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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

i read the entire brutal birthright series and here is what i think is worth picking up

Sigh. For the longest time I wasn’t sure if Mafia Romances were just objectively bad, or if they were just a genre of books that wasn't meant for me. So, I decided to test that theory out for myself, and I binge read a shit ton of mafia romances. The verdict? I still don’t really know.

I’m not going to say Mafia Romances are bad, or not for me, because there have been a few that I actually have enjoyed, but a lot of them have been bad. Like really bad. (This might also be because about 50% of the Mafia Romances I have read, have been by Cora Reilly).

On my quest to find my perfect Mafia Romance, I decided to read the entire Brutal Birthright Series by Sophie Lark. Now, if you know, you know. I have heard for months, about how the Brutal Birthright Series is one of the best book series, let alone mafia series, to grace this earth, and that every book was worth five stars.

Was every book worth five stars? No. Was this the best series I’ve ever read? No. Was it the worst? Also no.

I have very mixed opinions, to be honest.

Brutal Prince

I started off with Brutal Prince…which, I actually DNF’d, 25% into the book; it was not the best part. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with this book, but nothing about the story had really caught my attention. Brutal Prince follows Callum and Aida; Callum is the heir to the Irish mafia, and Aida is the daughter of an Italian mob boss. Aida accidentally sets fire to Callum's house; this is the catalyst of a whole chain of events that leads their parents into forcing them into an arranged marriage––the only issue is that they absolutely hate each other.

This book wasn’t painful to read, by any means, but it also really wasn’t that intriguing. Something about the writing, and Sophie Lark’s storytelling was just dry, and I couldn’t force myself to push through. Brutal Prince was marketed to me as being a true enemies to lovers, and as someone who isn’t really a huge fan of enemies to lovers anyway, it was painfully average. Truthfully, Callum and Aida didn’t seem that particularly interesting anyway, so I just decided to skip their book. Usually, in companion novel series, I tend to prefer the later books in the series over the first book, anyway, so this wasn’t a big deal.

My overall thoughts were that Brutal Prince was meh, and that Callum and Aida were both relatively forgettable.

Brutal Prince ➳ 2/5

Worth Reading? No

(tw: violence, sexual content, gun violence)

Stolen Heir

I then moved onto Stolen Heir, which follows Miko, the head of the Polish mafia, and Nessa, the Irish mafia princess (also known as Callum's little sister). The book begins when Miko ends up kidnapping Nessa. Now, I know what you’re thinking, but this book actually wasn’t that bad? I’m honestly surprised as to how much I enjoyed it. For a kidnapping romance, it was relatively tame, and I didn’t really feel uncomfortable or anything like that whilst reading it. Don’t get me wrong, this book wasn’t groundbreaking by any means––Nessa was a great heroine, but Miko was averagely forgettable––however, I did end up giving it four stars, and it was a book that I didn’t expect to enjoy.

Stolen Heir ➳ 4/5

Worth Reading? Yes

(tw: kidnapping, violence, gun violence, sexual content, stalking)

Savage Lover

I then went on to read Savage Lover, which is the third book in the series and follows Nero, a dangerously impulsive playboy, and Camille, and a girl from the wrong side of the tracks. I don’t know if I read the synopsis wrong, or if it was simply misleading, but this book was not what I expected it to be? That is not necessarily a bad thing, however, the synopsis made it seem like Nero was involved in Camille’s drama with a dirty cop, but that really wasn’t the case? In fact Nero doesn’t even find out Camille is in trouble, until like 65% into the book. This isn’t really that big of a deal, I just thought that the synopsis probably could have been rewritten.

That being said, this book has to be my favorite out of the series. Nero and Camille were adorable, and I actually had a great time reading this book. For a mafia romance, this was actually pretty light on the mafia side of things; there is a heist towards the end of the book, but besides that, there really wasn’t much action at all. Not that I minded. This was great.

Savage Lover 4/5

Worth Reading? Yes

(tw: violence, sexual content, drug use, cancer, abandonment, police brutality)

Bloody Heart

(mild spoilers ahead!)

Now, here’s where things take a turn. I am a sucker for a second chance romance, so Dante’s story was the one that I was most anticipating. Actually, when I went through the series on Goodreads about a year ago, his book was the only one I put on my TBR, based on the synopsis. That was stupid on my part, since his book was probably my least favorite.

My goodness, both Dante and Simone were insufferable, and their book was a chore to get through.

