Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Misogyny is synonymous with mafia romance. As readers of it, we lie to ourselves, renaming a mafia hero an “alpha-hole” or “anti-hero” to cover our discomfort, accepting and entreating him for more alpha-esque behavior because we deem it “hot.”
Let’s be real about CD Reiss’s Mafia Bride, the first book of Reiss’s mafia trilogy. It’s a captivity narrative, one where the hero is already entranced with the heroine. But it’s love from forced proximity. And it should make readers uncomfortable, but under Reiss’s deft hand, it titillates and excites more than it does anything else because the promise of the antihero’s redemption through love is a siren’s call to a romance reader’s heart.
CD Reiss’s Mafia King is a cavalcade of emotions. With the cliffhanger of Mafia Bride, you enter Reiss’s newest story with trepidation. The feelings professed by Reiss’s Santino late in Mafia Bride now seem disingenuous, and Violetta’s heart has been broken, so you tiptoe into Mafia King with a hand over your eyes simultaneously peeking through your fingers. Reiss has invested you in Santino and Violetta’s journey.
But Mafia King shows us the depth of Violetta’s character. That misogyny I speak of at the beginning of this review is interrogated in Mafia King. The discomfort we’ve felt reading mafia romance is placed under a microscope and Reiss weaves her magic in pointing to problems while trying to find a solution.
This book is more $ex, more drama, and more story but it is still far from the end. In fact, Reiss leaves her readers with a bigger cliffie than the first book. But the true gem of this book is Violetta’s persistence and power. The kingly status of Santino from the first book is now eclipsed with the burgeoning stately queenliness of Violetta.
With the turn of the final page of Mafia King, I groaned in agony. I hope I survive until later in the year when Mafia Queen is released because CD Reiss seriously left her readers hanging by our fingernails with her newest book.
In love and romance,