— BLURB —
He’s dark and mysterious. Quiet and lethal.
An Irish mobster.
Pure sin wrapped up in a beautiful package.
But there’s also something off about him.
He doesn’t feel anything. He shows no emotions.
Sometimes I question his humanity.
He hasn’t spoken to me in two years. Not a single word.
But we share a secret, he and I.
And if it ever comes out, I have no doubt in my mind…
He won’t have a problem killing me too.
I’ve slain for her. I’ll do it again.
When it comes to Sasha, there isn’t a line I won’t cross.
I watch her. She doesn’t know it.
She thinks I hate her. Sometimes, I think I might too.
But I’m always there, lurking in the shadows.
Craving her. Trying to keep the beast within at bay.
I’ll keep her safe. I’ll slaughter anyone who tries to hurt her.
The only thing I can’t do… is protect her from myself.
— MY REVIEW —
⚠ WARNING WARNING WARNING ⚠
Spoilers Ahead. Read at own risk!
Ugh. Ronan, love. How did I not love you more the first time I read your book back in 2018?? 🙈 This review is long overdue. But having only just reread Reaper now, I figured it was time to post one up.
I initially read Reaper back in 2018 (along with the rest of Boston Underworld) and had rated it 4 stars. But after having reread it again for the second time (I know. WTF, right?!) I realized, I love and appreciate Ronan a lot more the second time around. 🤤
I don’t think I appreciated and fully understood his complexity. There are two types of complex characters that I’ve read in books — The first, are those who are too complex, too mind-boggling that I couldn’t connect with that character or agree with their actions, (and most likely, didn’t end up liking their book). The second, are the complex characters that have been cleverly written that their unique mindset keeps you constantly engaged, and slowly but surely has you falling in love with their individuality. Do I need to say which type Ronan is?
He is the epiphany of brains and brawn! Hubba-hubba! 🤤😍 I can’t believe the Ronan that I fell in love with (along with so many other readers) has been through hell and back! Reaper is Level 8 gritty in the dark romance scale. His book, whilst set in the present, goes back into his past now and then to reveal his upbringing before meeting Crow. Not going to sugarcoat it, it was difficult to read through (at least the first time I had read it). Ronan had a very disturbing, cruel and merciless childhood that even I winced at times reading about it.
As much I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone, I have had friends who I’d recommended the series to, who found these books a little too dark for their tastes. So, I would say if you can’t deal with sensitive subject matters, have triggers towards violence of any kind, substance abuse, and sexual abuse, then it’s probably best to skip this series entirely. But if you don’t have any issues, then I say, read away! 😉
I’m a big fan of brotherhood, bromance and good ol’ fashion best buds in my reads. If done right, it can be as equally (and in some cases better) than the romance blooming between the leads. Ronan and Crow’s deep brotherly relationship is just so endearing — especially considering that it’s within a Mafia world where trust and loyalty is hard to come by. But their brotherhood goes beyond deep, and seeing the social and emotional difficulties Ronan has, yet Crow always having his back is one of the things I have always loved about this book.
“Ye’re a brother to me,” he says. “And I want my kids to know and love ye like I do. The way Mack does too. I want my kids to know their uncle Ronan. And I have no doubts in my mind that you will protect them the way ye do me.”
Another is seeing the way Ronan navigates through all these unfamiliar feelings towards Sasha. He goes from being robotic, calculated and distant, to almost being unpredictable in his ways. And he almost has a childlike quality about him at times, especially when he’s caught in a situation where he doesn’t know what to say or how to act. His character growth is fascinating and gripping to read through. It’s amazing how much he evolves, how much he opens up once he realizes Sasha is someone he can’t live without.
Logically, I should be pointing out Ronan’s obvious faults, and things I don’t agree with. But I can’t seem to care about it in the big scheme of things because after having reading this, I sympathize and somewhat understand his demeanor… and dare I say it… have let it all slide..? 🤔
With Crow and Mack (first book), their relationship blossomed from having similar attitudes and personality traits. They’re both independent, resilient, strong-willed people.
In this case, Sasha and Ronan were somewhat opposites. Sasha’s full of emotion, wears her heart on her sleeve and despite her struggles in life, she’s never bitter or nasty towards others. Her vulnerability has a likability about it, but make no mistake she’s no weakling. Ronan, on the other hand is intimidating, the definition of cool, calm and collected, and has a don’t-mess-with-me aura about him. So you can only imagine the sparks between these two! 🔥 Zavarelli paired two broken souls together and it was a beauty to see unfold.
“How do you do that?” I ask.
“How do you look at me like that and just make me forget everything, Ronan?”
They both have troubles and dirty pasts, but what I absolutely adore about these two lovebirds is that they don’t see any of that about each other. They see past all the bullshit and how society perceives them and see each other for who they truly are. It’s such a romantic, swoony love story. If you love romances that persevere, that have been through the ringer, but come out stronger than ever with the hero/heroine willing to do anything for the other, then yeah… I say Reaper is not one to be missed. So much anticipation, so much build-up, so much anxiety to see how it’ll turn out for them. *Phew!*
This can easily be a very melancholic read, but the little snippets of funny from the secondary characters really give Reaper a break from all the dank and depressing. Mack, Rory and of course, Crow are the characters to thank for that. A special shout-out to Daisy too for providing cuteness overload scenes with Ronan that had me grinning from ear to ear. (Lookout for Daisy! Total highlights!) 🤭
Hot, Irish mobster. ✔
Muscles for days. ✔
Tall, dark, handsome… and wears glasses. ✔
Could rip heads, break legs, and look good with blood splattered across his face. ✔
Could say the sweetest things without realizing it. ✔
Would just about move heaven and earth for what’s his. ✔
*singsong voice* I’m telling ya… Ronan Fitzpatrick is your maaaaan! 💙
“Please don’t let me go,” I tell him. “Or at least stay until I fall asleep.”
Zavarelli introduced a well put together and thought-out world with Crow, seeing it expand more so in Reaper, and having seen relationships develop further is just one of many reasons why the Boston Underworld series can easily transport you to their world. Add the characters with their unique characteristics and growth from start to finish that is so evident, and you got yourself some high-quality writing!
What I’ve come to love about Zavarelli’s story lines is she’s not afraid of adding some brutality into them. There’s some serious savagery and pain in this book, and I can tell you, it won’t be the last you’ll see in the series — if anything this is just the tip of the iceberg! Her books will make you feel and by the end will have you contemplating all about it.
Ronan is a twisted, somewhat unbalanced sort of character with so much to offer that you won’t see the full impact of it coming until it smacks you in the face. He is without a doubt one of the most captivating fictional characters I’ve come across, and I’m glad Zavarelli decided to share him with the world.
📚 Read my reviews for the series!
Book One: Crow by A. Zavarelli
Book Three: Ghost by A. Zavarelli
Read more of my reviews on A. Zavarelli books!
Sin City Salvation (Book One) — Dark, romantic suspense.
Sin City Salvation (Book Two) — Dark, romantic suspense. Mild MC romance.
Standalone, contemporary romance. Age gap. School setting.
Ties That Bind Duet (Book One) — Mafia romance. Dark, suspense romance.
Ties That Bind Duet (Book Two) — Mafia romance. Dark, suspense romance.
Modern, standalone romance. Dark fairy tale retelling.
Catch you in my next one! Stay safe and keep positive! Xo