Saturday, August 20, 2016

Series Saturday Audiobook Review: The Player by Kresley Cole

Series:     Game Maker #3
Pub. Date:June 22, 2016
Publisher:Valkyrie Press
Narrator:Kimberly Alexis
Length:8 hrs 11 min

I got hooked on this series when The Professional originally came out as a serial. Kresley Cole knows how to write a good broody bad boy hero. I picked up the second two books of the series in audio because I wanted to hear those delicious Russian accents... and Kimberly Alexis was able to pull those off splendidly. 

We first met Dmitri Sevastyan in The Master, as the youngest of the Sevastyan siblings. We also learned in the earlier books that Dmitri, and all the Sevastyan boys, are tortured heroes. Dmitri was sexually abused by a sadistic guardian as a child, until he and his older brother, Maxim, had to take extreme measures to get out of their situation. The molestation had a long-reaching effect on Dmitri understandably, and he is only now learning to cope with his past and mend his broken soul. I really liked Dmitri. His determination to overcome his past trauma was admirable, no matter the obsession that inspired his transformation.

Victoria "Vice" Valentine comes from an entire family of con artist grifters - they pretty much see the world as their mark, but only those "deserving" marks. The family has had a rule about swindling innocent "gulls" (gullible marks). Until now that is. The family swindled the wrong person and now is in trouble with a cartel, so they believe they have no choice but to move in on the broody billionaire, despite the fact that he is a good person. Vice and her family are playing Dmitri as a mark for the majority of the story. I couldn't stand it. I hated Vice and I hated her family, and I especially hated what they were doing to Dmitri. Once Vice started stealing from the prior heroines early on in the book, I was already writing off her character. This book pretty much cemented my dislike for con artist heroines - its just not a trope for me. 

The romance between these two moved at lightning speed... only I had a hard time becoming invested in the relationship. Knowing what we knew about Dmitri's past, I just hated seeing him getting played by Vice. No matter what Dmitiri did for Vice and her family, she was never fully invested in the relationship. Then there was a huge plot twist, which I absolutely LOVED. But Vice went off the rails and went from lying heroine to running heroine, another pet peeve of mine. I don't want to give away the twist... but I was totally down with it and I absolutely could not believe how Vice reacted.

If you like the con artist trope and don't mind deception in your romance, you will probably like this book. I loved the hero like crazy, so that saved me from DNF'ing the book, but the heroine did keep me from enjoying it fully. There was a good amount of chemistry and steam where it counted, but the BDSM aspects were not quite as in-your-face as we saw in the earlier installments of the series. Now that we have run out of Sevastyan brothers... I think I can confidently say that my favorite book of this series was The Professional.

The Game Maker Series