neither is it overpowering to the story. Be warned though…there are sexual themes in this book that are not of the romantic kind. They are few and far between, but they’re there and they add to the mood of the story, which is dark and dangerous (and sad).
There wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book, but I will say that while things in the present end well, the book doesn’t give everyone a bright future. I thought this would disturb me more, but it fits with the somber tone of the story, and really, it just means the authors have to write more so I can read more. I’m excited to read the first two in the series now. If you like graphic, dark, Stockholm Syndrome type stories, I think you’ll enjoy this one.