Reviewed by Jen
This is not going to be a story for everyone. Dark Soul is a disturbing and erotic tale that follows the lives of mob boss Stefano Marino and hired gun Silvio Spadaro. Stefano is a married man, but from the moment he lays eyes on Silvio, he feels a relentless attraction that he can't ignore. If he acts on his feelings, it can ruin his life --or even end it altogether. But Silvio is so hard to resist. He oozes sex. And he makes no secret that he's available for the taking.
At first blush, it doesn't seem all that unconventional. You don't have to wait long, though, before the first shocking turn.
I'll tell you right now that there are going to be big spoilers in this review. I'm not hiding them, either, but if you are considering reading this book, I really think you'll want to be prepared for what you are getting.
The first Holy Shit moment comes when Silvio tries to break into Stefano's room to initiate a tryst. Stefano's bodyguard is there and the boss can't show any weakness. So he rapes Silvio with a gun. And Silvio gets off on it. This was actually far less disturbing than I expected. But it's our first look at the unorthodox pleasures Silvio enjoys. We come to find out he is the lover of an Italian big boss who took him in as a teen. Their relationship is one of both pleasure and pain, born of Silvio's need to belong and Battista's attraction to teenage boys. When Battista cuts him loose (for being too old,) Silvio is adrift and Stefano is there to catch him and bring him into his Family.
Silvio doesn't seem to set much value on himself as anything but a killer. He hands out sexual favors like candy and will do anything to get the job done. As dark as the story was, however, I was doing ok until I hit the second half of volume three and Silvio's brother Franco shows up. Even more shocking and disturbing than the rape, the abuse, the gang banging, the violence and the cheating... is the incest.
Silvio and Franco have sex. Full-on sex. And I wish to God they hadn't, because it made something explode inside my brain. It was repulsive and erotic, heart-breaking, hopeless, hot, and horrible all at the same time. It's a small part of a much larger story about Silvio's sexual and emotional problems, but only you can decide if it's something you can live with. For me, it crossed the line into "too much," and was probably the only part of the story that I couldn't deal with.
Anyway, the sexual tension and relationship that develops between Silvio and Stefano is completely captivating. The sex is freaking molten hot. Plus, at the same time, there is turmoil in Stefano's business. He is being targeting by outside forces, his own people and even the law. --Let's not forget he has a wife floating around in this mess too.
It seemed, for most of the book, there couldn't possibly be a happy ending. But there kind of is. It's hard not to think of it as too easy. But after all that I went through with the story, I was due for a little sunshine and roses.
The whole thing is pretty amazing. And deep and disturbing and about 1000 other things. If you know what you're in for and you think you can deal with it, give it a go and prepare for a wild ride.
*ARC Provided by Riptide
Dark Soulby Aleksandr VoinovRelease Date: June 1, 2012Publisher: Riptide Publishing