Jasmine's Book Review: Cartel (Cartel #1) by Lili St Germain!

1 Feb 2015


The first full length Gypsy Brothers novel from the smash hit author Lili St Germain. 

 How much is a life worth? Mariana Rodriguez is the eldest daughter of a Colombian drug lord. Growing up in Villanueva, Colombia, she has never wanted for anything. Private schools, a lavish lifestyle, and the safety of the Cartel that her father works for. 

At nineteen, she's got her entire life mapped out, and what a good life it's going to be: graduate from college, move to America with the love of her life, and finally be free from the stifling grip of the Cartel. 

Only, her father messes up. A shipment of cocaine - a very large, very valuable shipment - is seized by the authorities whilst under his care and he becomes liable for the debt. 

Half a million dollars' worth of cocaine. Half a million dollars he does not have. But he has a daughter, a very smart one, a daughter who would give up her very existence and offer herself as payment for her father's sins, to ensure her family survives. 

But falling in love with the man who owned her isn't part of the plan ...


4.5 STARS! ★★★★☆


  "This isn't a fairytale. I'm not your hero, Ana. Nobody is. Nobody is coming to save you." 

 I can't believe it took me this long to finally pick up this author's book because sign me up for more of the Gypsy Brothers! I've been seeing so many of my buddies reading that series while raving about it and truly, it does live up to its hype. When I heard Cartel can be read without firstly reading the GB series, I quickly took up the chance and jumped right into this one. 

 What I understand about Cartel is that it acts as a prologue for the GB series where we delved into the history of one of the antagonists in GB namely Dornan Ross. His character no doubt made this book worked for me really well, you're not gonna find a hero who swoops in and saves the damsel in distress. You're gonna get a VP of a badass MC club who protects what he owns by all means. This guy is an anti-hero that you would love to hate and hate to love.
"He was a bad motherfucker, as bad as they came, and he was merciless. I had heard stories of the things he'd done, the ways he had killed people."
What's interesting for me about Dornan is that despite the portrayal of his rather cold and cruel demeanour, you can see a glint of conscience in him especially during his time around Mariana and the struggle he faced when he's around his father, Emilio who by the way, is one relentless, unmerciful motherf*cker. The internal struggle within Dornan is rather evident as you read along and I'm eager to see how the evolution of his character will roll along as the series progresses.


 I'm a little on the fence with Mariana's character and as much as I love a feisty heroine like her, there were times I got a little thrown off with the way she acted around Dornan every now and then. But in a way, I could see how she struggled for allowing herself to harbour feelings for her captor and how she seek for solace in the one man who showed her some form of humanity after being thrown into a world as dark and gritty as theirs.
"How silly I was. I should have feared him the most, because he would be the one to destroy me in the end."
Cartel surely isn't a flower and hearts read, it's as gritty and violent as it gets. It kick starts with some good intensity and had me on a tight grip for the entire ride. I was completely immersed in this disturbingly cruel world the author built up that covers everything from drugs to sex trafficking to extortion. And while there is more to this series, this one ends in a relatively safe place that doesn't leave the readers hanging but will have you eagerly waiting to see where it heads next.

 This may be my first from Lili St Germain but it will definitely not be my last. I cannot wait to read more from this author and welcome her into my favorites list after this one!

Cartel is a prologue series to her Gypsy Brothers series and can be read with or without reading the aforementioned series.

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