⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Mysterious and engrossing


If you thought this family was complicated in the first book… you haven’t seen anything yet. A gripping and mysterious look into family dynamics and the forbidden nature of falling for your adoptive cousin, Disarm is about more than just romance. The first book in the series faltered a bit for me, so I didn’t go into this with high expectations (even though I usually love Karina Halle’s writing). That all changed very quickly as I got into the story. If you haven’t read the first book, that’s ok – the mysterious/suspenseful aspects of the story are laid out pretty clearly. It’s well written, complex, and engrossing with a slow burn that spans over a decade until it pays off in a big way. Not so much a book about falling in love as it is a book about embracing it, Disarm builds up to a pretty great conclusion… while laying the groundwork for what should be another powerful book featuring a Dumont in need of redemption.

The story follows Seraphine, the adoptive daughter of the Dumont family. As an orphan of Indian descent going from one foster family to the next, she didn’t have the best childhood and saw the Dumonts as her chance to finally have a real family. There’s tension between her father and uncle, but it isn’t until her father’s death (murder?) that things really come to a head. Through the years, her complicated feelings for her adoptive cousin, Blaise, added tension to their relationship. They’re not blood relations, but the attraction that simmers between them still doesn’t feel right. In the present, their relationship is as strained as it’s ever been – Seraphine is, after all, accusing Blaise’s father of murdering her own – but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still feelings between them.

Mixing flashbacks with events in the present day, the reader gets to see the undeniable connection between Seraphine and Blaise. The attraction has been there for years, but they’ve never completely taken the leap – dating your cousin isn’t something you can just rush into and hope it works out. I loved seeing the softer side of Blaise when he was younger, because in the present he’s a pretty cold and detached guy. Perhaps my only complaint about the book is that we don’t get to see the connection between them in the present until quite a ways into the book, because the family dynamics take up so much of the story. That being said, it all pays off in the end, culminating in such a great ending for these two. I’m glad I gave this a shot after the lackluster first book in the series (Halle acknowledged writing that one was a struggle and it showed). This completely made up for that, and left me wanting to see what’s next for this family – I think the third book has the potential to be fantastic. My thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a free copy. I am voluntarily leaving a review of this suspenseful, multi-faceted book.

Disarm by Karina Halle. My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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