Empire by Rachel Van Dyken – Katie’s Review

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Why I read it

My heart was shattered after Elude, and I wanted to make it whole again.

What I rated it

off the charts

What it’s about

I have lost everything.
My purpose.
My love.
My soul.
Death knocks on my door, I want to answer, but every time I reach for the handle–the promise I made her, brings me back.
So I breathe.
I live.
I hate.
And I allow the anger to boil beneath the surface of a perfectly indifferent facade.
I am broken, I dont want to be fixed.
One last trip to New York, one last chance to redeem a lost part of the mafia family. The Empire is crumbling and it’s my job to fix it, my job to mend the pieces that were scattered over thirty years ago.
The only issue is, the only way to fix, is to do something I swore I’d never do again.
An arranged marriage.
Only this time.
I won’t fall.
Or so help me God, I’ll kill her myself.
My name is Sergio Abandanoto, you think you know my pain, my suffering, my anger, my hate–you have no idea.
I am the mafia.
I am the darkness.
Blood in. No out. 

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Katie’s Review

I feel like every time I pick up a Rachel Van Dyken book, I am prepared for what’s ahead. Sometimes, when you obsess over an author, you like to think you can predict where they are going, and how far they are willing to go with their storyline. I don’t know why I always think this about Rachel, because every time I pick up another one of her books, I am caught off guard! Nothing I can say in this review is going to even be able to touch the depth of emotions I experienced in this book. I laughed, I cried, a few times I found myself rocking in the corner with my hands over my ears and my eyes closed while chanting “LA LA LA!” at the top of my lungs… But I felt. Boy, did I FEEL during this book!

If you have been following the boys of the Eagle Elite series, then you know that Sergio’s path to where he is today is not a conventional one, even by Mafia standards. The man is wicked smart with computers, and has extensive medical training. (Which comes in handy when your friends like to shoot each other; sometimes for dating your sister, sometimes for fun…) Sergio has a lot to overcome in this book, and Rachel does a great job of addressing the elephants in the room, so to speak. I loved the way she handled everything. (Yes, this is vague on purpose. I refuse to post any spoilers!)

Rachel Van Dyken is the queen of making me want to laugh, cry and punch someone, all at the same time. This proved true while I read the book. Some scenes found me in the depths of despair, while three paragraphs later, I am laughing out loud, possibly snorting once or twice, at some funny stunt one of the guys (usually Chase) has pulled. I love that she is able to make me feel these incredibly intense emotions, but she knows when we’re on the verge of a nervous breakdown, so she breaks up the pain with comedy. That’s talent, and I am in awe of how she has made this fictional world seem so real to me. I go to Chicago often, and always keep an eye out for the boys, only to remember they aren’t real.

This book, by far, is one of my top three reads this year, and I can guarantee that it will remain in the top ten for 2016 for sure! This is one of the can’t miss reads of the summer! #TeamSergio

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