BOOK REVIEW: REVIVING IZABEL

REVIVING IZABEL (In the Company of Killers, #2)

Author: J.A. Redmerski
Published on: December 6, 2013
Genre: Suspense, romance, thriller
Published by: Self-published
Format: E-book, paperback, Audible

Determined to live a dark life in the company of the assassin who freed her from bondage, Sarai sets out on her own to settle a score with an evil sadist. Unskilled and untrained in the art of killing, the events that unfold leave her hanging precariously on the edge of death when nothing goes as planned.

Sarai’s reckless choices send her on a path she knows she can never turn back from and so she presents Victor with an ultimatum: help her become more like him and give her a fighting chance, or she’ll do it alone no matter the consequences. Knowing that Sarai cannot become what she wants to be overnight, Victor begins to train her and inevitably their complicated relationship heats up.

As Arthur Hamburg’s right-hand man, Willem Stephens, closes in on his crusade to destroy Sarai, she is left with the crushing realization that she may have bitten off more than she can chew. But Sarai, taking on the new and improved role of Izabel Seyfried, still has a set of deadly skills of her own that will prove to be all she needs to secure her place beside Victor.

But there is one test that Izabel must face that has the potential to destroy everything she is working so hard to achieve. One final test that will not only make her question her decision to want this dangerous life, but will make her question everything she has come to trust about Victor Faust.

 

REVIEW

New Adult romance and dark thrillers are considerably different genres—and Redmerski manages to handle them both with brilliance. Killing Sarai was mind-blowing, and now the author brings the titular character back in Reviving Izabel. This book continues months after the first one ended. Sarai is living with her surrogate mother, Dina, trying to lead a normal life. Such a thing is proving rather difficult. Until recently, Sarai was kept captive by Javier, a cartel lord who dealt in sex trafficking. All those years of suffering left their mark on Sarai. She can barely function in normal society now.

Although Sarai’s managed to find a friend (Dahlia) and a boyfriend (Eric), she is still far from well-adjusted. Unbeknownst to anyone, Sarai still thinks about Victor Faust, the man who freed her from Javier. Victor is an assassin-for-hire who grew to care for Sarai in the time they spent together. Because of his dangerous life, he knew he couldn’t keep her close. Victor thought Sarai deserved a chance at a normal life, so he left her with Dina.

One day, Sarai goes on a trip to Los Angeles with Dahlia and Eric. She doesn’t reveal that the trip is just an excuse to settle a score with someone. Sarai wants to kill Arthur Hamburg, a vile man that she met while accompanying Victor on a mission. It doesn’t take long for Sarai to realize that she’s in over her head. She barely manages to escape with her life, but is surprised to run into Victor again.

Although happy that they are now reunited, Sarai is ashamed of what her actions caused. Victor assures her that he’s not angry, and that he’ll try to keep her safe. Victor reveals that he left the Order he used to work for, and that his brother Niklas has been assigned to find and kill him. Sarai is shocked by it. Victor tells Sarai that he would have come for her eventually, even if she hadn’t failed on her murder attempt. He agrees to help Sarai kill Arthur Hamburg and his right-hand man, who are now after her.

With no intention of leaving Victor again, Sarai begins training hard to become a formidable killer. She practices Krav Maga, which Victor claims is the best way to learn self-defense fast. Victor and his other associates have decades of training, so Sarai is seriously behind. Eventually, though, Sarai is allowed to go on her first official mission. She is forced to go against some of her orders, but the mission is still a success. After that, though, Sarai gets her first glimpse at the dark side of Fredrik Gustavsson. He’s Victor’s friend, and a skillful interrogator they call The Specialist. Sarai isn’t completely disturbed by Fredrik’s methods (which you’ll find are gruesome enough to probably make the Punisher uncomfortable). This worries her a little, giving the reader a hint that though Sarai is willing to lead a life of killing, she isn’t evil.

Before Sarai can become a full-blown assassin under Victor’s new Order, she will have to be tested. And what is coming for her will not be easy. Honestly, what Sarai will have to go through will make you wonder if she goes running for the hills. I won’t answer whether she does, or I’ll spoil the book. Will Sarai manage to become Izabel Seyfried, or will the life of a killer be too much for her?

Reviving Izabel was every bit as suspenseful and riveting as Killing Sarai. The titular character fails to adjust to a normal life, giving in to her darkness, but that’s the appeal of the book. It wouldn’t be as interesting if Sarai/Izabel had chosen to integrate herself into normal society permanently. I wonder how the author came up with these books, getting into the minds of killers—and in the first-person POV. I should warn you that if violence makes you nauseous, you should think twice about reading these books. They’re not too shocking, but aren’t for the faint of heart either. As for me, I’ll definitely be reading the next installments of In the Company of Killers. You’ll be really hard-pressed to find books quite like these ones. They’re exciting.

MY RATING

Absolute must-read. It’s amazing!!!

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