Title: Dark Soul Volume #5
Author: Aleksandr Voinov
Publisher: Riptide
Length: Novella

Buy Links: Amazon | All Romance

Rating: 4.75

I have been eagerly awaiting the last installment in Voinov’s fabulous saga of mafia men Stefano Marino and Silvio Spadaro.  As this is the final book in the Dark Soul series, my summary will be much more limited in this review than normal to avoid giving too much away about what happens at the end.  I tried to be very careful about spoilers so if you have read the past books you should be ok reading this review. (However, if you haven’t been following along with the series, this may give you more information than you want to know about the direction it goes.)  You can check out my previous reviews for the previous volumes.

This 5th volume is told in similar fashion to the others in that it is a series of short episodes in the lives of Stefano and Silvio. This time we get five stories that pick up shortly after the end of volume 4. One main focus of this final volume is the appearance of a new U.S. Attorney Sebastiano Beccaria.  Sebastiano is younger and less experienced than the other staff in his office, but his dedication and commitment to stopping the mafia get him the job of trying to bring down the Marino family.  It is clear that Sebastiano has some demons in his past and this case is the way he is going to fight them.  He is not afraid to get his hands dirty and goes after Stefano with intensity, forcing Stefano to make some important decisions about his future.

The book also addresses head on the intertwined relationships between Silvio, Stefano, and Stefano’s wife Donata.  First off, we see how things have developed between the two men, and it is clear to me that Stefano has moved from sort of a lustful fascination with Silvio to a real emotional connection.  He has also finally accepted himself and his bisexuality in ways we haven’t seen before. But what I found most interesting in this last book is Donata.  She has been on the periphery of the men’s relationship for most of the series, but here she becomes an integral part of things.  Donata is incredibly strong, fiercely loyal, and sexually confident. She is the critical element in the story that allows everything else to work, supporting Stefano and helping him gain some self awareness about what he really wants. I loved her in this book and it is nice to see her take on such a key role.

In these stories we also get some more tiny pieces of the Silvio puzzle.  I don’t think we will ever truly understand him completely, and that is part of his appeal.  But I think Stefano comes to know Silvio in ways few people do, and as a result, we do as well.  I love that Voinov doesn’t turn our tiger into a kitten, and Silvio remains fascinating and terrifying and wonderful all at once.  But I did like the feeling that maybe we have gotten to know him just a tiny bit.

I will admit it was bittersweet to pick up this as I have enjoyed this series so much and am so sad to see it end.  But Voinov pulls it all together wonderfully and gives the guys a great send off.  The story kept me guessing up until the final pages, as with these men just about anything can happen.  But it really ended just perfectly for me and I was impressed how nicely Voinov ties together the five books to both resolve many things, and still leave us with just the right amount of uncertainty.  I loved this series and recommend it highly.

Cover Review: As always, Jordan Taylor did a fabulous job with this cover. Beautiful end to a great series.

Today Aleks is also here to talk to us more about the Dark Soul series and has a great swag pack to give away, so be sure to check out his interview.