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Empire (Eagle Elite Book 7) Kindle Edition
This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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You see, while each of the books in the Eagle Elite series and its related spin offs are written as standalones, the story of Empire picks up and builds, very much on the themes and storyline of Elude, and the character of Sergio Abandonato in particular.
For the second time in less than a year, Sergio is pressured to marry someone he hardly knows. Something hes even less inclined to do a second time around, but, if mafia families were nations, this would be considered a marriage of state. The joining of families, ensuring the succession of dynasties, honor, duty, all of that, and having failed his family in the past, that's something Sergio wont do again.
Then, as if all of that weren't bad enough, there's 'that girl'. Nearly ten years younger, 19 year old Valentina is sweet, innocent, and completely oblivious to the fact that the three doting uncles who've raised her and her twin brother Dante are mafia. So far as she knows the far too quiet little florist shop they run that she works in is kept afloat because of sound investments.
Splitting her time between being coddled and sheltered by her uncles and reading about dashing Dukes and perfect Princes, she's entirely unprepared for the whirlwind that her life is about to become.
After being somewhat broken by Elude, to the point that I start to tear up a little whenever I come across the word 'twirl', I approached Empire with some trepidation. Though its been months for me, that wound is still tender, and I wasn't at all sure I wanted to rip off the band aid and start poking at it, but the promise that things could be made 'better' was there and so I dove in.
There's just so much in this book. The theme of family takes pride of place, as is fitting for a mafia story, but for Valentina its very much a coming of age story, and for Sergio? healing doesn't quite seem the right word.
And then there's Frank. You see, this book is told from alternate POVs. Sergio's and Valentina's as you might expect, but also Frank's. The last of the older generation of mob bosses, Frank has past sins to atone for, family to protect and guide as best he can, but above all, an Empire to preserve.
Smiles and laughter, tears, laughing even while tears were still damp on my face, Empire pulled emotions from me one after the other and played them like harp strings creating a beautiful harmony.
Loved it so much
"Life is full of two-twirl moments--don't allow her to settle for only one."
When I started crying on Chapter 2 of this book, I knew this was going to be a devastating read. I think watching someone learn to move on is even more difficult than loss itself. Sergio is just going through the motions and my heart ached for him immensely. Val is a refreshing change and nothing like the other ladies of this series. I immediately loved her innocence and child like charm. Not only is she a book nerd, but she is witty and caring to her overbearing family. She is exactly what Sergio needed, even if he refuses to see it. I wanted to hug Sergio one moment and slap him the next. Their journey is intense and filled with a vast array of emotions. There are highs and lows, laughter and tears, and heartbreak and healing.
"Sometimes, it's nice to be someone's hero. Just for once."
Of course, it wouldn't be Eagle Elite without new revelations and plot twists. Even after seven books, they remain fresh and completely unexpected. Frank has been a prominent character since the early books, but he really shines through in Empire. I enjoyed being inside his head and seeing him battle his inner demons. We are introduced to new and interesting characters, including my favorite, Dante. As always, RVD does a magnificent job of balancing intense moments with fun and light-hearted ones. At this point, all the characters feel like family, and I treasure the extra scenes with Nixon and crew. I can't tell you how many times I laughed through tears, and that is a testament to just how incredible this book is. Yes, there are sad moments, but I smiled more than I cried, and couldn't have loved it more.
I will be counting the days until the next installment. Eagle Elite has become one my favorite contemporary series of all time, and I highly recommend it to any adult reader