* * * *
Reviewed by Gitte & Jenny
“Flame’s different. But it don’t make him any less fucking important.”
And…..this is how it’s done! Souls Unfractured was everything we were anticipating, in fact it was more. It went beyond our wildest expectations, needs and wants for two characters who stole our hearts right from the beginning of this series; Flame & Maddie.
“I know I’m different. I know I don’t see the world like everyone else does. But I want to see your world, Maddie. Even if it’s the only one I’ll ever understand.”
Souls Unfractured felt complete. Complete. Tillie Cole is an astounding writer. She literally involves every single one of your senses and pushes every single button demanding your attention. Her words bleeds from the pages into your heart. Her characters steal your heart. All of them.
“…for me, you are truth. My truth. My heart, is all you.”
What is so incredibly flawless is her attention to detail and tying up every single question, action, behaviour and storyline without it being superfluous, contrived or complicated, or even left wanting. We are in awe of this Author and give kudos to the obvious extensive research she compiles to stay true to her story and characters.
Every single character has a voice, a heart and a purpose. The love, the brotherhood, the respect and the unity. The compassion. Tillie Cole knows when to give and when to pull back so there’s no question as to why she’s one of our all-time favourite Authors.
‘Two fractured souls made whole only by the other’s unconditional love.’
Now, Flame and Maddie’s story is not for the faint-hearted. It’s dark, terrifying – gruesome even. Therefore, embark on this journey knowing that you will be shocked, your limits will be pushed and your heart will be violently torn into bloody pieces. However; like a phoenix rising out of the ashes so does the incredibly intense beauty rise out of the monstrous in Souls Unfractured. And it truly is a sight to behold. It’s pretty bloody fantastic and satisfying to a reader’s soul. In amidst the inhumane you experience striking gentle moments of belonging, healing and ultimately love.
‘I…I wanted him as my own. In this moment, seeing the man who had become the center of my world, breaking, I wanted nothing more than to save him. To gift him the peace he so richly deserved, even if it meant sacrificing my newly-awakened heart in the process.’
Let’s begin with Maddie; the sweet and fragile elf like character who’s had to endure unspeakable tragedy, horrific childhood memories and like Flame lived a nightmare whilst fully awake. Such evil is unfathomable yet at no time was it sensationalised or added for drama’s sake. Our hearts bled; our nerves were fraught as this beautiful broken soul connected to another’s – embracing, loving and uniting with its own kind – Flame.
“I don’t feel the flames when you’re near. Somehow you calm the flames.”
Flame was not simply broken nor was he just traumatized. Those words do him no justice. He was the innocent victim of evil, a severely misunderstood boy who suffered a life stripped of everything good and loving in the world. He was neglected of a soft touch and the warm comfort that should be a natural right not a privilege. He was conditioned by other’s depravity, his gentle soul was used, abused and treated like a vessel in the most debauched manner under a misguided and self-serving justice. As Flame’s blood dripped from the self-inflicted cutting so did our tears onto the pages of our kindles.
“I’ll try harder to remove the flames. I’ll try harder…I…I love you.”
How many tears can you cry? How much can your heart truly hurt? How can the number 11 inflict such pain on your soul? How can every simple act of love and friendship shine like a beacon to neutralise all the evil, all the hurt? Well, Souls Unfractured can answer all of the questions and sets the bar so amazingly high.
“I am darkness. I am pain. I am motherfucking death.”
Souls Unfractured was Flame and Maddie. Flame and his Maddie. Maddie and her Flame. It was their journey from their individual beginnings – it was their story. Every minute was primarily spent with them which is what made it unique, compelling, intense and so extraordinarily personal. When someone mentions ‘no frills’ you immediately think of a cheap imitation. Well, not in this case. In this case ‘no frills’ is the highest of accolades as we dealt with the most basic human emotion of the rawest and most natural kind. When you strip layer after layer and get to the core and this core overwhelms you as it is like no other, and shines more brightly than the ‘frills’ in which it is wrapped. That is what ultimately makes up flawlessness and originality. That is what makes up Tillie Cole. That is how you can tell something is so very special and written in blood, through sweat and tears. And believe us; there were tears of unmeasurable magnitude.
‘My Maddie. Her Flame.’
**Reviewed from an ARC Copy provided by the author, with thanks.**
* * * *
THE HADES HANGMEN SERIES
Contemporary Dark romance – Must be read in order