Thursday, June 23, 2016

Review: Inferno (Blood for Blood #2) by Catherine Doyle

Published: January 7th 2016
Publisher: Chicken House
Purchase: Book Depository
Sophie's life has been turned upside-down, and she's determined to set things right. But Nic, the Falcone brother who represents everything she's trying to forget, won't give up on their love - and it's Luca's knife she clutches for comfort. Soon another mafia clan spoils the fragile peace - and with her heart drawn in one direction and her blood in another, Sophie's in deeper than ever.

- Goodreads

Saying this book was one of my highly anticipated reads of 2016 is an understatement, to say the least. After the way Vendetta ended I was frantic to read this book as soon as it came out and while I had some fears that my self-founded hype would be deflated, this book wins most of the awards for me. Addictive, dangerous, and romantic, this is one series that earns a spot on my favorites shelf.

As this book is pitched, Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather is a perfectly apt description of this series. What this book does with the Godfather aspect is, I'm sure quite easy to imagine, from mafia blood to guns and violence. What I quite appreciated about this book was that while it does promise a Romeo and Juliet-esque romance, it does more than that. It takes the initial premise and knocks it upon its head, offering a more realistic look at first love and the difference between falling for an ideal rather than a real person. As Doyle has mentioned before in an interview or something along those lines, she sought to disprove that universal first love and true love entanglement that is oh-so-popular in young adult literature and I, for one think it was rather refreshing. There's a distinct thread of the intense and desperate love that consumed Sophie in the previous book, but in this book, she's seeing more clearly and I respected that realistic outlook.

Speaking of Sophie, she was one of the reasons I wasn't in love with Vendetta, with her puppy love clouding her judgement. There was a damsel-in-distress quality to her that overshadowed her personality and I think the wake-up call in this book provided a better backdrop for her characterization. She's loyal and stubborn, a girl who's made mistakes but still tries to do her damn best. Anyone would be terrified by what she had to go through in the first book, and seeing her face the circumstances with courage and style, something I cannot fault her for.
I knew what I had to do. I had made my choice. The path was dark, but there was no going back.
And then there's Luca Falcone, my utter favorite character in this series. He's a bit of an enigma in the first book, but you see a better picture of who he is through this book, and hands down one of my favorite fictional boys ever. In the previous book he was the foil to Nic's rather rash and dramatic nature, but in Inferno, he really shines. He's brilliantly characterized and written, and out of everyone, he is the one character I had loved from the start, despite his lethal ways. It was enlightening to delve past his cool surface and see how much responsibility and upholding the family business really took a toll on him.
Conflicted, dreaming, but ultimately trapped.
For the other characters, there's some key players introduced, and others who may or may not die in this book. It is a book about mafia families, so you can't quite expect everything to be sugary sweet, but some twists made me clutch my heart in despair and angst. Millie, Sophie's dear best friend, is a welcome face among the dark and sinister characters, with a unfailingly loyal heart and bright spirit that never failed to make me smile. People, this is how you write a best friend and loyal companion, take notes. There's Nic, the other Falcone, who does play a significant role, possibly as much as Luca, but I dislike him for many reasons, so he's delegated to one of the other characters. We see him as his annoying and infuriating self in Inferno, but the charming mask he had on in the first book has definitely slipped.

Romance is one of the key components in this book, and I for one would not have it any other way. As I mentioned above, Doyle does a terrific job with dealing with the aftermath once first love (or puppy love I would say) hits reality, and the romantic interactions in this book were well-developed compared to the ones in Vendetta which garners high praise from me. The fun banter from the last book continues here as well, and the kiss scenes are rather glorious.
He grimaced. "But I like my pedestal. I can see everything from up here." "I bet the view's even nicer from your ivory tower." "It is," he said, solemnly. "I'd invite you up some time, but it's only for really intelligent people who have a great sense of humour."
As for the plot, for the most part I was impressed. There's a certain breathless speed in some scenes while the pace is slowed for others, and I felt overall, that it was well conveyed and when the twists dropped, I was speechless. I almost died reading this book with its heartless treatment of my feelings only to combat them with scenes that made me want to hug this book to my chest. I fear mentioning anything more than vague would make me spill the whole story, and it would be such a catastrophe, but all I can say is: this was a sequel well-worth the time and angst I felt while waiting on and finally reading it. I cannot wait to read the sequel and be reunited with my beloved characters and the intense yet captivating world they live in.

My Rating:★★★★

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