Title: Matthias (Order of the Black Knights #2)
Author: Alexis Duran
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 2nd Nov, 2016
Genre(s): Dark Romance
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 3.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
From Louisiana swamp rat to revivalist huckster to skilled con artist, Matthias Krall clawed his way out of poverty using his natural gifts of grift and manipulation to become the leader of an exclusive retreat center. Exploiting the guise of spiritual guru, Matthias seduces the rich and powerful into turning over their lives and fortunes to his control. But wealth and a small cadre of loyal followers can’t protect Matthias from the betrayal he knows is imminent. Everyone wants what Matthias has, except for one man who wants to destroy it. Dylan Connelly is a reporter who’s determined to prove the charismatic recluse is not only a fraud but a murderer.
Irresistibly drawn to Dylan despite the warnings in his gut, Matthias lures Dylan to his island retreat, determined to destroy his enemy once and for all.
Cults are not something I am a big fan of. I hate the exploitation, manipulation and their overall foundation made of lies. So I was not quite sure about this book. But the intriguing part of the blurb was that one of the MC being the leader of the cult in focus and I really wanted an insight to the inner workings of the mind of a successful conman. Behavioral science is real and effective and I wanted to see how the author uses it to structure the intriguing and unique character of Matthias. After finishing this book, I must say I seriously liked the mind games and the dark nature of the book and Matthias was as mesmerizing as promised.
Matthias Krallis the leader of the “Rising Star” retreat where he helps celebrities and other distinguished and successful people to achieve their goals. By his own admission we get that Mathias is a conman who uses his unique talent of hypnotism and reading people to manipulate his clients and get generous donations for his effort. So helping them is not Mathias’s sole intention.
After Matthias’s ex-lover, Jason commits suicide (or so what everyone thinks!!) Dylan Connelly, a journalist with a past connection to Matthias is dead set against exposing him and his con. Matthias is irresistibly drawn to Dylan while dark voices in his mind warn him to stay away from the journalist. Dylan is invited to his island retreat to do a piece on Rising Star but Matthias has his own dark and devious intentions behind it. Will Matthias be able to succumb to his inner dark forces and kill his enemy or will he finally let Dylan break all his walls and love him??? Read to find out!!
I liked the build-up of the story. We know that eventually Matthias and Dylan are going to come face to face so the first half of the story gives a detailed account of the circumstances of how they met in the past and what are the incriminating circumstances that again brings them together after 10 years. We see that Dylan has been affected by Matthias as much as Matthias by Dylan. There is a cosmic force connecting them together which is undeniable but at the same time, Matthias feels a driving need to distrust Dylan and end him. I liked the contrast of these dual feelings going on in Matthias’s head.
Matthias have trained himself to never being vulnerable to anyone. Dylan is his only kryptonite. He wants him but also does not want Dylan to get too close. He has built his empire on a con and Dylan’s presence makes him question his intentions. Matthias is tired of the lies and he desperately wants to break free of his walls and love like a normal person. Matthias was surely a very complicated character with several layers and a potent personality which could bring anyone down to their knees.
I liked the constant environment of “mistrust” in the story. There are no cozy or romantic moments in this story. There is always an underlying sense of tension and impending doom/danger. It keeps the reader on their toes. Also the retreat is completely cut off from the world and gives a perfect feel for the “cult-like” sinister backdrop for the story.
Although I enjoyed the story very much, I had a few hang-ups which did not let me give this book the rating I wanted to. The Knight angle and the past lives of Matthias were not made that clear. I did not get his need to Kill Dylan or why he did kill the person he loves in his previous lives. Also it was not explained properly how this life was any different. If not for that psycho at the end, Matthias would have killed again.
So as much as I did love the dark and mysterious nature of the story, the end did not cut it for me. Matthias’s breaking out of his curse plus his union with Dylan felt rushed. An extra one or two chapters to properly conclude his “curse of being destined to kill the man he loves” would have made the read perfect.
I would recommend this book to those who love to read an unconventional romance with a sinister/mysterious setting. I look forward to the next book in the series.