I absolutely love Raze/Luka and I especially love how Tillie used this story to further show the growth in Raze. When the story begins Raze is feeling guilt for having to kill Fighter 362, his best friend, the man responsible for his saving his life. Once he learns of 362’s twin he must find him, that’s what brings on the recovery and rescue of Fighter 221, Zaal. Zaal isn’t just another fighter, he is a Kostava. Kostavas are enemies to his family, but his loyalty is to his friend, because in the world he escaped last names and families do not make a person.
Talia, Luka’s sister, is away on vacation when it is interrupted by Luka. He decides the safest place to take Zaal is to their Hamptons home. She knows her brother was conditioned to fight, to kill, to forget who he is, but Zaal is a lot more damaged than Raze.
I immediately loved Talia when I met her. She isn’t as soft as Kisa, but that actually made me love her even more. She is looking for more in her life. She is tired of just doing what is expected of her, she wants something for herself. She never planned to find that something more in a fighter, a sworn enemy to her family, a man who might be broken beyond repair.
“I’m on my own, have always been on my own. I’d give anything to have that soul-shattering type of love. But how that’ll ever happen in this life is beyond me. Who the hell’s going to date the daughter of a Bratva boss?”
Another reason I love Talia, is her compassion and desire to help Zaal. She sees him for more and shows him love and compassion when he isn’t even sure how to live life freely, again.
This story absolutely broke my heart and made me feel everything, but it also made me love these characters. Talia is brave, loving and selfless. She is by far one of my favorite characters. She wasn’t afraid of the consequences and was willing to give up everything for Zaal. She saw the man he was, not the name he was given. She saw the man he could and deserved a chance to be.
Zaal is completely broken and damaged when we meet him. He has been drugged to kill and forget his identity for years. It takes weeks for the drugs to leave his body, but when they do he is still brainwashed. He believes he is a slave, a dog, and not worthy of being treated like a human. Zaal has been a slave since he was eight years old and reprogramming him and allowing his memories to come back takes time.
Something inside of me cooled. The rage that always ran through my veins calmed. It was still there, I could feel it bubbling under the surface, but her warm hand had calmed it. I took a deep breath. There was no pain, no poison, just the feeling of her.
Talia and Zaal’s connection was beautiful, real and unwavering. I love how they completed each other. Talia’s loneliness isn’t as severe as Zaal’s mistreatment, but they still both needed something from each other. They both received unconditional love from the other and that was priceless to them.
I loved Raze with a vengeance, but I loved Reap even more. Trust me this is huge for me, but this story completely exceeded my expectations. Tillie wrote a beautiful, heartbreaking story about two people whose love defies all. This is by far one of my favorites of 2015 and one of the most beautiful love stories I have ever read. This story will break your heart in two, but leave you feeling more whole.
ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.