arc · review · romance

ARC Review | Bane by L.J. Shen


Bane (Sinners of Saint #5)
by L.J. Shen

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Naked surfer. Habitual pothead. A con, a liar, a thief and a fraud.
Last I heard, he was extorting the rich and screwing their wives for a living.
Which is why I’m more than a little surprised to find him at my threshold, looking for my friendship, my services, and most puzzling of all—looking humbled.
Thing is, I’m on a boycott. Literally—I cut boys from my life. Permanently.
Problem is, Bane is not a boy, he is all man, and I’m falling, crashing, drowning in his sweet, perfect lies.

Jesse Carter
Hot as hell, cold as ice.
I wasn’t aware of her existence until a fat, juicy deal landed in my lap.
She’s a part of it, a little plaything to kill some time.
She is collateral, a means to an end, and a side-bonus for striking a deal with her oil tycoon stepdad.
More than anything, Jesse Carter is a tough nut to crack.
Little does she know, I have the teeth for it.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Sometimes in life we come across stories that we will never forget. It will grip you. Command your attention. Dominate your thoughts. It will stay with you for forever. That’s Bane, without a doubt. I was torn between wanting to devour this and wanting to savour every sentence, every single word as slowly as possible.

L.J. Shen blew me away with Vicious. Everything about it – the story, the characters and her flawless writing – is perfect. When Ms Shen said Bane is different, that it is darker than anything she’s written, she wasn’t lying. It is dark, heavy and emotionally raw. It is soul igniting and heart destroying.

I honestly never thought I could love anyone or anything as much as I love Vicious.

As soon as you read the prologue, your jaw will drop. Your heart will ache. It will ignite itself. Explode. It is raw, real and confronting. Goosebumps will trail down your arms. It will leave you hypnotised. That’s when you know you have an amazing story right before you.

Ms Shen reached brand new heights with this latest release.

And it’s earned a very close, well deserved spot in my heart right next to Vicious.

When Bane was introduced to us in Scandalous, I was intrigued straight away. Who was this bad boy? What made Bane savage, vicious and seeming dangerous? What made him different from our four beloved HotHoles?

I was me. I was an outsider, with no lineage, fancy last name, or historic legacy.

Bane is, without doubt, an egotistical and savage asshole. He’s sexy, dangerous, a criminal mastermind and habitual pothead. A con artist, a thief, a liar. Self-serving. Conniving. When you live in Todos Santos, what’d you expect? Bane does what he wants, as well as who he wants, when he wants for a hefty price and motive behind it. He doesn’t care about meeting society’s exceptions or maintaining an upstanding reputation. He is unapologetically himself. He is the perfect anti-hero.

But when fate puts Bane down an interesting path, he finally finds something to genuinely care about. It’s in the form of Jesse Carter, a broken and damaged and sheltered girl.

We weren’t a boy and a girl. We were two lonely, fucked-up souls. It made wanting Bane in my life acceptable. I wanted him to fix me.

I adore Jesse. It is often difficult for me to fall in love with heroines, because they lack complexity and personality. I love when my heroines have sass, quick wit, strength, intelligence and independence. When they bring down the biggest and baddest alpha males to their knees. Jesse fits that criteria. Her bravery and perseverance is awe-inspiring after everything she’s been through and experienced. It is harrowing and difficult, the things she’s lived through, but she’s earned nothing but respect and admiration from me. To live through that kind of hard life, yet still leave the other end of the tunnel determined to win yourself back is extraordinary.

She may be cracked around the edges, a little broken on the inside, but she isn’t irreparable. She’s still a gorgeous and wonderful character, inside and outside. She’s a queen, not a damsel in distress. While Bane might have reignited her spark, adding splashes of colour back into her dark life, she isn’t weak. She’s her own saviour. While her demons surround her, she’s determined to bring justice and sweet revenge to those who wronged her.

Maybe love wasn’t about feeling happy and whole. Maybe love was about breaking so the person you cared for would feel a little more whole.

Bane is everything. Perfection. It is also so much more. It is darker and grittier than anything Ms Shen has written, and the message she inserts into this twisted, beautiful story is clear. Bane and Jesse, despite the demons that follow them, despite the darkness that surrounds them, are determined to create something for themselves. And the way this unfurls, the way Bane and Jesse transform is done so beautifully.

I cannot find fault with this story – at all. Ms Shen has managed to deliver an emotionally raw, heart wrenching story with hope and love weaved throughout. It gives a good message that, even in dark times, light is always there. Watching. Waiting. Sometimes we have to find it ourselves. Other times we need that gentle push from someone else.

I’m so, so pleased Ms Shen wrote Bane. Thank you so, so much for delivering this masterpiece. It is beautiful. Heart warming. Heart wrenching. Confronting and inspiring.


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