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**SPOILER FREE REVIEW – Note: The Fallen: Genesis a prequel novella in The Deadly Virtues Series MUST be read before RAPHAEL**

Our Review

‘Now, they were all as dark as midnight, not a single star illuminating their godless worlds.’

Tillie Cole warned us this series was going to be dark….dark has nothing on this series. Where The Fallen was indeed heartbreakingly dark and disturbing, Raphael raised the stakes in its horrific black abyss of psychological terror and physical violence. We knew from the prequel that this book was going to break us -and it did- to the point where we at times had to stop reading, play a meditation video on YouTube and pop an anxiety pill in order to continue. We kid you not. Whilst we’ll happily read a psychological serial killer book any day of the week or a dark romance; bring kids into the mix and we struggle with our hearts and the contents of our stomachs.

‘Gabriel moved his heavy head and focused on Jesus’ face. “Forgive me,” he whispered, his voice drifting away with the breeze. “They know not what they do.” He would consume their sins and save their souls. After everything they had been through, they at least deserved that.’

It’s a strange thing reading a book that is everything we abhor yet we cannot stop; we were compelled by this brilliantly written story of utter depravity, injustice and psychological fucked-up-ness. How can you justify or even say you enjoyed a book that violated you as a reader in this manner? Or even write a review about it? So read ahead for our spoiler-free 5 star review.

‘They had been conditioned to hate humanity. And with the Brethren as their example, who could blame them?’

Without question this is the darkest of dark penned by Tillie Cole, however, it takes an author of her magnificent calibre to successfully weave in a somewhat unconventional romance, which in some eyes would be inconceivable. Make it believable with the trademarks of a romance albeit quite unique. There’s no clear line drawn between the crux of the story nor the romance aspect, rather it is flawlessly interlaced into a story of healing and sacrifice in a vicious manner.

‘She would be the saint to his sinner. The light to his dark. The chastity to his lust.’

So just who are The Fallen? Like we mentioned earlier, we first met them as children in the prequel; The Fallen. Now, they’re seven young men who, as children, escaped purgatory at the hands of the Brethren at the Holy Innocents Home for Children. Seven men who had to endure horrific violation by Catholic Priests who justified their actions in the name of exorcising the boys of their demons. We shudder at the barbaric-ness of it all and cry tears for the fact that this, in some aspects, mirror what we know of our world both set in history and current day. How many ‘blind’ eyes are turned to this issue?!

‘He was beautiful. A fallen angel in the flesh. She wondered if this was what Satan looked like. The most beautiful of men but with the wickedest of souls. He too was a fallen angel, after all. The first. He hadn’t always been evil; he was a child of God. There had been good in him once.’

This story belongs to Raphael who, as a child, suffered severe emotional trauma from an evil tragedy which then saw him placed at the Holy Innocents Home for Children. Raphael was deemed evil hence placed in Purgatory by the Brethren. He was renamed after the archangel and tortured to rid his young body of the evil demon residing within. He was not alone. Now living with his band of brothers who suffered a similar fate, he is part of a pact led by Gabriel, who was the catalyst for their freedom from the hands of their abusers. The rules these brothers now live by ensures that their controlled evil actions never harm the innocents. However, Raphael has a fantasy and when that fantasy is placed on his dark path in order to lure and trap, everything spirals into a crescendo so magnificently horrific that we furiously turned the pages unable to stop.

‘It was lust and want and his greatest fantasy within arm’s reach that was in control. And he happily surrendered himself to them.’
“One day, Raphael, I’ll destroy you and you will finally repent.”

Amidst the darkness, the evil and the graphic vileness, a sweet innocent marked by evil herself becomes a catalyst for retribution and introspection. She is a teacher of love and healing, but not of change. Only controlled change, if you will.  Nothing changes yet everything changes.

Save him, she thought. You are here to save him. By any means. You are here to save his damned soul.’

Our hearts have embraced these broken souls who kill, who do not understand, who do not feel, despite their ways and their path. How could we not feel such a powerful need to protect those who have been hurt so despicably? How could our hearts not bleed for them, how could we not have this tremendous inner desire to see them achieve retribution for the sins of others? This is a classic example of books we almost reluctantly love and it all comes down to the quality of writing, the haunting and eerie atmosphere and the incredible emotions it elicits. Our hearts are already broken but we will be first in line for the next instalment in this journey.

‘Mercy was never awarded by the Fallen. No one was ever spared. There was no goodness in their souls. Tears and cries rolled off their consciences like raindrops; protests and pleas made them smile.’

A note to Tillie Cole from us: You are a magnificent Author. You are brave and unique. You are incredibly special and unrivalled in your all-encompassing ability to write anything with such tremendous conviction. There are no half measures when you decide to write a story, rather you go all in and sacrifice yourself wholeheartedly. We so admire this about you.

‘Could they be healed? Could that kind of love save them, save their lost souls? Was that the answer? Love? He sighed, shaking the farfetched notion from his head. It was an impossible dream.’

 

Synopsis

They are the Fallen. A brotherhood of murderers whose nature compels them to kill. But guided by their leader, Gabriel, the Fallen have learned to use their urges to rid the world of those it is better off without.

For Raphael, sex and death are intertwined. Where there is one, there must be the other. He is a lust killer, luring his victims with the face of an angel and a body built for sin.

And Raphael lives to sin.

His newest mission takes him into the sadistic underworld of Boston’s secret sex clubs, and puts him face to face with his greatest fantasy made flesh.

Maria is everything he’s ever dreamed of, the kill he’s always longed for. She’s not his target. And he knows he must resist. But the temptation is too strong…

Yet Raphael is not the only one with a mission. Maria is not quite what she seems. And as her secrets and Raphael’s unravel, Maria begins to question everything she thought she knew—about evil, about the place she calls home, and about the beautiful sinner she was sent to destroy.

Dark Contemporary Romance. Contains sexual situations, violence, sensitive and taboo subjects, offensive language and topics some may find triggering. Recommended for age 18 years and up.

The Fallen: Genesis a prequel novella in The Deadly Virtues Series and MUST be read before RAPHAEL

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