In the past three books we have been teased that Dante has had a past lover, that deeply fucked him up, and ever since he has been cold and stoic, but we have not really received much more information than that.

Bloody Heart starts out with Dante and Simone meeting when they were younger––Dante is trying to escape after a "meeting" goes wrong, so he hijacks a car, not knowing that Simone is in the backseat. From then on, there is a little bit of insta-love, and the spark of a new relationship. Unfortunately this relationship doesn’t last very long due to the fact that Simone comes from a well-respected family, and Dante is, well, a criminal. They are forced to part ways, and this might be a bit of a spoiler, but Simone is pregnant during this time, with a baby Dante does not find out about until about twelve years later.

Now, I had many problems with this book; for one, I did not love the insta-love thing that was going on in the beginning. Their relationship just moved very quickly, and felt very fast paced for me. I also just didn’t like the whole secret baby plot-line? I’m not the biggest fan of the secret baby plot in general, and I just didn’t think it was handled well at all.

Simone didn’t feel like a mother––there were times I forgot she even had a kid in general. When you are mother, your child is almost an extension of yourself; they are all you can ever think about. Simone’s son, Henry, almost didn’t feel like a character––just a tool to further drive the plot, and this relationship, forward.

The last issue I had with the book was the lack of relationship development. Second chance romance’s can tend to be hit or miss to me, because I always wonder, if the couple didn’t work out the first time around, how am I supposed to believe they will work out the second time around?

Shortly after their first split, Dante enlists in the military, because he cannot bear his current life. By the time him and Simone reconnect, they are essentially two different people; yes, they will always have that love for each other, but they are very different from who they once were. This was hardly addressed in the book at all, and it just really bothered me. Overall, I wasn't a fan.

Bloody Heart ➳ 2/5

Worth Reading? No

(tw: violence, sexual content, chronic illness, death)

Broken Vow

In the last book we are introduced to Raylan, one of Dante’s friends from the military, and he is the hero of the fifth book in the series, Broken Vow. This book follows Riona, the sister of Callum and Nessa Griffen––she is prickly, an ice queen, and not at all interested in love. In the beginning of the book, somebody attempts to murder her, and as a result, Raylan is appointed as her bodyguard.

I thought this book was just okay. It was definitely not as bad as the last one, but I wasn’t able to connect with Riona or Raylan, and ultimately found this book pretty forgettable. All of the heroes in this series are alpha-males, but Raylan was the type of alpha-male that just kind of irritated me? I can’t quite place what about him was so grating, but numerous times I found myself just getting annoyed with him.

It also might just be the whole Southern Mama’s boy thing, to be honest.

Broken Vow ➳ 3/5

Worth Reading? Eh? Maybe? If it sounds interesting to you, I guess.

(tw: sexual content, murder, gun violence, domestic abuse, death of parent)

Heavy Crown

The last book in this series, Heavy Crown, follows Sebastian––and Sebastian is probably the most intriguing character throughout the entire series; he initially wanted nothing to do with the Mafia business, instead eager to pursue a career in basketball, however after an knee injury, he finds himself no longer able to pursue that basketball career. I was really interested in Sebastian’s character in the previous books, but I’m gonna be honest, I barely remember much of this book, other than that I DNF’d it.

Our heroine, Yelena, wasn’t a bad heroine necessarily, but their relationship starts off with her lying to him, and I honestly did not love that.

I had read a few reviews that the rest of this book was action-heavy, and a set-up for the spinoff series; this just made me more disinterested in the book, so I DNF'd it.

Nothing about this book was captivating or compelling––for a last book in the series, it was pretty lackluster, in my opinion.

Heavy Crown ➳ 3/5

Worth Reading? Not really tbh.

(tw: sexual content, violence, death, death of parent, domestic abuse, cancer)

I think that overall, the Brutal Birthright series was the really hit or miss for me. A lot of people raved about this series––and whilst I don’t think it was all that amazing, I also don’t think it was bad by any means.

Out of all six books, there were only two that I would actually recommend you pick up––the second book, Stolen Heir, and the third book, Savage Lover. The rest are pretty skippable, in my opinion.

As of now, I don’t think that I’d pick up the spinoff series; not only because I don’t care about most of these characters, but also because I don’t really love Sophie Lark’s writing that much anyway. Maybe one day in the future, but probably not now.

Brutal Prince ➳ 3/5

Stolen Heir ➳ 4/5

Savage Lover ➳ 4/5

Bloody Heart ➳ 2/5

Broken Vow ➳ 3/5

Heavy Crown ➳ 3/5

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