Friday, April 26, 2019

Book #Review: Enthralled (The Enslaved Duet 1) by Giana Darling .@GianaDarling

Book Title: Enthralled (The Enslaved Duet 1)
Author:  Giana Darling |WebsiteTwitterFacebook| Instagram
Publisher: Giana Darling
Genre: Dark New Adult, Dark Romance,
Series/Standalone: Book 1
Format: ebook, Trade paperback
Cost: $3.99
Pages: 394
How I got it: Purchased
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Publisher
Publication Date: March 2019
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It was the biggest day of my life. I know most people say that about something joyous; a graduation, a wedding ceremony, the birth of their first child. My situation was a little different.

Sure, it was my eighteenth birthday, but it was also the day that I was sold.
Sold to a man with hair like a crown of gold and eyes blacker than the darkest pits of Hell.
He bought me to own me, to control me, and to use me as a means to an end.
I was his tool and his weapon.
And through it all, somehow, I also became his salvation.
There are so many feelings I have about this book, I'm not sure where I'm supposed to go with it. First I went into this based on the review of a fave booktuber (Jess from Peace Love, Books) and I'm just a mixed bag of emotions ever since the book finished.  There are so many things going on in this story and it's all so complicated. There are many moving parts and just...OMGawd. The story was extremely engaging and the writing wonderful even if a bit poetic at times but once you got used to the writing style it wasn't a problem. I will give trigger warnings for those who need them, discussion of anorexia, sex trafficking, and suicide are within this novel.

Ok let's start with the fact that the protagonist is being manipulated by so many different people that it's impossible to see where she's going. Everyone has their reasons for using her to get to the other and no one is including her in the choice, of course almost all the people manipulating her young heart and life are the powerful men playing at getting back at each other.

Cosima is a young model struggling to support herself and her family. Born into poverty in a town controlled by the mafia and its violence, she's one of the few people in her family trying to stay above water. Her father is a drunk who gambles the families livelihood away, her mother is a devout wife and Catholic who despite all the reasons she should leave to protect her children actually puts them in deeper harm. She's hellbent on penance and suffering, even though as a child and even now Cosima doesn't' see her failings. (she's an infuriating insufferable idiot but we don't learn all of that until later & I'm so effing pissed at this woman, like all of this could have been avoided if she wasn't such an effing coward).

Cosima and her twin brother are pushed into using their beauty as models so they can earn money to protect their younger siblings from the terrible decisions her parents are and have made.  She puts herself into a risky situation and saves a man's life, in doing so puts the crosshairs of unseen enemies unto herself. Once the ball gets rolling and debts are called in her father who is another massive coward uses her as his trump card and sells her to pay his debts. Cosima sees little alternative to aide her family as her father's enemies are powerful and she's afraid of it blowing back on her family.

Trapped with a beast who now owns her, she's furious when she realizes the ties she has to this person. Forced into sexual slavery, she discovers a part of her craves giving up control. This she fights the best she can until she realizes that she's only hurting herself even more. Her sentence is for five years, and she's negotiated a deal that aides her family in getting out, now she's here not because of her father's debts but because of her own deal. While their initial scenes maybe triggering for some, they are very darkly erotic.

Then the story just unfolds beautifully, we get more mystery as the hands that are pulling the levers begin to be revealed and until the very end, we don't know who all the players in this game are. We get mystery, murder and mayhem, which while going in I didn't expect. I wouldn't necessarily call this one a romance, it's an extremely dark new adult with a few erotic moments.  I will say I was very intrigued by all the moving parts, the mystery the who done it of it all. The past comes back full force and the part that an unsuspecting villain plays is heart rendering. There are moments when Cosima is close to seeing some of the true nature and yet she is unwilling to see it. As the story unfolds and we learn that even her beast has monsters who can and will harm him, I'm even more intrigued. Who scares the big bad?? Unfortunately, we are given the answer to that and I just can't deal. I wanted to reach into the book and break them all. That moment is when we realized even he was making the most of bad situation and it wasn't all that it seemed and we get a glimpse of the hidden man.

As I stated there are many hidden and moving parts. So many enemies masquerading as friends, and hidden friends among them all. It's so engaging that I finished it in one weekend because I just needed to know. I'm on pins and needles until the second comes out in May. I want to know how it all unfolds. I want to know more about her brother and what's happening in his life.   I definitely had a deadly book hangover when I was done and didn't know what to do with all these feels.

Once out of the book, it reminded me of another I read a year or two ago and also a true life story I read about trafficking that told of a fame similar to the one played in this book and by similar men ( I believe even a royal of Europe was arrested in the sting operation). It made it even more real and brutal to know that these games do truly exist.

At the end we are left on a cliffhanger, how does it all turn out?? I looked and saw that the second comes out May 31st (to which I have already pre-ordered) and that the other family members have books. I'm hoping she comes out with a book for the brother soon as well because hello?? That sounds awesome.
Happy Reading my loves, 

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