Welcome back to the Book Club! It’s been quite the voyage, but the end is here for a five book series that has explored dark romance and polyamorous relationships deeply embedded within organized crime themes. This final edition promises bloodshed, sex, ….and more bloodshed! What more could a man ask for? Let’s get to it, I don’t want to be strung along a second more than you do, we’ve got foes to vanquish and multiple boys to love. It’s a quintet romance finale at the Book Club y’all!
Depraved: The Devil’s Syndicate Book Five by Sarah Bailey is the finale to the frantic journey of an organized crime heir-not-to-be, and the unique men that share her life and her heart. The love has settled itself nicely after book four, and there’s no doubt that these five handsome devils want to spend the rest of their collective lives together. The main issue this time is making sure there’s a life worth living…even if they can survive at all. The Russo crime family, which raised Ash and could have been her life’s direction is starting to become vulnerable for its final (and well deserved) destruction. There’s nothing vague about these goals, either. While the men each have their role to play along with their own painfully cultivated desires for revenge, Ash is not here to simply wear the crown once all is settled: Ash has vowed to kill the crimelord, the very one that raised her into this madness, the only father she ever knew. Russo has to die, and Ash is going to take on this heavy burden herself.
We may still in the romance genre, of course, but the love and passion are not the main topics. The path to happiness is paved with blood and suffering, and there’s going to be no way around it. There are less fully described sexual encounters, opting more towards a closed(ish) door approach for some of the scenes. Not to worry, there’s still plenty of bang for your buck as various plot points resolve. AND, for the patient reader that’s worked their way through the 4.75 novels to this point, the reward is the long awaited group encounter involving all the main characters at the same time. It’s tasteful…as such things could be considered, and is more of an expression of shared love than a kinky gangbang you’d normally pay a monthly subscription for. If this was all you were looking for, then mission accomplished. But for the rest of us, there’s still a score to settle before that promised HEA.
To stay as spoiler-free as I can, the climax and ending are well worth the journey we’ve taken to get this far. It’s exciting, violent, and still “tight” as an exhilarating storming of the castle to set things right and reach the preferred conclusions. Taking the whole novel into account, certain violent aspects will make you question what’s really going on inside some of the character’s minds. It’s violence, it’s murder, and these aren’t causes for heroism, and no one in this story is morally perfect. The facts are presented in a straight forward and unapologetic tone, with only the characters themselves left to speak to their motivations or choices. This is important to me as a reader, as neither good nor bad elements are being cast as “good” or “correct.” There is plenty of room to make your own decision on what was right or wrong, but know that nothing is going to stand in the way of this family’s freedom.
Verdict: Depraved by Sarah Bailey is the long awaited, yet thrilling conclusion to a poly reverse harem dark romance that thrills and spills for its entire duration. The romance is ever present and accounted for, but while squabbling about what the future might hold is set aside, the criminal empire themes take center stage with their expected violent acts. The novel makes no apologies, and makes it clear that peace was never an option considering the dark souls that inhabit the series’ universe. The conclusion is rough but satisfying, and all loose ends are tied up in a tight finale. Taking the highly detailed epilogue into account, it’s become very clear to me that this universe has more to say…and maybe even this family as well if time and effort are any indication. There’s a thousand directions this sort of story telling style could go, so any specific speculation would be a fool’s errand. But just as anything else featuring the Queen of Steam Sarah Bailey: I’m ride or die, and I’m all-in.
Special thanks to Sarah Bailey for providing an advance review copy of Depraved to TehBen.com. All thoughts and opinions are our own.
Author’s Twitter: @sbaileyauthor
Purchase Link: Amazon
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