Read my reviews of other books in the Virtuous Sinners series:
Day of Judgment by Briar Kearney & Aurora Crane | Speak and Obey by Ki Brightly & M.D. Gregory
Kahlil and Julien share a lot of complicated backstory because of how they grew up together and into the complicated adults they have become. Rather than inundate us with flashbacks or lots of unnecessary narrative, Lascarso does an excellent job of dropping great details about this history that allows the reader to build their own picture of the state of the current relationship between these men. I think this made for a more fluid relationship development as we followed them through this epic adventure. Despite the characters’ involvement in organized crime, this is more of an anti-mafia romance that depicts our heroes fighting for the adulthoods they deserve after childhoods filled with tragedy.
The romance arc in this book is completely tangled with the external plot, and I loved the push and pull between Kahlil and Julien that results. Julien hides a ton of current and past secrets from Kahlil, but he forgets that Kahlil is the one person who truly sees him – and that Kahlil is far from an idiot. This book includes plenty of violent action and adventure, but the truly dark bit of this book sneaks up on you. This story will not be for everyone, and prepare to have your heart hurt multiple times as you learn the true story of the titular Nightingale.
The darkness makes the eventual ending that much more satisfying, even if it’s not necessarily the happily ever after I would have chosen for these men. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the intricate story of these multifaceted characters as they escaped the bonds of their previous lives and discovered freedom and happiness together.