• BLURB •
Maddox – Mad Dog – White hates everything the name Vitiello stands for, after he witnessed his father and his men getting butchered by the Capo of the Italian mob in their territory.
Raised by his uncle, the president of the Tartarus MC, Maddox is destined to follow in his footsteps. Now their chapter is on the rise again, but for their ultimate triumph they need to destroy the Vitiello empire. And what better way to do it than to steal the spoilt Vitiello princess and break her piece by piece until her father begs for mercy.
Known as the spoilt princess of New York, Marcella Vitiello grew up in a golden cage. If your father is the most feared man in New York, people gift you with reverence.
Destined to marry the boyfriend approved by her father, Marcella is sick of being treated like an untouchable porcelain doll.
She resents the life forced upon her by her family until everything she took for granted is ripped from her. Where she’s now, her name doesn’t bring awe, only pain and humiliation.
If you’ve grown up in a high castle, the fall is all the deeper.
Sins of the fathers have a way of catching up…who’s going to bleed for them?
** This book is part one of Maddox’s and Marcella’s story.
• MY REVIEW •
Five chapters in…
Me: “Growl? Where’s Growl? Someone get me Growl!”
(He would’ve ended it all, right there and then!)
😜 I’m just joshing. But I’ve never been one to mince words or sugarcoat my thoughts in my reviews no matter how much I adore an author or the fictional world they’ve brought to readers, and I’m not about to start now. Please remember this is my honest opinion and experience from reading this book. If you find mine are different from yours, please be respectful and don’t take offence. Not everyone’s opinions are going to be the same. ✌❤
I’m in the minority here by saying Marcella Vitiello was one heroine a was never eager to read about. From her brief appearances in past books when she was a child, utterly spoiled and bratty constantly had me eye-rolling. So when it was announced that the first book in Cora’s next gen series would begin with Marcella’s story, well, you can just imagine my thrill.
But when it was known that it would be a mafia meets MC (Motorcycle Club) story, it did have me perking up with interest. Mafia romance and MC romance are like my bread and butter as far as romance genres go. Add in the anti-hero biker, who’s also an enemy to the mob? Finally, FINALLY I was intrigued as fuck! 😅
So now that I’ve finished reading part one, what did I think of it??
With its well-paced storytelling, and multiple points of view, it was gradually winning me over… until it all came to a staggering halt. 🙈 Whilst there were plenty of things I did enjoy about this book, I’m not going to lie, there were also plenty of things that rubbed me the wrong way too.
It can be considered new adult, but make no mistake it’s dark themed romance. Before I get to the nitty gritty of my review, I must mention that this story does contain sensitive subject matter that may be triggering for some readers, such as graphic/ gruesome violence, kidnapping, attempted rape, and animal cruelty. Definitely for mature readers 18+ only. Please keep in mind before you start it.
Before this book, there was very little detail about Maddox, his family, and the Tartarus MC other than what we’ve seen mentioned by Luca Vitiello. There’s a gripping little backstory included that, in my opinion set the atmosphere for the rest of the book and a full understanding of Maddox’s mindset.
It’s character driven and a lot of the situations that transpired were emotion-based. There’s no doubt that there’s a strong attraction between Maddox and Marcella but as the story progressed I felt there wasn’t enough genuine development between them. They’re both put in difficult positions and it constantly tested their relationship. Some big events go down and the actions of these protagonists was ultimately what resulted in my overall conflicted feelings of this book.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first half. I was completely absorbed and lusting after the little moments between the two. But looking at the bigger picture, their relationship’s choppy. They go through the motions but I didn’t see any real substance out of it. And if I had to make comparisons with other couples from this world, their relationship is lacklustre. The romance was alright but it was hard to believe the depth of their love with the timeframe they had together. It wasn’t insta-love but it wasn’t exactly a gradual romantic development either.
I wish I could say after reading this story that Marcella eventually grew on me. There was a moment or two I sympathized for her, but it was tough to like her as I didn’t agree with a lot of her actions. She’s a difficult character to get to know or connect with because she’s constantly projecting an image and created a standard for herself that I didn’t even think was wholly necessary. Aria and Luca have always been one of my favourite couples but I question how they ended up with a daughter like Marcella? 🤔😌
Maddox is one of the main highlights of this book. I love the complexity of his story and his character, and I was easily invested in seeing how his story would progress. I often wondered what some of the negative effects the Mafia may have had on people outside of their world and Maddox is a perfect example of the blowback. Sigh. I’m just going to say it— he deserves better.
There’s quite a few secondary characters included that helped elevate the world-building. The different dynamics added dimension and was interesting to see the contrast between Maddox’s and Marcella’s respective worlds. The initial premise was mafia meets MC, and whilst there was strong mafia presence, I had hoped to see more elements from the MC side. There’s not a lot of light-heartedness as it’s a pretty gritty storyline, but appearances from certain characters provided calming moments to break up some of the tension and seriousness of the situation.
All in all, it’s not what I had expected or how I envisioned the story would play out but nevertheless I was still gripped from start to finish. Although this is only part one, and Maddox’s and Marcella’s story is unfinished, this book doesn’t completely end on a cliffhanger (if that makes sense). Let’s just say if the story happened to have ended here, I would’ve been content with the open-ended conclusion.
Buuuuut in saying that… since I have mixed feelings about this first part of the story, I am curious to see how it will all conclude in the second part. I’m hoping to see build-up, some in-depth development, and more maturity out of the characters.
Cora’s writing as always is easy to follow. The intrigue around her characters and their story is instantaneous that it’s hard to put down and By Sin I Rise was no different. It was refreshing to see some new faces introduced and expand from what is already an existing and vivid world-building.
It may not have ended up being one of my favourites from Cora’s mafia books, but I still think it has positive aspects and a lot of potential. It’s an intriguing introduction to the Sins of the Fathers, and it’s cool (and some getting used to) seeing the original characters I fell hard for in the Born In Blood Mafia Chronicles somewhat pass the torch to their children. I am officially ancient. 💀
Fans of Cora’s and of her mafia world will want to read this one. Romance readers who are still relatively new to this world, I recommend you read Born in Blood Mafia Chronicles first before starting this one. I don’t have any triggers but I must admit there were certain scenes from this book that I wasn’t prepared for and totally bawled my eyes over.
You can expect some plot twists, suspense, and if like me, a good hearty cry. If you like dark mafia romances with a forced proximity, captor/captive romance trope, give this one a try.
Thank you Cora Reilly and Emily Alice for the opportunity to read an advanced copy! 💛
Happy Reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo