All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Cartel by Lili St Germain

on January 28, 2016

CartelCartel (Cartel #1)
Lili St Germain
Harper Collins AUS
2015, 337p
Free read on iBooks

Blurb {courtesy the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

How much is a life worth?

I grew up in Colombia, the daughter of a wealthy drug lord. I lived a life of extravagance, until one day a drug run went horribly wrong and everything came crashing down around us.

I was given away. A payment for a debt. The Gypsy Brothers Motorcycle Club became my new owners, and I did everything I could to survive.

But falling in love with the man who owned me wasn’t part of the plan…

I don’t even know where to start with this one.

I’ve heard some interesting things about this author/series and given the second book was recently released, it seemed as though it was everywhere. This was a free download from iBooks, probably in promo for the release of the second book and I also ended up with Seven Sons by Lili St Germain as well. I have read romances that revolve around an OMC before, for a while there they were pretty much the thing. But this isn’t a romance. It’s billed as “dark romance” but….yeah, no.

Mariana is a teenager who was at university in the US but is recalled home because her drug runner father got drunk and ended up with the load of drugs he was hauling impounded by the DEA. His cartel boss is going to kill them all but Mariana negotiates herself instead, giving herself to Emilio Ross, drug and crime boss extraordinaire, in exchange for the lives of her family. Emilio toys with Mariana for a while, basically attempting to mess with her head before putting her in an ‘auction’ as a sex slave. Emilio’s son Dornan (stupid name) has seen something ‘special’ in Mariana and that combined with her amazing accountancy skills buys her a free pass out of the auction and one into Dornan’s bed and strip club as a bean counter. I’m honestly so bored of the badass seeing something undefinably “special”, something that he’s never seen/felt before, something that causes him to act out of character and blah blah blah. Especially as Mariana is boring, whiny and doesn’t really do anything interesting at all, except during her sacrifice for her family. And even then, I don’t know, it doesn’t really feel all that believable. There’s something about the detached way that she does it, that she goes through these motions that doesn’t really seem like survival mode but more just….the fact that Mariana is boring. She has no real interesting thoughts or reactions to anything.

Emilio is basically, I don’t know, Pablo Escobar or something without being on the run. He’s an asshole who moves drugs and has bought off cops, US marshals, border patrol and basically anyone else you can think of. Dornan is VP of the Gypsy Brothers, an OMC and I don’t know what he does? Runs strip clubs? Rides around being a supposed badass? Who cares.

The fact of the matter is, there’s nothing in this book except a bunch of disconnected scenes that don’t actually really make up a believable story. Dornan tells Mariana that she’ll tell him she loves him soon and she does. But Dornan, apart from buying her himself instead of letting her to go the sex slave auction, doesn’t actually do anything that warrants anyone falling in love with him, let alone a psychologically traumatised teenager who has been kidnapped, mindfucked, actually fucked, abandoned for weeks on end in an apartment she cannot escape from, almost raped, etc. It’s a wonder she still has a mind at all and isn’t a dribbling mess but the thing is, I can’t buy Mariana’s mental strength anymore than I can buy what she and Dornan have is a “romance”. One of them is a criminal with zero respect for women, daddy issues up the wazoo and the other is a captive who has no choice but to launder their money and service Dornan. About Dornan’s only redeeming feature so far is that he “doesn’t like to share” which isn’t really about Mariana and not putting her through being abused by other men, it’s about himself.

But Dornan gives her orgasms……and she loves him.

But….why? Why does she love Dornan?

I don’t even know that this can be portrayed as some sort of Stockholm Syndrome where Mariana is dependent upon him because he rescued her from a significantly worse fate. If it is supposed to be Stockholm Syndrome then it’s not at all written to portray that sort of mindset, the sort of dependence or emotional mind control. Mariana is whiny and once she gets to have sex with Dornan, really doesn’t seem all that concerned about her situation. Dornan is hot, of course. He’s a badass motorcycle dude who basically has zero personality. Some attempt is made at giving him some sort of backstory, along with his friend and the President of Gypsy Brothers but it mostly falls flat. The most interesting thing about Dornan is his uneasy relationship with his father and the issues this creates for him, but it’s only glossed over and doesn’t really delve into it. Some attempt is made to make Dornan seem sickened by some of the violence but given I’ve read Seven Sons, it isn’t at all believable.

I didn’t see this trilogy ending well at all, even before I did some research and realised that it’s a spin off of the Gypsy Brothers series and not the other way around. Actually reading Seven Sons (first of the Gypsy Brothers books) was an attempt to find out the ending of this trilogy without having to read the next 2 books, because Seven Sons was only 100p. However it didn’t really tell me anything and I guess you’d have to read a couple further along in the series, or maybe the final one. But I’ve honestly read enough. I no longer care what happens to Mariana and given I’ve read Seven Sons I can gather what happens to Dornan.

And it’s probably not undeserved.

2/10

Book #9 of 2016

 

 

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2 responses to “Review: Cartel by Lili St Germain

  1. Bethany says:

    What’s OMC? And yes, Dornan is a stupid name. Especially for a badass motorcycle guy.

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