Review: Bang (#1, The Black Lotus) by E.K. Blair - Vilma Iris | Lifestyle Blogger

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Review: Bang (#1, The Black Lotus) by E.K. Blair

My Thoughts

A dark and alluring tale fraught with heartache, sadness, suspense, seduction and revenge. Twisted and captivating, this story is an intricate web of deception that kept me utterly captivated, from first to last shock. 5stars

Synopsis

bangThey say when you take revenge against another you lose a part of your innocence. 
But I’m not innocent. 
I haven’t been for a very long time. 
My innocence was stolen from me. Taken was the life I was supposed to have. The soul I was born with. The ruby heart embedded in a life full of hopes and dreams.

Gone.
Vanished.

I never even had a choice. 
I mourn that life. Mourn the what-ifs. 
Until now. 
I’m ready to take back what was always meant to be mine.

But every plan has a fatal flaw. Sometimes it’s the heart.

Listen to Bang on Audible

My Review

“I’m as strong as they come. Weakness derives from the soul. Most everyone has one, which gives a woman like me leverage. Leverage to play people to my liking, and so I do.”

I was struck speechless while and at the same time, wanting to scream aloud. THAT is how I finished this book! It was gripping and twisted and dark and sad and completely brilliant. I wanted to deny the cold hard facts in front of me and solidify the nebulous elements that were thrown at me throughout. I found myself questioning everything. This is such an original, striking story that it’s hard to narrow it into one particular genre. It’s almost impossible to review and even harder to capture the feelings it evoked.  There were parts that were absolutely heart wrenching and soul shattering. There were moments where I read in disbelief at the coldness of our villain. Sometimes the villain became a victim and the victim became a villain. There were times when romance blossomed most inopportunely and it warmed my heart so unexpectedly. And times — most certainly — where a twist shocked the hell out of me, making it difficult to process what I felt. This is E.K. Blair’s boldest and most daring work to date. It’s incredibly well written in a voice that is both fiercely cold and tellingly sad. Bang is a tortuous tale of a girl who was left on her own, destroyed by the most evil of people and rebuilt with the sole purpose of seeking vengeance.

“Every night I pray to a God I’m not sure even exists that I’ll wake up from this nightmare, but I’m still here.”

We meet our protagonist, our villain, as a child. A girl who loved her daddy. A man who doted on her and loved her and protected her. Until one day, they took him. Took her. And everything faded to black. For years she was tossed through the foster care system only to end up with a life that killed her, both metaphorically and almost physically. Enduring solely on the hope she would one day reunite with her father, she survived… Only to have that hope shattered along the way.

“It’s not a story anyone in their right mind would want to hear. It’s the type of story that people want to believe doesn’t really exist because it’s too hard to stomach. It’s too dark of a place for people to even consider being reality.”

She meets a single person who stands by her side during this time. Pike is a bit older than her and protects her vehemently as an older brother would. As someone who shared the same kind of rock bottom. Ties were formed early on that would hold well into their adulthood, when an idea took flight to seek cruel retribution.

“Alone. Desolate. A life no one wants to believe is real — but is. I became dark inside. No. That’s not true. I became colorless. You couldn’t have painted a portrait of me because I no longer existed. To exist, you have to have life and I was merely a robot — a machine — tell me what you wanted and I’d do it, paralyzed to emotions and consequences.”

Alternating between past and present, we begin to piece it all together. How the past shaped the present. How Nina turned herself off and became “frozen and void.” How her life morphed into a well-calculated plan. How she went from having nothing to living a life of luxury and bereft of love.

“I’m nothing more than his poison paradise.”

Nina is married to Bennett Vanderwal. He’s wildly rich and he loves her dearly. And she hates him. We can see there’s a plan at play, but how and exactly why that plan came to be is a mystery. There are gaps in the story, connections yet to be made that will shed light on the entire thing. I was completely struck by how Nina went from being hunted to being the huntress. To taking control of a life that for so long had been spiraling uncontrollably. She’s such a complex character. She’s bad. She’s good. She’s broken. I think that almost all of the characters we meet are flawed in one way or another… multifaceted beings that when pushed too far could — and would — break. All in all, Nina impressively rose from the ashes and became a manipulative and powerful player, single-focused and fueled with insidious intent.

“There’s something about a beautiful, nearly flawless flower, emerging from muddled water.”

And then she meets Declan. The man who would make it all happen. The missing piece to her plan. Wealthy. Gorgeous. Passionate. He was exactly who she needed him to be.

“Both men, eating out of the palm of my deceitful hand. Mortal puppets. Foolish puppets.”

At this point in the story, there’s a biting coldness to the tone in the present, juxtaposed to a past that literally rips your heart in two. And in meeting Declan, the endgame is put into action and it all becomes more dangerous in more ways than one. We begin to see Nina’s vulnerability and I think it’s her lingering fears that leave her exposed. She fears hope. For so long she desperately clung to it only to have it be ripped away. Hope requires you to feel and in the game she plays, her emotions must be off at all times. She was used to shutting down. But I think that at the same time, she wants hope… she wants to be saved from her own life. Nina has determined that she will never find happiness. Never find fullness and love. But she wants it. And that wanting could change everything.

“I wanna be saved. I want my prince.”

And just as hope begins to soar, a twist changes the entire dynamics of the story. It’s difficult to say if this story ends in a cliffhanger. In a big way yes… but we also have a lot of closure. It would be an understatement to say I’m dying for the next book. I seriously want it now! There is so much for you to experience when you read this story, that I don’t want to say any more. Just know that you’re in for a wild ride with this tale that’s so beguiling and intriguing. There’s suspense and steaminess, hopelessness and hope, romance and hate. The character development is exceptional despite feeling as if the story’s foundation constantly shifted beneath me, changing my perception of each person in the novel. It’s simply damn good. Pick this up and let’s chat soon… This is the first book in the Black Lotus series. Book 2 is Echo and Book 3 is Hush.

“And this is it. My moment of clarity. I’ll never get that new beginning because you can’t start a new life — a new beginning — when the past is right beside you.”

addseriestogoodreads

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