Are you in the mood for dark romance? Are you also a fan of mafia romance and enemies to lovers? Then read this review and see if this book is for you!
This is the seventh book of the Cavalieri Della Morte collection. The novel is written by author Cora Kenborn and can be read as a standalone.
You don’t necessarily need to read the previous books to understand this one, as they focus on different characters, the plot is unique, and all the little details that you need to understand are in her novel.
Before we start, I’ll let you know that this is a super dark romance book, so beware!
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Darkest Deeds, A Dark Romance-Blurb
If your name is on my list, your time is up.
No regrets. No mercy, No conscience.
Until the enemy becomes my darkest obsession.
I came to take her life but claimed it instead.
Stolen in the night.
Held against her will.
Bound to a monster.
My vow of vengeance is now a game of survival.
I warn her not to trust men with sin on their lips and ice in their veins.
She cautions me not to be deceived by my own eyes.
Neither of us listens.
I trusted Ava with my heart.Darkest deeds, cora kenborn
She trusts me with her life.
We all make mistakes.
This was my first time reading this author, and I’m glad I did. I plan to read more of her books and possibly the rest of the series.
In short, Niko Gaheris is a highly trained assassin who is assigned to kill Ava Chernova, the daughter of a Russian mafia boss. These two have a history together, one that ended brutally for both of them.
Niko holds Ava accountable for what happened and makes it his mission to get revenge. Besides dealing with his sudden reappearance in her life, she’s also plotting to obtain her freedom by working with the FBI on a highly dangerous operation that is supposed to take down her father.
Ava and Niko’s journey is dark and complicated. Two broken people who don’t know how to trust each other anymore. Niko always thinks the worst about Ava. She’s not an angel, don’t get me wrong. She has a morally questionable job (albeit she hates it), does whatever she thinks is necessary, is depraved and twisted, and the list can go on.
The first 40% is pure awesomeness. I literally have nothing to complain about. Cora Kenborn seems super skilled at creating flawed and twisted characters that are more complex/layered than they appear at first glance.
To me, what stands out the most are
- The heroine, Ava Chernova. She is broken, lives a morally questionable life, was abused most of her life either by her father or by other men, yet there is no denying she’s a fighter. A true badass who doesn’t wait for a prince to save her. She’s not opposed to doing the dirty work in order to free herself from the hell her father puts her through. I think it’s fair to say she stole the show.
- The chemistry between Ava and Niko. Here is some proof. That’s all I’m going to say.
I’ve thought about over the years. To remind you of your promise. But most of all, to make you fear me. To make you wonder which day will be the one I’ll come for you. Wonder when I’ll break you. Wonder when I’ll mindfuck you so hard, you’ll surrender your freedom, your tears, your obedience. Wonder which day I’ll finally let you in, and trust me, Ava, you don’t want in.” He takes a deep breath, his ruthless voice deceptively soft in my ear. “Because what lives inside is the monster you created.”darkest deeds, 23%, cora kenborn
What is it about you, Ava? Countless men have begged for their lives, and I didn’t hesitate to slit their throats, but you—fuck, you make me crazy.Darkest deeds, 31%, cora kenborn
- The dialogue. I’ve never realized so clearly how much the dialogue can make or break a story. In Darkest Deeds, the dialogue is so strong and purposeful that I felt I was reading an actually serious book. Why am I saying this? Because I’ve read enough romance books where the plot is just an excuse for the sex scenes. Those books immediately strike me as low quality. Plus, all they do is strengthen the stigma that romance novels are associated with. In addition to the qualities I mentioned, it sounds realistic and in tune with the characters and the kind of world they live in.
Overall, Cora’s writing style is special. Her storytelling is mature, developed and so intriguing that all I wanted was to keep reading and reading. I also enjoyed the sarcasm she masterfully uses to define the characters.
In the end, their story is about lies, betrayal, murder, and violence, but also about second chances and strength.
What I didn’t like
Moving on to what I didn’t like. There aren’t many things, most of them details, and a few of them may be my lack of attention while reading. The list below contains minor SPOILERS, so consider yourselves warned!
- How she managed to escape twice while with Mikhail. It was almost too easy. But it wasn’t over the top, and it had some credibility to it.
- Also had a minor problem with the elaborated plan at the end. It just seems a little hard to pull off when you’ve just come up with it. And the grenade thing?? Not that it wasn’t badass from her, but where did she get it in such a short period of time? Maybe it was me and I missed something.
- And the hangar scene? I haven’t figured out what Ava was trying to accomplish with that and why it was necessary, especially the part where she shot Niko.
- One more thing that confused me was that in Chapter 30, Niko figured out that Ava was going to meet with the FBI agent and was going to turn herself in for killing her father (even if she didn’t do it). But I remember that I read later that she told the FBI agent exactly what happened, that Niko killed her father and that she killed her step-brother eight years ago. So what was the plan?
- Also, her father had told her that Dmitry was dead, but when she talked on the phone with Ethan, and he told her that Dmitry called and said whatever, she didn’t appear to realize that he lied to her, as she knew D was dead.
So this comes down to a few minor technical details that, as I mentioned, could be my own misunderstanding. They weigh little as far as quality goes.
I’m giving this 4.5 stars out of 5.
Who do I recommend this to?
If you love or are looking for romance novels that have these:
- REALLY DARK ROMANCE BOOKS!
- hero who makes heroine suffer
- heroine is strong, feisty, NOT a damsel in distress
- depraved and twisted hero and heroine
- heroine is a stripper/occasionally offers sexual services
- enemies to lovers
- hero wants and tries to kill heroine
- dark mafia affairs
- blood and knife kink
- captive dark romance
- suspense, lies, secrets
- hero who wants revenge
- hero who hates heroine
- 6 years age gap
Rape, heroine who practices prostitution, death (not of a main character), hero who hurts heroine, blood and knife kink, abuse.
That’s about it. If you like my review and want to purchase and read the book, you can use my link on the right. I have it in Kindle format, but there’s also paperback and, I think, audiobook.
Share your opinion in the comments!:)