Now that Viktor and his brother Aleksio are reunited, they continue their seemingly impossible search for their youngest brother Kiro. Viktor's story actually starts somewhat in the first book, when he discovered that his one true love, Tanechka, survived the night he attempted to kill her for betraying their mafia family. Now she's posing as a nun, held captive in the dark world of human skin trade, and Viktor will do anything to get her back and earn her forgiveness.
Although Wicked Mafia Prince is a standalone romance, it is the second story of the Dragusha brothers and their attempts to find Kiro and overthrow Bloody Lazarus. The overall story takes a more urgent turn in the search for Kiro and standoff with Lazarus, yet those storylines aren’t completed by the end of the book.
While in the end, I found Viktor and Tanechka a perfect pair, I struggled a lot with their “romance.” Tanechka has amnesia and has lived the past two years as a novice nun. Viktor will not accept this and insists that the “old Tanechka” would hate what has happened. And he goes to extreme lengths to get her to remember. His actions made me very uncomfortable. Ms. Martin does an amazing job of writing Viktor. He's so passionate and so f'ed up. She's made him very real and believable. She keeps him in character. But with that said, I can't relate to him nor feel good about his actions towards Tanechka. While he may love her, he is looking to be punished for trying to kill her. He's so destructive and his actions are NOT love. They are abuse. I understand his logic and it wholly fits Viktor's personality. However, that doesn't make his actions admirable or conscionable. He's still a monster and his love is obsessive.
While this quote may be considered spoilerish, it honestly saved the whole book for me. Coming at about the 88% mark, Tanechka thinks "Maybe he [Jesus] wasn't showing me his beautiful eyes to get me to be a nun. Maybe he was just showing me love. Forgiveness. Showing me himself, so that I would know him. I can't be a nun, but maybe it's not too late."
I also have to mention that while I wasn't super excited about having a POV from Lazarus, his fixation with Valerie, the executive coach, was hilarious. Also, Lazarus is pretty smart. Not just the hired gun as we were lead to believe. I see that he will be getting his own book in 2017, which makes me wonder what will happen with the overall storyline.
In the end, Wicked Mafia Prince is a well-written, but tough read. Viktor is an anti-hero that I couldn’t support because his love wasn’t romance, it was abuse. But if you like dark heroes and gritty romance, this story is a must for you!
My Rating: C+