Tropes: Virgin, Mafia, Dark, Forbidden, Close Proximity, Anti-hero, Villain, billionaire, Cliffhanger
Book 1 of 2 in the Bale Villain Series
Before I go into my review, please make sure you check out the author notes before you read. The author has done a great job with outlining content and trigger warnings. This book does have some very heady topics that could be triggering for a reader. I should also note for those that don’t follow my reviews I am notorious for not reading blurbs.
Sarah Bale is a newer to me author and I was not sure what to expect going in. I had not yet read any of her dark mafia romances. A reimagined fairy tale retelling is not new to romance, especially dark romance but this was FRESH. This story was unique. The grittiness of the world, the consuming darkness that comes with being a power player of the underworld was so well done in this story.
Jafar is a very dynamic character. He owns the pages when he is one. The chemistry and the magnetic pull he has over Ellie was all consuming. I wanted more of them at every turn. As the reader I needed more of them together. Their dynamic was angsty and messy. Adding into it that Jafar is married and married to Ellie’s best friend. It makes for a very messy love affair.
The story is mostly written from Ellie’s Point of view and we do have some pages with Jafar’s, but not enough. His inner thoughts would have opened so much more of the story for me. I can’t help feeling like pieces were missing. It was hard to understand why he made the choices he did. Jasmin is kind of trash and I kept waiting for her to get what she had coming..
Ellie is a wallflower living in the shadows, desperate to be noticed, desperate to be loved. You can’t help but feel sorry for her, but at times she is a victim of her own making. The choices she made were difficult to understand. I just had a hard time grasping why she was sticking around, why she continued to allow herself to be used as she did.
As the book ends on a Cliffhanger , Ellie leaves broken with her tail between her legs. This cliffhanger disappoints in a why that was not typical for me. Usually we get a cliffhanger that stops mid action. In this case Ellie is broken. She need to stand tall and make the world see her beauty. I am totally invested in this story and I will be reading book 2 to see how things shake out. I absolutely recommend this book if you are looking for that dark and angsty read, but note the moral grey is in play a lot in this book.