Destructive King by Rachel Van Dyken
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.
“Assassin. Mean. He was a god. King. Mine.”
The following ratings are out of 5:
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎
Character development: 👤👤👤👤👤
The setting: Chicago
The Hero(s): Asher Abandonato – the enforcer in the Abandonato Famiglia. Ash is the one charged with the protection of the family, of getting their enemies to talk and with killing them. Even when they are family that want nothing more than to get out of the life, but that wasn’t allowed because they knew too much to be out in the world alone. He had is first kill at age 12 and by the time he was a senior in High School he had 30+ kills under his belt including some cousins.
The heroine: Annie Smith – after losing her adopted parents, Annie moves in with Senator Chase Abandonato and family (Ash is Chase’s son and lives in the huge pool house). Annie’s past is unclear but it seems that Chase knows something about Annie’s background and she is in some way connected to the mafia by blood.
The Love Story: In Royal Bully Ash met Claire and thought she was his soul mate. She later died in a car accident and Ash blames Annie for Claire’s death for some reason. Annie has always had a crush on Ash and tries to help him with his grief, but he wants none of that and eventually decides he wants revenge.
I really enjoyed this story for many reasons and I liked that the storylines had a lot of mystery and there weren’t obvious clues as to what those mysteries entailed. There was enough to show that there were mysteries, but not too much that we knew the answers early on. That was the one issue I had with the last book.
In this one there was the mystery about Annie’s background and another as to why Ash blames her for Claire dying. There is also a mystery about why Annie is keeping the fact that she and Tank (the Abandonato’s new recruit, an FBI Informant) have known each other for years and didn’t just meet last year at Eagle Elite University.
It is possible that some of these things were answered in previous books, but I have a terrible memory for minor details in books I have previously read (my age is showing). Not only that, I read over 300 books last year and I read the first two in the first quarter of the year, so it is hard to remember.
There were some more mysteries as well that moved the plot along, such as the stuffed white horse that Ash found. The meaning behind that in the mafia is “Rat”. Obviously we don’t think Ash is a Rat, but who does and why?
I usually hate books where Hero has a significant other that died. I guess because of all the grief and angst, but also I like the protagonists in a romance to find their “one” and not have had two “ones” if you know what I mean. I don’t mind previous romances in their past, because obviously the exes were never the soul mate or they would still be together.
That is just me though, my preferences and most of the time (like now) when I end up reading second-chance romances with a death of the ex, I end up not minding. In this one the grief Ash felt spurred on his feelings of hate for Annie, but he totally wanted her as well right off the bat, which made him hate her even more. I ended up liking the story and it made the passion between them whenever they were in the same room, so hot!
Lastly the humor in the book was great. This young blood thirsty mafia family makes fun of how ruthless and savage they are. They are all a bit crazy and the things they do and say are sometimes pretty hilarious. I loved it!
I voluntarily read & reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts & opinions are my own.
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Oohh.. That’s a nice review. I had read Royal bully and never thought Ash would get a full seperate book and was spektical in picking this. Your review is interesting enough to pick it up…
As you have said, even i hate to read where H other significant half is dead, but this seems intriguing. I will try picking it up sometime
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I was worried also because I actually liked Ash and Claire, but this one was really good.
We are friends on Goodreads and I just discovered you had a BLOG and I LOVE it, The pink is SO pretty.
Great review on this one. I have really wanted to try this one out and I have such a weakness for a mafia romance.
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Thanks so much for the compliment. I like it as well. Sorry it took so long to respond, I have been crazy busy and haven’t been posting as much as I used to.